Why I Keep a Gratitude Journal
I often think about how keeping a gratitude journal could improve motherhood. As primary caregiver and chief household organizer, in addition to being a Work at Home Mom, thriving most days would be difficult without the regular practice of documenting the things that lights up my life. Other moms I know see the correlation, too: keeping a gratitude journal improves our motherhood (and even marriages).
But it’s not just moms noticing the effects that gratitude journals have on one’s happiness. It seems that science is also toting the benefits of documenting your gratitude. According to The Greater Good Science Center, based out of UC Berkeley, “studies have traced a range of impressive benefits to the simple act of writing down the things for which we’re grateful—benefits including better sleep, fewer symptoms of illness, and more happiness among adults and kids alike.”
The idea of a gratitude journal is straightforward – once or twice a week, write a few sentences to a full paragraph of the things you are grateful for. Sometimes my gratitude expresses the mundane or obvious, like “Thank you for that great cup of coffee” or “I am grateful for the chance to stay home with my kids”, to the very defined notions of motherhood that not every parent is blessed with, for example “I am blessed with a child who communicates so well. I love getting to know the nuances of her personality.”
In those moments where I relish in gratitude, I find a level of appreciation that carries me through that week of parenting. When my kids are acting like kids, I feel like I’ve gained twenty pounds and the chaos of the world is sitting on my shoulders, sometimes the only thing between rationale adult behavior and complete mental breakdown is gratitude. It seems strange to be grateful for being grateful, but the truth is that because I have committed to the practice of keeping a gratitude journal, I am a better mom. The world around me might be going crazy, but my gratitude journal has taught me coping skills that I rely on daily to remain grounded.
I take time to remember and cement in my mind what others appreciate in me, too. I am grateful for the things family and friends like about me. My kids love my health and excitement for life. My husband appreciates my support and trust in his guidance. My true friends love me and depend on my loyalty, even though I’m not there on a day to day basis. Especially when it comes to mothering my children, keeping a gratitude journal has helped me to keep the negative voices at bay. I am a good mom; my kids adore me; my husband thinks I’m beautiful.
Before keeping a gratitude journal, I would never taken a photo of myself. I felt fat, ugly. I never had makeup on. My clothes are old and less than flattering. But after a few summer vacations, I am so grateful for the images I have with my kids. I treasure their smallness, knowing that soon those babies will be taller than me. If even for those few simple images of a old, tired mama hugging her kids while she feeds the birds, I am eternally grateful for what my gratitude journal has manifested in my life and motherhood.
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