The power of gratitude

In a video clip I watched on YouTube some time ago, one of the participants in a panel was talking about a trying time in her life that had led to serious depression. A friend advised her to put together a list of 1,000 reasons for gratitude, so she started keeping track of the good things that came across her path each day, and slowly the tide of negativity turned.

I often thought of this video clip but never ventured into the task of keeping such a complex gratitude list myself until recently, when a personal loss was followed by poor health and a big unwelcome change in my work environment.

These setbacks caught me by surprise, and as I stood in front of the proverbial overturned apple cart, watching my carefully collected apples roll all over the place, I couldn’t help but feel utterly dismayed. Like dark clouds forecasting an approaching storm, I soon felt the wind of depression blowing about me.

I knew that I had to do something about this negative force that was entering my life. That’s when I remembered the 1,000 reasons for gratitude and how rediscovering the power of positivity had pulled this person out of depression. I figured it was worth the effort to see if I could get the same benefits for myself.

The next day, with pen in hand, I sat in front of an empty page of my brand-new journal. Soon, a number of simple reasons for gratitude popped into my mind:

  1. Sunshine when the weather forecast promised rain
  2. A night of undisturbed sleep
  3. Half an hour of early-morning prayer time
  4. An email with good news from a friend…

As I continued writing, I realized that there was a lot of gratitude to be found in the little things that could easily be taken for granted or go unnoticed. Like diamonds in the rough, they had to be dug out of the mud of my negative mindset.

I did manage to keep up my list, and now, 1,000 reasons for gratitude later, I can truly say that this short daily exercise helped me to look up when feeling down and focus more on what does work out instead of quickly putting a negative spin on any situation.

As I look back over the pages of my journal, I see it as a treasure chest full of God’s gifts, answers to prayers, and proofs of His love and care for me. Even better, I’m sure there will continue to be many reasons for future journals to be filled.