Exercise: Journal of good things

I have a confession: A friend told me about this exercise, and I’m afraid that she heard about it on Oprah… But hey, It’s still good.

Anyway, it’s about creating a daily positive space for reflection. Try it!

It’s terribly simple. Get yourself a journal, or open a new file on your computer. Then everyday, write down 5 things you’re grateful for that day. And it can be just about anything, big or small. As an example, today I’m grateful for:

  • The beatiful autumn colours of the trees outside my window
  • My girlfriend
  • People brave and stupid enough to try and publish a new newspaper
  • The music of Tom Waits
  • The books of Harrison Owen

It’s difficult at first, but it will probably become easier after a while.

Why is this a good exercise? Well, it will give you a pause every day, a chance to reflect on the positive qualities of your day. I find that all to often, I can move through entire days without giving myself time to reflect on what is happening. Also it focuses on the positive. I’m pretty sure that for many people from a western culture, it would be a lot easier to think of 5 annoying things. We seem drawn to the negative, to what doesn’t work. This exercise will accentuate the positive.

As an alternative try writing down:

  • 5 things you have learned today
  • 5 nice people you’ve interacted with
  • 5 beautiful things you’ve experienced

  • Or make up your own category.

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