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“Once the Holy Spirit grants us Its blessings, how often do we remember to acknowledge them? Acknowledgment is done through gratitude, which keeps our hearts open to love.” —Harold Klemp The Language of Soul

Gratitude Journaling

Do you keep a Gratitude Journal? I do. I have found over time that it is beneficial to my well-being. It keeps me focused on the good things in life—the simple things—the things we tend to take for granted.

Keeping a Gratitude Journal is easy. Simply get yourself an inexpensive diary or notebook (about $.50 at Staples) and take a few minutes each morning to list out three-five things you are grateful for. That’s it.

A few years ago, I began looking for habits that would benefit me. Habits like meditation, reading, writing, learning, and journaling. Gratitude journaling was everywhere. I figured what did I have to lose? It wouldn’t take long to write down three-to-five things and if I scheduled it on my calendar or in my to-do list as a repeating item it wasn’t much of a sacrifice.

So, I started. Initially, my heart really wasn’t in it. I was going through the motions, so to speak. After a while, however, I began to look forward to my gratitude moment in the morning and really started to “feel” how grateful I was for a roof over my head, good friends, my personal talents that I was born with, my dog, my parents, you name it. This feeling began to carry itself throughout my day. Sometimes, even today, I go through the motions. It’s hard to be in a consistent state of happiness or gratitude all the time. We all have our days and we are changing continuously. We do tend to have more good days than bad, at least that is what I have discovered.

In the success and self-help literature is a common reference to being what we think about most of the time. Focus on the good stuff. The more you place your mind on the things that are going well, the more you will recognize how good life really is. This is the benefit of a gratitude journal. It will help you find a few things that are going right in your life. Once you get in the habit of doing this, you’ll discover, like I did, that life is a treasure, ripe with experiences.

You’re probably saying to yourself, “Wow, this is great. I’m so happy for you, but this is not my life.” I get it. I too have some tough days from time-to-time. When I run across a problem or just feeling a little down, I have a few more strategies for you.

Four Strategies to Improve your Mood

Strategy #1 – Write a letter

Don’t mail this to anyone. Write your letter to Jesus, God, or some other person of importance you revere. Write your heart out, explaining your problem. Ask this entity for help. Write down the problem as you see it and ask, “What is the lesson here? What am I supposed to learn from this?” You’ll find that most of our troubles relate to a spiritual lesson or principle that God is trying to teach us.

Strategy #2 – Help Someone

Some of our challenges arise because we become too focused on ourselves. When we are focused too much on ourselves it causes an introversion to occur. We stop feeling empathy for others because we are too wrapped up in ourselves and “OUR” problem. Take a moment to do something nice for someone else, whether it be a family member, a close friend, or even a stranger. You can volunteer to do some charity work, you can do something nice for your family member like a chore around the house you normally do not do or send your friend a nice letter or give them a call to tell them how much they mean to you. When you focus on someone other than yourself, you’ll find that your troubles tend to be less burdensome and important and your mood will improve.

Strategy #3 – Pray or Meditate

When we pray or meditate we become quiet. Meditation and prayer require it. When you focus all your attention on a chant, your breath, or your creator, the mood you’re in will subside a bit. Ask a question and let it sit for a while. You’ll find that these little sessions of 10 minutes bring great benefits of calm and the answers to your problems will come if you remain open to the answers.

Strategy #4 – Exercise

Working out in the gym is therapeutic for me. It relieves a stress, improves your blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, helps you maintain flexibility, and keeps those muscles working. Exercise will get your mind off things that are bothering you and releases endorphins that create a feeling of pleasure in your brain. When you finish a workout, you’ll also feel some accomplishment and improvements to your self-esteem.

If you’re having a tough time of it, I hope this post helps you in some way. Try out some of these strategies if you are feeling down. You’ll find like I did, that they do help.

Until next time…