How to express gratitude?

How to express gratitude?

That’s not a rethorical question. I’m seriously asking.

“Gratitude” is THE world these days. In every personal development book that I read (and I read a lot), there is always a moment when they advise us to start a gratitude journal. Taking a moment every day (when you wake up or when you go to bed, there is apparently still a debate on this question) to jot down on a book the few things you are grateful for is supposed to bring you joy.

 

I was convinced even before trying. Of course expressing gratitude can help you focus on the good things in your life, and in the long run help you think more positively.

If it’s not the first time you dropped by here, you maybe know that I have not always been the most positive person. I couldn’t tell the number of times I got to bed angry, brooding about everything (relatively) wrong that happened this day. It not only prevented me from sleeping, but of course it didn’t help my general mood as well. Yet I spent a lot of time focusing on what made me sad or mad, and making self-destructive assumptions about most of my surroundings. Thinking more about the areas I had to improve than the ones I should be happy with.

I definitely needed to learn how to bring some positivity.

 

So, I bought a brand new notebook (I love notebooks), and then I started expressing gratitude. Each night before going to sleep, I was writing the three things I was grateful for at this moment.

 

I’m a lucky girl, I can be grateful about a lot of things in my life. I’m grateful for my husband, the relationship we have and how lucky I was to meet him. I’m grateful about my family that is always supportive. About my friends who are still there even if I now live far away from them. My job is interesting. I have passions in my life. My wardrobe is awesome. We live in a great apartment in a very nice neighborhood.

It’s true that just writing this here gives me energy and joy. Taking some time to express gratitude actually works.

 

But, committing myself to write down 3 things everyday, well, quickly felt that I was going around in circles. I am grateful about a lot of things, but there are not hundreds of meaningful things to be grateful for.

So, after a few weeks of trying to force myself to come up with new ideas, it wasn’t meaningful at all anymore. “I’m grateful about the food I ate today.” “My shower has a perfect water pressure.” “Our couch is very comfortable.”

 

Maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m just not good at that. But, I feel that this exercise was becoming less and less inspiring and that I treated it more and more as a task to check on my to-do list.

Then I quit. If I don’t get anything from it anymore, why keeping on going?

 

Still, all of these writers had a point and I didn’t want to let go of the whole concept. Then I tried to express gratitude my way, and in the moment. Telling my husband how much he is good to me the moment I think about it. Sending texts to my friends or my family when I feel that I’m lucky to have them in my life.

When I appreciate something, I try to say it out loud. And yes, it brings me joy all the time but it also brings joy to others around me and maybe it will help them opening up to gratitude as well.

 

Look at me, now I’m spreading joy around me. Not bad, as it appears.

Of course it didn’t happen overnight, and of course I didn’t change into a always-happy-living-in-a-rainbow kind of girl. But again, one day at a time, I’m becoming better.

Anyway, I just wrote this text with a smile, so I’m grateful for that.

 

Who among you is better than me at having a gratitude journal? Please tell me your own way of expressing gratitude everyday, I would be for sure inspired by your answer as always and, well, I’ll be very grateful for it!

6 Comments

  1. 12 March 2019 / 6:49 AM

    A couple of years ago I tried to keep a gratitude journal and write down one thing that I was grateful for that day every day for a year but I actually found it to be pretty detrimental to me. I think about what I’m grateful for every day of my life; the same things crop up over and over again but also there’s specific things to specific days but I found with the journal I was really forcing things and wasn’t being authentic. I don’t think it matters HOW you practice gratitude, as long as you do 🙂

    Jenny in Neverland

    • Nathalie
      Author
      13 March 2019 / 9:39 AM

      I feel you, trying to express gratitude as a task to check from my to-do list felt indeed unauthentic.
      Still I think it helped me to take the habit of expressing gratitude on the spot!

  2. 16 March 2019 / 6:30 AM

    Such a nice and thoughtful article Nathalie. Expressing gratitude is often forgotten by people but it gives the real happiness and one can express the gratitude in multiple ways to the people around us .Thanks for the nice article.

    • Nathalie
      Author
      18 March 2019 / 9:37 AM

      Hi Jamie! Thank you for your nice words.
      Expressing gratitude is indeed a way to happiness, but I found that what works for me is expressing it directly to the persons I feel grateful to have in my life. I think that it shouldn’t only be a lonely thing, we need to share this happiness!

  3. 18 March 2019 / 2:46 PM

    This is so lovely. Showing gratitude is so important and should not be forgotten. Thank you for sharing!

    • Nathalie
      Author
      18 March 2019 / 9:04 PM

      I myself need a reminder from time to time, and I realize now that the gratitude journal, even if it wasn’t meaningful for me at the end, was at least a reminder for expressing gratitude on a daily basis. So now I don’t know what to think about it anymore!
      Thank you for taking the time to read these few words 🙂

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