Monday, November 22, 2010

Be Grateful for Your (Un) Gratitude Journal

Wreck This JournalLots of you have heard the sage advice to keep a Gratitude Journal.

I have attempted this a lot of times, but have never been able to keep it up. This is partly because it can get ridiculous.

I am grateful for my body.

I am grateful that I can breathe in life-giving air.

I am grateful that air exists.

I am grateful for the atoms that make up air.

Etc.

You can go on forever with all of the things that you are grateful for, and it is wonderful that there are so many things that are in alignment with your happiness.

I totally agree that focusing on what you are grateful for is often the best idea, rather than dwelling on things that are going wrong. However, a Gratitude Journal can become so long and detailed that we miss the feeling we were originally trying to glean from it.

I also think trying to ignore things that have been going wrong is a mistake.

Therefore I propose starting an (Un) Gratitude Journal.

This journal is for thinking over your day and determining what you didn't like, what didn't go well, what you wish were different, etc.

Write these things down. Then determine if there is anything you can do about them.

If not... do your best to make peace with them. Minimize their importance, look at the problem from a different perspective, etc.

However, also realize that sometimes when it looks like there is nothing you can do, there really is something its just that you don't want to do it, or you haven't thought of it, or you are not opening your mind to the possibilities. Sometimes you need to do some research to figure out a solution. Sometimes the solution will come with time and sometimes you need to ponder it over time. Sometimes you might not be able to completely fix it, but you can make things better.

If there is something you know you can do, make a plan about what you can do now or next time to make it better. Brainstorm ideas. Then focus on the plan, rather than the problem. You might find that your solution didn't work. Don't give up. Try something else until you find a solution. Sometimes ideas work for a while, but then they don't work anymore- it is a constant process of evaluating the problems and then problem-solving. Sometimes you need to ask others for help. Remember that if one idea doesn't help, a different idea might. By being aware of the little problems that come up in your life you will be better able to avoid them in the future. Pay extra attention if you keep seeing the same type of problems always coming up. Are you inviting these type of problems into your life because of your behavior?

Sometimes you need to look at problems in a new way. For example, you may have a job and it contains lots of different problems, so you try to determine how to solve the little problems when in reality the best solution is to get a new job.

The key is to never blame problems on someone else, or expect other people to change. The problem-solving has to be about you since you can not control others or some circumstances. Sometimes a change of heart has to happen and many people feel that prayer is helpful in this- asking God for a change of heart- a forgiving heart -also, asking God for comfort and ideas. This is helpful to some people if they are in the right state of mind for it.

Once this journal has been helpful to you, you can write: I am grateful for my (Un) Gratitude Journal in your Gratitude Journal. Just in case your Gratitude Journal wasn't already crazy enough!

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