Actually, it’s not even a new experiment. Gratitude lists and journals have been around for a long time. Ann Voskamp wrote about her experiment to collect a list of 1,000 gifts, and she continues.
Last month, I began an experiment of my own. I wrote a list of things for which I was thankful and grateful. Each day of month of May, I wrote down that number of gifts. By May 31, it was hard not to repeat that items, but you know, I think it’s okay to repeat myself, especially if that repeated item is something for which I am truly thankful, such as my music and my recent piano lessons. I have rediscovered my joy in playing piano, now that I actually have a piano to play!
So, this month, I am modifying my experiment in two ways, and again, I have to confess that I am not being extremely original. I read the other day about The Five Minute Journal, a printed journal with several prompts for the day:
- Three things for which I am grateful;
- What would make today great?
- Daily “I am” affirmation statement?
- Three amazing things that happened today
- What would have made today even better?
According to the originators of the The Five Minute Journal, there is power in beginning and ending the day on a positive note. The three things in the gratitude list set the tone for positive things. The daily affirmation also helps us think positively about ourselves. (I am notorious for putting myself down, so this affirmation thing is really kicking my backside and changing the way I think.) At the end of the day, there is a bit of self-reflection on the positive things that happened, and reflection on how we could have met the goals of the day and how we can make the next day better.
All of this goes into my journal where I write my morning pages (a la Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way). It’s one of my three daily pages right now.
There is an old saying that we see what we look for. So, this month, I am going to try to see the gifts in front of me, those things that God has given me—and to the world, and to accept those gifts with a thankful heart.
Will you join me? I bet we can come up with at least 1,000, but perhaps even 10,000!