The Power of Keeping a Gratitude Journal or Gratitude Diary & how the Grace of Gratitude Journal Came to Be

Most of my life, I have been an avid journal keeper. Starting with the magic and fun of locked diaries when a little girl; to journals chronicling my life in my 20s and 30s; eventually graduating to Julia Cameron’s suggested stream-of-conscious journaling later on, from her great book The Artist’s Way, I have done it all.

Then, about 10 years ago, through a spiritual mentor of mine, I was introduced to the path of gratitude! She recommended to a group of us that we begin recording 5 things we are grateful for every day for 40 days in a journal, to change our habit, which would bring about more joy and peace and satisfaction in our lives. The bright idea she proposed was that with focus on what is right in our lives, instead of lamenting what is wrong, we would invite in more positivity!

This practice really worked for me! I was hooked, and I keep a Gratitude Journal to this day.

As I became more and more grateful, and subsequently happier with my life, I felt inspired to share this potent practice with others – to help bring more gratitude into more people’s lives, and to help change the world in a beneficial way.

Since I am a book designer by profession, the idea of creating a beautiful Gratitude Journal was natural. I asked my artist partner, Tara Thelen, if she would be willing to contribute her gorgeous watercolors to the proposed Journal, and she said an enthusiastic yes! I then looked through my wide variety of thoughts of thanksgiving, and gathered the best of the best to inspire the readers on alternate pages, and interspersed lined pages for the reader to write in their own “gratitudes.” Voila! The Grace of Gratitude Journal was birthed! We pitched it to a few publishing companies, such as Hay House, and they politely turned us down. So, the Journal was in gestation for a few years.

Then, I shared it with a friend, who loved it and believed in it and us, and funded half of the publishing costs, so that we could get it printed! I remember very well the awe and thrill and wonder I felt holding the printed version in my hands!

What I am most grateful for now is the people who have shared how much it has helped them in their lives. I love that I have paid it forward, that our Journal is so unique, and that more and more people are finding it and cherishing it and most importantly, using it. It has also been used in large healing workshops, gifted to the participants by the facilitators, to my delight.

Being grateful for what one has is such a transformative practice. The idea is simple but it takes dedication to make it work in our lives. The rewards of being appreciative ripple out, like ripples in a pond, touching others too.

It makes me proud to be part of a grand Gratitude movement in this world, joining others who are gratitude proponents, such as Deepak Chropa, Neale Donald Walsch, Brené Brown, Oprah and many other spiritual leaders. How good is that?!

And just like a daily gratitude App you might have on your phone, I also offer Daily Gratitude Thoughts to an email list, and have been doing so for several years. If you would like to receive my free daily “gratitudes,” you can sign up at the home page of www.graceofgratitude.com.

Gratitude Definition

by Deborah Perdue

Gratitude Defined

Gratitude can be defined as the act or quality of being thankful or appreciative of something that has been done to you or for you. It is an abstract noun and is commonly used interchangeably with words such as thankfulness, indebtedness and appreciation. The word ‘grateful’ is closely associated with gratitude, because a person who is grateful is showing gratitude.

Origin and history of the word

The word gratitude originates from the old Latin word ‘gratus’ which roughly translates to a state of being pleased. As old Latin was phased out by medieval Latin, ‘gratus’ turned into the word ‘gratitudo.’ It is believed that the Old French language had a role to play in this change. Etiologists and linguistic experts believe that the word was adopted into the English vocabulary in the early 1800s. It has since given rise to new words like ‘grateful’ and ‘gratefulness.’

Interpretation of gratitude in different cultures
Gratitude is commonly accepted all over the world as an admirable virtue. People believe that there are many ways of showing gratitude. The simplest is by verbally expressing your appreciation. The phrases ‘thank you’, ‘I am grateful’ and ‘I really appreciate’ are among the most commonly used. Different cultures have their own unique phrases used to express gratitude with examples being ‘gracias’ from Spanish language and ‘Asante’ from Swahili.
The other culturally-accepted form of gratitude is through giving gifts. These vary from culture to culture. Some people give money, others give actual little tokens while others go to the extent of offering things like their livestock or food.
Finally, gratitude can be expressed by showing the person kindness and offering them a service that will warrant their gratitude. For example, if a young messenger comes a long way to deliver a package, in addition to saying thank you and tipping them you could offer them some water or write a good review about them or their company. This way, there is mutual appreciation.

Examples of heartwarming gratitude stories in history
Even before the word gratitude was coined, the quality was alive and well in almost all parts of the world. One of the most famous stories of gratitude in history is the Biblical story of the ten lepers. It is said that after Jesus healed them, and only one came back to say thank you. This impressed Jesus so much that he pronounced added blessings upon his life. In this case, both parties showed gratitude; one verbally and the other in kind.
A second example is a more recent one involving a stranded school girl and a homeless person
in Preston. The young Preston Art School student found herself stranded and without money to get a taxi to take her home. The homeless man known as Robbie, seeing the girl’s distress offered to give her three pounds which was all he had. She declined the offer, but was very touched by Robbie’s willingness to give up all he had to help a complete stranger. The young girl expressed her gratitude by spearheading a fundraising campaign to raise money to help the old man. They managed to raise twenty thousand pounds.

