Most of us have heard about "Gratitude Journals". Some of us use them, some of us don't. Some of us use them for a while, then get sidetracked and dismiss it. And some folks think they're dumb. Whatever the case may be for you, I thought I might offer up another option...especially if it's a challenge for you to do this wonderful exercise.
I read something that got me to thinking about gratitude...and how sometimes it's hard to see just how much we have to be grateful for. You know that whole mystery about the chicken and the egg? ("what came first...."). Well, I read this little snippet and it kinda reminded me of that. Here's what the snippet read:
"Think of something you've done in the last 24 hours that in some way has contributed to making life more wonderful for somebody. Now, how do you feel when you are aware of how that act contributed to making life more wonderful for somebody? And every time I ask that question to someone, they have a big smile on their face."
Even as I read this, I felt the grin spread across my face, down into my heart...and on through my body. So I got to thinking, maybe instead of 'trying' to do a Gratitude Journal, you could start your day like that. First thinking about what you have done in the past 24 hours to increase the Wonderful Factor. Then to sit for a bit and think of what you can do today. 5 minutes. That's all it takes (maybe less!). To lie there in your cozy bed for 5 minutes and think of ways you could increase the flow of Feel Good Energy. Now...if that's still a puzzler, here are some ideas for ya:
~~~While you're out and about today, whenever you catch someone's eyes, SMILE. You don't even have to say anything. Just give 'em a big ol' grin.
~~~Open a door for someone. And then...smile.
~~~Let that person whizzing my you on the road go ahead of you. Just slow down and let 'em in. And then...smile.
~~~Help that elderly lady with her groceries. Offer to put them in her car for her. Or push the cart to her car. Or let her get in front of you in the checkout line. And then...smile.
~~~Send somebody a card. For no particular reason. You can get really fun cards at Trader Joe's for a mere 99 cents. Before you seal it, draw a smiley face. (you didn't think I was going to forgo the smile part, did ya?)
~~~Buy (or bake) some cupcakes. Put them in a box and go to your nearest car dealership. (stay with me here!). I know...most folks loathe car salesman...but listen up...those guys work their butts off (I know. I used to sell cars. It's a horrible way to make a living. You have NO idea what kind of boneheads run those joints, nor how much one must fight to be real with their customers. It's a nightmare!), and most of them (even the ones who ARE honest and real and have integrity) are treated so poorly by everyone, it's a miracle they're not homicidal maniacs. So then...drive on over to the car dealership and hand out some cupcakes. I kid you not, you WILL feel wonderful doing it...and so will they. (don't forget the smile!)
~~~If that's too much of a stretch, bring those cupcakes to a nursing home. Talk about WONDERFUL! Oh yea. You'll be doing a Happy Dance on your way back to your car. (Need I mention the smile again?)
~~~Pack a sack lunch. You know...sandwich, cookies, an apple, a bottle of water and maybe a little happy note to go inside the bag. Then toodle on down to the nearest corner where the homeless hang out. Whoever walks over to your car first...give them the sack lunch. And a smile.
~~~Write a letter to someone you love. Tell them how wonderful they are. Tell them how much you appreciate their presence on the planet. Put some sparkly confetti in the envelope. Don't sign the letter or put a return address. Send it anonymously. In this case, the sparklies are your smile.
You get the idea, right? It doesn't have to be anything huge. A simple, genuine smile is all it takes. The more you do this kind of stuff, the more your own Wonderful Factor increases. And it spreads out and out and out into the world, one little smile at a time. Corny? You betcha. Effective? ABSOLUTELY!
P.S. One more thing to note: if you will begin this practice today, and do it every day for 21 days, you will have created a new 'habit'. Because that's all the time it takes to create a habit. 21 days. After that, you might just find that Gratitude Journal something you don't want to live without. And that, my friend, is what Joy is all about.