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A Gratitude Journal Exercise You Might Enjoy

Blue Jay
Photo by Kathy

The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu wrote:

“Be content with what you have;

rejoice in the way things are.

When you realize there is nothing lacking

the whole world belongs to you.”

Gratitude journal at Happy Simple Living blog
A few years ago, I started writing in a gratitude journal. In the beginning, I tried to write five things each morning for which I was grateful. The practice encouraged me to look back on the past 24 hours and recall all the good aspects of the day, and I also discovered I was more aware of special moments and simple blessings as they occurred. I soon filled the little book, and began another. Now I keep the journal by the chair where I sit each morning to drink my coffee, pray and meditate, and I write it in often.

Too easily, I can slip into being critical and focusing on things that aren’t happening according to my expectations. What I’ve learned is that if I instead try to see my life through the eyes of a grateful heart, I’m more accepting and content.

This week, for some reason I’ve been especially aware of the sweet sounds around me. On Tuesday morning I wrote:

“I am grateful for the sounds that add so much richness to our world. While I was waking up this morning I heard a distant train, which always reminds me of our dad. A brief rain shower moved through at 5:30, with just the softest drum of raindrops on the roof. Just outside the living room window right now, crickets are calling a soothing refrain.”

Today I’m sitting at the kitchen table writing this post, and two gangs of birds have just started some sort of skirmish in the neighbor’s maple trees. With my heightened awareness of sounds this week, I have to pause and take in the drama. The magpies appear to be moving in on the bluejays’ turf, but I’m not sure. It’s a noisy, glorious commotion, and I am glad we have so many beautiful birds in our trees—both the small, quiet ones and the big, squawky ones.

How about you? Do you write in a gratitude journal? If so, perhaps you’d like to join me in focusing on sounds this week. Or would you like to start a practice of writing thankful thoughts? Maybe you have your own way of finding contentment in the sweet, simple moments of daily life. As always, I’d love to hear your comments.

Poet Kahil Gibran wrote:

“Wake at dawn with winged heart and

give thanks for another day of loving.”


May you find grace and wonder in your daily journey,

The signature for Eliza Cross

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is the author of 17 books, including Small Bites, 101 Things To Do With Bacon, and BERRIES. She enjoys sharing ideas to simplify cooking, gardening, and home projects. She is also the owner of Cross Media, Inc. and founder of the BENSA Bacon Lovers Society.

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6 thoughts on “A Gratitude Journal Exercise You Might Enjoy”

    • Thank you, Yvonne. I loved seeing you last weekend, too, and the conference was exactly the encouragement I needed. Sending you hugs and best wishes for continued success with your books and writing. xoxo

  1. You have brightened my gloomy day already. I just opened the window next to me, but all I can hear is the cars passing by. But I am still thankful that I have settled here where my family enjoys all the convenience. Thanks.

  2. I’ve tried this a bunch of times but always find myself skipping it to get on with the day. These days I try to just verbalize the things I’m grateful for from the day or things I’ve accomplished that I’m proud of rather than the to-do list items that I never got to.

    Lovely post.


  3. I’ve kept a journal since 1986 when I began a Creative Emrboidery Course at The London College of Fashion. Sometimes I fill a journal in a few months…sometimes they last all year… they are also scattered with tiny pieces of artwork etc etc… I have 54 journals to date and at 78 years old I’m wondering who the heck will read them all…..then I remember ….

    It is The process of Writing that matters… it frees the soul …. I love my journals…. 🙂

  4. Pingback: 33 Ways to Improve Your Life From Home - Eliza Cross

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