Bottom line
After all is said and done, there is no denying that gratitude is one of the most important human virtues. As Cicero wisely put it, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues — it is the parent of all others.”

What Does the Bible Say About Gratitude?

By Reverend Kimberly Bowden

Thankfulness or gratitude is a prominent theme in the Bible. This is proof to me that gratitude is an essential part of a fruitful and productive life. In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, it states “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Many people skim over the fact that we are informed to be grateful, and to give thanks regardless of the circumstances that we are presented with. No matter what we are faced with, there is an opportunity to learn, and more importantly, we are ALIVE to learn it. Right now, in every moment, we have a chance to learn to be more grateful.
When you truly dig into the scriptures of the Bible, you will garner an understanding of just how important an attitude of gratitude is within our everyday lives. We should always be thankful and exhibit gratitude in a variance of circumstances.
Psalms 136:1 – “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.”
Per the Bible, we are to be filled with gratitude due to God’s consistent goodness, as well as His love which is steadfast and reliable. As we are able to begin to thoroughly recognize the very nature of our depravity while understanding that there is only death (according to Romans 7:5 and John 10:10), it is natural for us to be expressly grateful in regards to the life that has been gifted to us.
Within Psalms 30:1-12, David is able to exhibit gratitude towards God after a circumstance that was more than difficult. This is a psalm of thanksgiving, that is not only able to praise God within the precise moment, but it also recalls upon the faithfulness of God. This is a statement towards the unwavering character of God, which is wondrous that praise is certainly the singularly appropriate response.
More examples:
Examples of gratitude within the Bible can be found within the midst of horrific
and cumbersome circumstances. Such is the case when David finds himself crying out to God in Psalms 28:6-7. It was in the middle of great hardship that David was able to convey this. We should all be able to learn from him in the fact that he was able to be grateful when times were not to his liking.
We have all fallen into the trap of believing that hard times equate to failure, or a moment in which we should doubt, or hold on to bitterness. It is during these moments, when shadows overtake our light that we succumb to the belief that all is lost and there is nothing worth being grateful for. This is the greatest untruth of humanity. We are unable to know good without bad. Just as we are unable to know pain without joy. Our greatest lessons come from failure or dark times. This is when we learn. This is when it is brought to our attention what we need to work diligently on. We learn very little from success and constant pats on the back and worry-free days. It is our darkest days that we should actually be the most thankful for. It is these days that we are drawn closer to our true nature. We are to show gratitude for anything that is able to make us better, and for anything that will assist us in making society better.
As we journey through life, we can become easily bombarded with reasons to not show any form of gratitude at all. We can fall prey to the misconceptions of the mainstream that steers us away from gratitude. It is important that we all keep in mind that every day that we are alive and able to improve upon our lives is a gift from God. For every sunrise and sunset that you are able to experience, you are to be thankful. Being alive is a reason to celebrate and be filled with thanksgiving.
We need to break ourselves of the mindset of only being humbled and thankful in times of triumph. We need to not forget or overshadow those times when we are presented with the opportunity to become better people. Moreover, the Bible teaches that gratitude is essential, in all circumstances. For instance, Job had everything stripped from him and yet he remained humble, grateful and faithful. In the end, he was restored far greater than the point at which all was taken from him. Job was grateful for the fact that he had another day to praise, to learn and to rebuild. This is something that we all must keep firmly in mind all given times. The bible teaches us that gratitude is a necessity that will ensure our survival, blessings, humility ad growth.
It is gratitude that allows us to thoroughly and truly see and understand our fellow man. It is the act and attitude of gratitude that allows us to show one other our worth and appreciation. It is through gratitude that we are able to praise one another by reminding each other that we are all something and someone very special indeed. Gratitude keeps us in tuned with the true essence of humanity. This is all what is contained and taught from within the many pages of the Bible. We are all connected, and it is gratitude that reminds us of this and keeps us within this connection. There is truly no you or I….it is but we. For this I am thankful.

