Start Your Gratitude Journal Today

This is the season to give thanks for all the good things in our life. Thanksgiving is a day focused on family and giving thanks for the blessings in our lives. But what if you’re in a seemingly bottomless pit of sadness and despair? What if you’re down so low you cannot think of one thing for which to give thanks?

Although some choose single parenting, most of us find ourselves in that role unexpectedly. It can be overwhelming. There is never enough time, money or energy to fulfill all the requirements thrown our way. After working, doing the household chores and taking care of kids alone, there is no energy left. After giving your children the attention and love they deserve, there is little left to nourish your own soul. Forget indulgences, it’s a struggle to pay bills and provide necessities for the kids. Sometimes being a single parent can leave you wondering what there is to be thankful for.

I was in that stage when a friend gave me a blank journal and assigned me the task of keeping a Gratitude Journal. She explained that at the end of the day I was to write three specific things for which I was grateful. I thought it sounded corny but I reluctantly agreed. The first few nights were tough. After a long day at work followed by cooking dinner, helping kids with homework, baths and then the nighttime tuck in ritual, I wanted only to collapse, as was my normal routine. But I had promised I would write so I did. The first week I half-heartedly went through the motions with basic entries; a roof over our heads, food on the table, a car that ran and healthy children. I had taken these for granted but as I recorded them I realized how very fortunate I was. It dawned on me that many single mothers had none of these luxuries. As the weeks went on, I found myself searching for positive things throughout the day to put in my gratitude journal.  As if a light had been turned on in a closet, the darkness began dissipating. I now appreciated things that had previously gone unnoticed; a smile from a friend, a thank you from a client, a day when my children didn’t quarrel and all the appliances cooperated. The journal served another purpose I hadn’t counted on. When I was having a tough day, I could look back through the Gratitude Journal and remember the bright spots instead of dwelling on the current troubles I was experiencing.

Every life has its seasons of joy and struggle. During the dark times, it’s hard to believe the future will once again bring good times. If you’re feeling down I highly recommend keeping a Gratitude Journal. It seems like a Pollyanna kind of thing to do but from my experience, it works to make you aware of the good things in your life and helps bring back your optimistic outlook. If you focus on the negative, that’s what will seem most evident but when you search for the positive, you will almost always find it! Thanksgiving Day may be the perfect day to begin!

Categories: Single Stepping