Health, and the quality of everything else in our lives, is all about our state of mind. Yes, a regular gratitude practice is a great way to keep that state of mind on the frequency of positivity and love, but it also goes deeper than just staying jolly. Most people assume that being in the mode of thankfulness automatically means that one should pretend that everything is ok. There’s nothing further from the truth.
Denial has no place in gratitude practice. It would actually be a great waste of time being thankful for things that aren’t quite true. What gratitude practice does is allow us to look at our truth in life, acknowledge what is great and not so great, and think consciously about how things could be better. To me, that sounds like a holistic and healthy way to improve circumstances without having to deny mistakes.
I first heard about keeping a gratitude journal from Oprah. It all sounded like a great idea at the time, but I didn’t make much effort to keep it up. What I didn’t realize is that there is a big difference between thinking you appreciate your life and making the extra effort to record those things. There’s just something about writing it all out - the things you are so very grateful for and the things you would like to change.
Many times, my gratitude statements end up being prayers. Sometimes they end up as parts of short lists: the best parts of my day, the greatest things about being back home, my favorite memories, my worst failures, my scariest mistakes. These all add up to times that I’ve stopped and made a conscious reflection on my life, where it’s been and where I would like it to go in the future. My gratitude notebooks are filled with these hopes and dreams, and when put together, the story of my life.
Consider gratitude as part of your emotional, spiritual, and physical health regimen. Any kind of notebook and pen will do. There is no wrong way to do gratitude practice. But for it to really work, you just have to keep writing.