Understanding the Difference Between Gratitude and Thankfulness

By Deborah Perdue

Thanksgiving is drawing ever so close, and maybe it is time to re-evaluate our understanding of this celebration, which is held in such high regard by Americans and Canadians alike. At this time of the year, most of us focus on being thankful, which is great, but we sometimes forget about the weightier and more spiritual concept of gratitude. The two terms are used interchangeably, but they are centuries apart when it comes to implication.
So, what is the difference between gratitude and thankfulness?
Thankfulness refers to expression while gratitude is a state of being
When you sit at the dinner table across from friends and loved ones this thanksgiving, you will be glad that they found the time to be with you. You are thankful for their presence in your life and you are happy that everything has been well with them since the last celebration. However, gratitude goes way deeper than that. It is a state of being, where you feel a sense of appreciation coming from deep within you. You are at peace with the world and you appreciate that state of affairs from deep within. The feeling of calm these thoughts and emotions bring to mind is all fulfilling.
Acts of thankfulness last a moment while gratitude is a way of life
During thanksgiving, we get attuned to the presence of others in our lives. We express our fondness of friends and loved ones, and embrace their gestures of love and affection. The gestures we extend are a sign of thankful- ness. During this time, however, the way we feel and the things we show are a manifestation of our state of mind. Gratefulness is essentially a way of life, and it entails staying aware of our place in universe. It requires us to stay alert of the role of others in our lives, staying connected to what everyone around us does to keep us happy. This is different from the fleeting nature of the act of saying a mere ‘thank you’. Through thankfulness, we get to make a sense of our lives and learn to credit our loved ones with the appreciation they deserve.
Thankfulness is a social norm applicable in general situations while gratitude is the special manifestation of spirituality, love and affection
It is easy to go out to the store and say something nice to an attendant or fellow shopper for one thing or an- other. This is a sign of thankfulness for something they have done for you. You are saying thank you to a stranger, but beyond that, there are no ties. Gratitude is the manifestation of love, devotion and commitment to- wards those who mean the world to you. It encompasses shared experiences, shared love and an understanding that the universe has conspired to keep us happy, and help us understand how connected we are to others.
As we head into that special time in November, find a Gratitude Journal, and open your mind up to just how helpful this simple practice may be on the path toward embracing and better understanding the sheer spirituality in the concept of gratitude.

How to Have an Attitude of Gratitude

– Even When Everything Seems To Be Going Wrong!
By Deborah Perdue

There comes a time when everyone experiences a terrible period of failures or upsets in their lives. Relationships crumble; they get fired and realize that they have to train for a new career, or someone dies unexpectedly who was very close to them. At such times, finding something to be positive about or grateful for seems impossible because the only possibility one can see is an unending chain of misfortunes. But believe it or not, this is exactly the kind of experience that can inspire positive change in your life and personality. Rather than think that you’re ill-fated, pull yourself together and be grateful for what you have.
Be grateful for your friends and family
Jim Butcher once said that when everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching are your family. Not everyone is lucky enough to have great relationships with their parents or birth families. Nevertheless, when in difficulties, family is usually the first to comfort you through it all. Family and friends never let you down when the going gets tough.
Be grateful for the little things
It’s hard to admire the beauty of the world when everything in your life seems to be falling apart. You forget that the little, beautiful things are all around you. The flavor of delicious cuisine, the smiles of your kids and family, the sunset and even the cool breezes; these are all little things that you can be grateful for. A small compliment from your boss is a little thing that can boost your spirits and make your day better. The most marvelous things are given to us frequently, and we just have to learn to appreciate them to feel better.
There’s always a choice
The fact that you always have a choice to make is something to be grateful for! The dawn of another day is a chance to make improvements in your life. When going through a rough period, there’s one of two choices you can make; keep complaining about how messed up your life is, or pull yourself together and keep moving forward. Even in the toughest of situations, you always have a choice. It’s sometimes hard to understand this, because it’s harder or requires too much effort, or we are unaware of this fact.
Appreciate the challenges and negative experiences
Believe it or not, one of the most critical elements of handling difficulties is to appreciate the negative experiences. It’s hard to see the positivity in things like this, but challenges make you a mature and more importantly, a stronger person. They build your perseverance, endurance and character. In fact, they teach people to appreciate the current state of af- fairs. And while you may not see it now, you will soon realize the contribution of challenges to new beginnings.
Things could be worse
Everyone tends to think that their problems are the worst and due to egoism, you’re no different. Look around you. Someone else is in a worse situation than you are, and so you are actually lucky. With little effort and desire, your problem can be fixed easily. Like most things in life, problems are relative and right now your situation may seem like nonsense if you compare it with that of someone else. Imagine what the worst scenario would be like, and you’ll soon realize that your life is not as bad as you think.
Appreciate your health
People tend to ignore good health unless they fall sick. It’s good health that enables you to accomplish daily tasks and live a great life. It’s a gift of life that you are able to see the colors of the world, walk, breath or even move your limbs. Health is the foundation of not only your life, but also your personality. There’s no reason to be un- grateful for it because it comes at no cost. Life isn’t as bad as you perceive it to be because you are healthy so ex- press gratitude for this even when your life seems to be falling apart.
Gratitude is vital for coping with difficulties and hardships. You shouldn’t despair regardless of how terrible the times get. Every hardship in life comes with something to be grateful for. You just have to learn how to take note of these advantages, and appreciate them to have a positive outlook on your life. After all, remember that some people out there would choose to be in your shoes right now because their situation is even worse. So be thankful and have an attitude of gratitude.

Gratitude and how it can enhance your life

By Deborah Perdue
What is gratitude?
Gratitude is an expression of thankfulness or appreciation for what a person has. It involves noticing small things in
your life that give you pleasure and acknowledging everything you receive. