Note: This practice was described in the Common Good website which can be found at:
This gratitude practice takes 10 minutes every day for 7 days.
Every day, write three things that went well for you that day. The authors emphasize the written aspect. To get the full benefit from it, you need to write down your thoughts, not do it in your head. The three things don’t have to be earth-shattering in order to be recorded. Here’s an example from my journal:
‘Today I went down to Source in search of a pair of headphones for my laptop. I happened to have a 25-dollar gift card saved from last Christmas. When I got to the store, I saw headphones behind glass for upwards of 450$. I sighed. Then I spotted a good-looking black pair, the price was quite reasonable, about 33$. I bought them. Therefore, I got a new pair of headphones for only 8$. What a lucky day!
You need to write down what happened in detail (as above). How did this event make you feel? For example, in response to the above event, I could have written the following:
‘You know how I’m always complaining I’m not lucky, that nothing good ever happens to me? Well, how about a new pair of headphones for 8 dollars. That’s luck.’
You need to write also how the event made you feel the next day. Something like:
‘I told my friend I bought a new pair of headphones with his gift to me last Christmas. I said thanks. I’ve enjoyed listening to audio with my headphones.’
Next, explain how you think this event came about:
‘I hadn’t planned to go to Source this Sunday. As it happens, I was cleaning out my purse, and this card from last Christmas fell out. It was a piece of serendipity. I guess it pays to clean out your purse. Now maybe I’ll do it more often!’
Please note: Don’t worry about proper spelling and grammar when you write. These thoughts are for you, and you alone.
It’s possible that as you record one event some negative feelings could come up. If this is so, just reinforce your focus on the positive. This exercise can really improve your mood if you let it. For example, I noted in my gratitude diary that my sister and I took Dad to the geriatric doctor. On the one hand, I was glad Dad was getting checked out. On the other hand, I worried about what he might find and I felt sad about not being allowed to go in the office with Dad and my sister, though I was later told it was a COVID-19 prevention regulation. Afterwards, I focused on the positive feeling of my Dad getting care (and doing well on the MOCA test), and less on being left out. Dad could only take one other person into the doctor’s office with him, and it is natural that it be my sister as she is older and has greater facility with doctors, knowing so much about health as it is part of her job. I told myself to just let go.
My best wishes for your own gratitude practice. If you like this exercise, let us know in the comments area or on the Caregiver Facebook page.