Over the years, I’ve shared plenty of thoughts on choosing joy & 5 ways to cultivate gratitude & finding the good in life & so much more, as these are topics that I think about and practice daily. I firmly believe that joy and gratitude go hand in hand, and when you have a deep and profound sense of gratitude, you can find joy and contentment in countless things, big and small. When you find joy, gratitude simply overflows from that joy. In this season of thanksgiving and of being grateful, there are many poignant tried and true steps that I try to take – daily – to really cultivate gratitude in my life. Being grateful for all of the (many, many, many) blessings in your life is imperative, today and always. It really is.
I started keeping a hand-written gratitude journal just about a decade ago (since January 1, 2012), and it’s not exaggerating to say that this daily habit has changed by life and transformed it for the better. I love this practice of reflection, prayer, and writing down what I’m grateful for every day. I cannot stress just how vital this has become to my life and my mindset — writing in a gratitude journal every day has deeply transformed my mentality and my life. I’m really not much of a journaler – or at least not a long-winded journaler. But this is really the perfect way for me to quickly write down ALL that I am thankful for, every single day. I have five absolutely filled gratitude journals, and I write in it every morning when I’m doing my quiet time before the work day begins. I’ve been keeping my gratitude journal for about 10 years now, and it’s astonishing to think of just how many things (little, big and everything in between) I can count that I’ve been grateful for throughout the years. If I average 10-15 things each day over the course of ten years, that’s at least forty thousand (minimum!) blessings in my life, day in and day out, year to year. Reading back through my journal is so incredibly amazing and humbling, too. It astonishes me to see God so apparently – and so faithfully – at work, even during the hardest times.
By writing down the things I’m grateful and thankful for (the sunset over the lake last night… that phone call with my wonderful grandma… the people in my life… the answered prayers… the client I booked… and on and on!), I firmly believe that I appreciate them more. I’m more aware of everything I’m thankful for throughout the day, and it’s such a good routine to reflect on your day and focus on the good things at the start (or close) of each day. Taking the time each and every day to write out the specific things/people/experiences/occurrences I’m grateful for has made me so much more aware of God’s never-ending presence, love, and grace. These journals are such a beautiful chronicle of life, and it’s something anyone can (and should!) do. I would highly encourage this routine to everyone – it’s a simple action to truly cultivate gratitude in your daily life. I see God’s hand at work in incredible ways when I’m stopping to reflect on and thank Him for all that He’s given me, and I’m also able to see countless prayers answered when I look at past gratitude journals, too. Though I’m reflecting on and writing down things that I am grateful for, this practice makes life so much less about me and more about the experiences and people who fill my life, reminds me who is in control, and humbles me into a posture of thanksgiving.
I love the simplicity and eloquence of this: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.” Yes! I am in no way perfect, but I try each and every day, and in every moment, to be deeply and profoundly grateful for all that I have and all of the blessings that I have so graciously received from the Lord. Without Him, I am nothing. Without his love and his grace and his generosity, I have nothing. Praise Him from whom all blessings flow.
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
How do you cultivate gratitude and thankfulness in your life? Are there any daily habits that you incorporate into your routine? I’d really love to hear any specific steps you take to be a more thankful and grateful person!
And if you’re looking for a journal, here is the gratitude journal I’ve been using for the last decade! (Commissionable link)