*** Warning - Long Post Ahead! ***
It recently came to attention - again - that I expend a lot of energy being negative. I chided my husband for a negative comment that he made and, being the friend that he is, pointed out the hypocrisy of my admonition. I knew better than to argue, because he was spot on. It's hard not to be negative when it seems that we're constantly inundated with negativity. This time, rather than put on my happy face and say, "Gee, I'll try harder to be positive!," I decided to dig a bit deeper. I am a friendly person, even likable in some circles. So why is it that I "let the b-stards get me down"?
I took my bike ride this AM - the first of the season - and really tried to let the spinning wheels clear my head. It works for me, though I don't know why. Riding along I can solve lots of issues and appreciate things with more clarity than at any other point. Maybe that is the reason that I've put off bike riding this season, as I know that I have a lot of things that need a hard look and some changin'.
The day moved along and I had some down time. I have an email account full of Chapter-A-Day excerpts that seem exactly perfect for days like this. This way I don't distract my co-workers and I tend to find a few gems in the mix. Today's reading held something that seemed too good to pass up, the idea of a "Gratitude Journal."
You knew I was going somewhere with this, right?
The following is a mix of things that seemed to "gel" for me, just when I needed it most. If I become more positive, happier or even find more energy, I will happily share my triumph with anyone that cares to listen. Related to yesterday's blog post, I have to believe that a Gratitude Journal might just be the tool to help me accomplish a few important goals. Can I find the time for such a pursuit? The information below suggests that it's completely doable.
Today I am grateful for lilacs. They are my sign of Spring, as they do not bloom when it's still chilly nor do they linger in the Summer heat. They signal, for me, the time to change and adjust... and they smell too good to ignore!
(Here's the "Hostess" of the Chapter-A-Day service, getting my full attention!)
"Sometimes life gets to be too much. I don't know where to begin, so I start writing. It's not easy. Fear gets in the way and I can't get to the place where I need to be, to say what's on my mind. But if I keep at it, eventually one single line in the midst of my jumbled thoughts is staring back at me. It feels good to read it, and I realize it's the answer I was looking for."
My blog: http://dearreader.typepad.com/
P. S. Would you please tell a friend about Read-It-First?
They can sign up at: http://www.read-it-first.com/
Thanks a lot. I sure do appreciate it.
(Here's a book that came from the Chapter-A-Day collection in my InBox)
How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier
by Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D. (NonFiction)
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company
Copyright (c) 2007 by Robert A. Emmons
FROM THE BOOK JACKET:
Did you know that there is a crucial component of happiness that is often overlooked? In the pages of this eminently readable book, Robert Emmons--editor in chief of the "Journal of Positive Psychology"--draws on the first major study of the subject of gratitude, of "wanting what we have," and shows that a systematic cultivation of this underexamined emotion can measurably change people's lives. Readers will discover how:
People who regularly practice grateful thinking can increase their "set-point" for happiness by as much as 25 percent.
Such increases can be sustained over a period of months--challenging the previously held notion that our set-points for happiness are frozen at birth.
Keeping a gratitude journal for as little as three weeks can result in better sleep and more energy.
Emmons also reaches beyond science to bolster the case for gratitude by weaving in the writings of philosophers, novelists, and theologians. Like no other book has before, "Thanks!" inspires readers to embrace gratitude and all the benefits it can bring into our lives.
(Two short articles from the e-How.com website)
How to begin and keep a regular Gratitude Journal, by Claudia Blanton
Many people talk about showing Gratitude, and the power it has, in focusing us on the present, as well as a part of stress relief, and improvement of an overall mental balance. I recommend to all my clients, friends and relatives to start and continue to keep a gratitude journal, to deepen these benefits in their lives.
Things You'll Need:
* a notebook - as fancy or simple as you prefer
* a smooth writing pen
* quiet time of about 5 minutes
Create a few quiet minutes. Get up a couple of minutes earlier in the morning, or turn off the television a little earlier, before going to bed. Either way, designate a daily time to writing in your Gratitude Journal, and commit to keep that schedule for yourself.
Allow yourself to be free in form and structure. You can write your Gratitude Journal in list-form, free-form, prayer-form, or start each sentence the same. Use whatever way of writing feels comfortable with you that day. Express yourself freely, without censoring.
Keep your gratitude journal in the same spot, easily accessible with a pen already next to it. The easier you make it for yourself to keep this routine, the more likely will you stick with it.
Keep your Gratitude journal private. This will give you an incentive to be more open. This journal is for you, shared only with you and your Source (insert your faith here).
How to Keep a Gratitude Journal, by eHow Arts & Entertainment Editor
A gratitude journal is a way to consciously call attention to the things for which we are thankful each day. By focusing on gratitude, we become aware of those things and thus create a shift in our thinking to the positive. The following suggestions can help start a gratitude journal and a whole new outlook on life.
Choose a blank notebook or journal to write in every night. Consider a spiral-bound journal that opens flat for ease in writing. Select lined or unlined paper. Keep this notebook next to the bed with a pen readily available.
Look for things during the day for which you are grateful. Make mental notes throughout the day. Notice how the gratitude journal shifts the focus to a more positive outlook.
Write five thing you're grateful for each night before bedtime. Review the day and include anything, however small or great, that was a source of gratitude that day, e.g., a baby's smile, a flower in bloom, or the smell of a newly cut lawn. Make the list personal. Write a few words about the five benefits or blessings. Be brief and increase the length as time progresses.
Begin looking everyday for the positive angle in all things. View obstacles as opportunities to appreciate.
Focus on the wonderful things in life to attract similar encounters in the course of the day. Use positive energy as a magnet to draw even more positive energy. Note these attractions in the gratitude journal.
Personalize the gratitude journal. Expand it with clippings, photos, quotes or verses from magazines or other sources.