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A plan of gratitude

January 18, 2012

I recently wrote a post about how lucky I am, and how I want to take the time to consciously recognize this more often.

Well, this is no longer just an idea or a feeling. I now have a plan of attack. Or more specifically, a plan of gratitude.

Thanks to Angela’s wonderful post today yesterday on this very topic, I no longer have abstract ideas about how I want to do this. I know exactly what I want to do. And better yet, I have already started.

In Angela’s post, she talks about her personal gratitude challenge. Rather than just trying to be more conscious of positive things in her life, or making notes to herself in a journal, she and her partner take time each evening to talk together about positive things from their days. Each of them comes up with five things that they are grateful for from that day, whether it is something the other person did for them or just something which happened. I love this idea because it is simple, yet effective, and doing it  with someone else keeps you accountable and makes it more fun.

What is the point of a gratitude journal, or in this case, a gratitude plan/buddy? For me, I am aware that I am very lucky, but when I am racing around each day, I don’t always take the time to recognize the things and people which make my day a bit brighter. Taking the time to come up with five things you are grateful for is not simply about being more positive for those five or ten minutes when you are talking about it. When you know that you are going to share five positive things from your day, you begin to think about them throughout the day. And hopefully, over time, this turns into a more positive outlook throughout your entire day, and more positive feelings about life in general. I believe that this plan has the potential to increase contentment, satisfaction, and overall happiness. It won’t make your problems or disappointments disappear, but it should hopefully help you to focus more on the good than the bad. And by changing your focus, you can see the world in a different way! (Photo illustration below).

The one thing I should probably say is that if you decide to do this, you may not want to present it to your partner, parent, friend, sibling, etc. (i.e., the person who you want to be your gratitude buddy) as good news. I was so excited about this idea when I read about it at the library yesterday that I told Ben I had some really good news, which I would tell him about after we left. When he found out that the good news was that I wanted him to do this gratitude challenge with me each day, he was (in hindsight), understandably a bit surprised. But luckily, he was still up for it. 🙂 So although for me, it is great news that I have a plan in place, you may want to phrase it slightly differently when you suggest it to your prospective gratitude buddy in order to avoid making them think you have just won the lottery or found a cure for cancer – which would of course also be good news!

Remember, your gratitude buddy can be anyone – a partner, parent, friend, co-worker, etc. And if you don’t feel comfortable asking anyone to do this with you, or if you just want to share even more, then please feel free to post comments, or e-mail me with things you are grateful for (ediblepsychology@gmail.com). I would love to be swamped with positive comments and e-mails! And I will write back.

Anyway, I have now started the gratitude challenge myself. Will you join me in spreading the gratitude?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 20, 2012 8:29 pm

    I absolutely love this, Em! I’m going to attemp this, as well–and try to find a gratitude buddy to bring along for the journey.

    This also brought to mind an excellent blog: http://www.operationnice.com/

    They do random acts of kindness for complete strangers–something I would love to do more of, and will likely bring me gratitude for being able to help! 🙂

    • January 22, 2012 4:42 pm

      Hey Annika,

      Thanks so much for your comment. I hope you have found a buddy and are enjoying the gratitude challenge. I can’t say it’s turned my life upside down yet at least, but I do think I take more notice of small positive things throughout my day in order to remember them.

      And thanks so much for passing along that blog. It looks wonderful! I love random acts of kindness. And you have reminded me that I would really like to try to do more of those too!

      Hope you are having a good weekend!

      ~Emily~

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