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Gratitude Journaling

In Christian Women’s Job Corps we start each morning writing down 10 things we are grateful for in our journals. We make a choice to focus on things in our lives that we can be grateful for. After we spend a few minutes quietly reflecting and jotting down what comes to mind that morning, we have a share time for people to tell the rest of our group something they are grateful for. Often times, these grateful journals become very important for our participants. Some will tell me they are keeping them up even months after graduation. We also include a section in our journals for scripture memory and written prayers. To add a little personality to our drug store black and white composition books, we decorate them on our first day of class with multiple choices of printed duct tape.

I have been impressed over the past few years of the importance of gratitude in our lives. Ok, you can also interchange the word thankfulness. I am not alone in my interest of the positive effects of gratefulness in a person’s life. Just google “gratitude” or “thanksgiving” and you will come up with a multitude of blog post, articles, psychology reviews, images, and pictures.

As I have read up on gratitude I realized that psychologist routinely use intentional gratefulness as a treatment for depression. People suffering from disease and sickness are encouraged to change their thinking, becoming more grateful, for the health benefits alone. Even people who reject God in their lives believe in the importance of gratefulness.

I found a website on the benefits of gratitude by a non-Christian that was very interesting. The writer said he had to guard against a drawing toward belief in God, because practicing gratitude made him want to. As a Christian I found that very interesting and sad, all at the same time. Praise God, I know who to be grateful to. The following information came from that blog:

Keeping a gratitude journal caused participants to report:

16% fewer physical symptoms

19% more time spent exercising

10% less physical pain

8% more sleep

25% increased sleep quality

The Bible (The ultimate truth of the universe) spells out our duty to be grateful very clearly.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 commands us to “…give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” This is not a suggestion. This is a command. God created us. He knows what makes us tick. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to us that obeying God will have all kinds of positive affects in our lives. Do you have a favorite verse that is full of thankfulness or gratefulness? Memorize it and begin your time of reflection by reciting it daily.

If you don’t have a gratitude journal, start one today. There is compelling evidence that it will create positive change in your life, and if you are a Christian, it will give you a daily opportunity to be obedient to God.

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