For years now, I have journaled every day, and these are the many ways gratitude journaling changed my life!

After getting sober from alcoholism, gratitude journaling became an essential part of my daily life.

The disease of alcoholism had caused me to lose so much. My husband of more than two decades divorced me.

I had burned many bridges.

Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude

Cultivating an attitude of gratitude through gratitude journaling in my journal, allowed me to reframe my life.

Instead of dwelling upon all I had lost, I re-focused on all that I had in my life, from the profound to the prosaic.I can see, feel, hear and taste. I can walk. I am educated and have people in my life who care about me. I have an ability to help others and to make the world a better place because I was here.

Sometimes we have a tendency not to appreciate something until we lose it, like our health.

Whenever I see someone in a wheelchair, I thank God that I can still walk. My mother had a hip replacement at a relatively early age.

That could happen to me as well. I am grateful for being ambulatory.

Even on the worst of days, I can find something for which to be grateful. My best friend died last year.

But I am so thankful for the years I was able to have with her in my life and will cherish the memories of her.

She continues to bring me joy and to affect my life in a positive way. Knowing her made me a better person.

What we focus on becomes magnified. If I focus on what I dislike about a person or a situation, it grows in my consciousness. If I concentrate on what I appreciate, my positive regard multiplies.

Manifest Abunance by Considering the Ways You Are Blessed

Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life, by Martin Seligman, was instrumental in helping me develop a more positive interior dialogue.

Optimism is something that can be learned, and gratitude is an integral part of becoming more optimistic.

I also believe we can manifest abundance by considering the ways in which we are blessed and using this brief, powerful meditation.

Two luminaries expressed famous quotes in this regard.  Henry Ford is credited with saying, “If you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.”

And Oprah Winfrey says, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.

Daily Practice of These Rituals Improves Every Area of Your Life

I have found both to be true in my life, and often reflect on these words of wisdom which is yet even more evidence of how gratitude journaling changed my life.

I have carried this gratitude and focusing practice into many areas of my life.

With my significant other, I initiated a daily ritual of telling him or texting him one thing I appreciate about him.

With my job, I tell myself I “get to” go to work, even on cold, rainy Mondays when I would like to stay home.

With my challenging child, I dwell on his positive attributes, even when I am frustrated by his actions.

me, it is a matter of framing my experience of life in an optimistic way. It brightens every aspect of my life.

two step mindfulness approach

 I received a gratitude journal as a gift, The One-Minute Gratitude Journal for the Moments that Matter: A 52-Week Guide to a Happier, More Fulfilled Life and use it every day. 

I love the format of the journal and the prompts inside. I complete each entry at the end of my day so I go to sleep feeling grateful. 

Just Say No to The Blur of Activity and Focus Less on Doing and More on Being

Some days go by as a blur of activity.

We live in a frenetic society, and I can sometimes be more of a human doing than a human being.   


But when I sit quietly, meditate and reflect on my blessings each day, I appreciate the good in my life and just say no to fear, doubt and procrastination.

I cease taking things for granted. I do not merely exist, but I realize the great riches that life has to offer me each day – again, how gratitude journaling changed my life.

The fact that I live in a prosperous, safe country afford me comforts and opportunities not available in many parts of the world.

Life becomes not just a treadmill, but a place of awe and possibility so it’s easy to see how gratitude journaling changed my life.

Maria Leonard Olsen is an attorney and the author of
50 After 50: Reframing the Next Chapter of Your Life (Rowman & Littlefield 2018). You can visit her site here to connect with her and for more information. 

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