Welcome to this month’s Pen & Paper: Living Between the Lines written by the amazing Hope Wallace Karney. To learn more about Hope and the column, please check out the announcement post!
WIth Thanksgiving just around the corner for those of us in the United States, it is a great time to either start a gratitude journal or to create a journal spread focused on what you are thankful for.
I have created a template (PDF) for you to download and print, which you can journal directly on (I cut mine out and will paste it into my journal). You can use it one time, or weekly, or even daily. It is a great exercise to start doing on a regular basis.
I recommend listing out at least 5 things you are thank for, this is a common practice and when done daily it becomes a gratitude journal which is a wonderful way to keep yourself grounded in the everyday things that make you happy.
For this exercise, let’s take it a step further – for every item you list, take a moment and reflect upon it, then write a sentence or two about why you are adding it to your thankful list.
Below, You can see the various stages of my thankful spread:
I decided to record what I am thankful for now, this year, 2011. I added a recent photo of myself and the year. Next, I wrote around them the things I am currently thankful for.
I know it is hard for some to come up with things to list, a lot of times one may think it is too little or silly to record. That is not true! Try not to over think it, and reflect on things you are thankful for no matter how large or small – because both large and small are easily taken for granted, and this prompt will help you to appreciate them more.
I hit some of the big ticket items on my spread – family, friendships, home & shelter, health, and love – but there are plenty of small things that I am thankful for as well, that I could have added, such as…
… my local grocery store starting to carry my favourite hot chocolate.
… borderline warm weather so I can wear flip flops just a few more days until I have to start covering my toes to keep them warm.
… the way my puppy sighs her contentment when I snuggle her close.
… my parents safe journey home after a wonderful visit.
What are you thankful for this year? Today? This month?