Arfa Syed was pregnant with her first child and trying to find the strength to leave an abusive marriage. She writes in Guidepost Magazine, “Life as I knew it was falling apart.”
Then she received the “sweetest gift”.
It was a journal with the word, Gratitude, on the front. What on earth could she be grateful for during this time of acute stress?
She stretched her mind and came up with what seemed minute happenings in her daily life. A neighbor giving her a recipe. A random woman picking up her glove and handing it to her.
Over time Ms. Syed developed a daily practice of writing down what she was grateful for. During difficult times, she journaled twice a day to remind herself of the good in the world.
In her article, How to Make Gratitude a Lifestyle she shares 3 additional tips to develop such a routine.
We should be present – remembering that time is precious.
We should reframe our view of obstacles – remembering that through them we develop resilience.
And this one I just love – Ms. Syed says, We should remember to be wowed.
“After “mamma,” my daughter’s next word was “wow!” I spend a lot of time looking at the world through her eyes—new and fresh and certainly appreciative of little wonders. One afternoon, I was rushing into the house, carrying her, when she started kicking her legs, wanting me to stop—she saw a squirrel on the tree and wanted to sit and watch it eat a nut. So, I stopped and we sat there and watched. I couldn’t help but notice the delicate green leaves on the tree branches, how delightfully the squirrel was eating and how great it was to pause and enjoy that with my daughter. What a reminder that I’m surrounded by beauty. Now, I pay attention to the beautiful river I pass on my way to work and the small joys of being a mom. Through my daughter, God shows me that even my mundane mommy routines can be wondrous.”
This is surely a WOW life! As I write, Codie’s tail is thumping on the hardwood floor; an orchid on the table next to me is boasting pink and purple charm; and a robin is pecking diligently on the grass outside.
Ms. Syed’s piece ends with a quote, “Happiness does not bring gratitude. Gratitude brings happiness.”
So instead of listing our aches and pains, let’s pick up a journal and list our blessings. Then let’s stare at a squirrel and say to ourselves, WOW!
Today’s Takeaway –
-Where’s your WOW right now?
-Take after Codie whose WOWs are found in napping, retrieving socks from the laundry bin, placing tennis balls in strategic places around the house so there’s always quick access, sprawling on a kingsize bed, greeting all strangers as possible best friends.
Enjoy the Ride!
xox Barclay and Joy
If you need more structure to your journaling, here’re some templates to get started. And of course there are apps for that as well.