My sophomore year started in shambles. Between coming out, adjusting to harder classes and finding out my mom had cancer, my mental health began its downward spiral. So, looking for any answer, I turned to an empty green composition notebook on my nightstand. It became my gratitude journal.
I’m not a hardcore, consistently-devoted journal fanatic, but since that fall I’ve attempted — every night before I fall asleep — to jot down at least one aspect of my day or life that I appreciate. And no, it does not cure my ailments or fix my problems. Gratitude never got me a better grade, a different body or a quieter schedule. Truthfully, even five minutes of journaling can be a strain, as I sit there thinking this is stupid. I’d rather sleep.
But what I’ve found is that something so small can sometimes put life into so much perspective.
November is National Gratitude Month. And yes, you can passively talk about how you’re “grateful for friends and family” at the Thanksgiving table, but come on. Briefly practicing gratitude for one day a year probably won’t do much for you.
So instead, humor me for a moment. Grab a piece of paper and write with me just this once, with the following questions in mind:
What are you grateful for today? Try to put a finger on something that made you smile recently, or something bigger in life that you take for granted. Think of physical objects, people, emotions, anything.
What are you looking forward to? Find appreciation for the things yet to come. You can extend Where have you witnessed casual magic lately?[/pullquote]gratitude from the past and present into the future.
Where have you witnessed casual magic lately? Author and YouTuber Jade Bowler swears by this concept of “casual magic,” which she defines as “something small, something mundane everyday to be grateful for.” Washing the dishes, watching your cat sunbathe, even the feeling of a warm sweater on a fall afternoon. There are endless ways to answer this question. It’s my favorite one by far.
And if journaling still doesn’t tickle your fancy, then I challenge you to do the following: text one person. One. Ask them what they’re grateful for. Or ask your family around the dinner table. If nothing else, the positivity from other people can inspire you to see the world in its glory.
Remember, there’s magic around you more than one day or month a year. I’m confident that you can find it — as difficult as it may seem, you have something to be grateful for.