At the end of 2012 I went through a pretty rough patch.
Like, a too-sad-to-even-eat-pizza-rolls, self-medicate-through-exercise, cry-over-your-pho sort of rough patch.
So, like anybody who’s ever read O magazine, I decided to start a gratitude journal to help me get through the darkest days. Some entries were “styled hair and left house” or “cute new hedgehog eraser.” Of course, after a few months things started looking up and I was eating pizza rolls and slurping pho sans tears.
But I kept writing in my gratitude journal every night before bed.
Everyone ever will tell you that gratitude and happiness are intrinsically linked. So I didn’t see any reason to stop chronicling the sweet, mundane parts of my day, even though I was out of the ‘cry all the time’ woods – and I’ve been doing it nearly every night since.
A few weeks ago, while laying in bed writing up the best bits of my day, I absentmindedly wrote out the next day’s to-do list on the opposite page. It wasn’t anything fancy, just some bullet points of what I needed to get done but it brought me a lot of comfort. I could go to sleep without worrying that I’d forget about sending that email or writing up an editorial plan for a client. I felt like I’d planted a seed in my brain and that it would noodle on without me – creating solutions and coming up with ideas while I slept.
And I think it worked.
Since then, I’ve ended every night with two lists of five items on opposites pages.
The left page is five awesome/silly/wonderful things that happened that day.
The right page is five things I need to work on in the morning.
These lists tie my work + gratitude together in my brain. They remind me that I love my work and I’ve chosen to do it. They force me to limit the number of to-dos I assign myself.
All that goodness! With just a notebook and pen!
Do you keep a gratitude journal? And on a scale of 1-10 how nerdy do you feel saying the words “When I was writing in my gratitude journal last night …..”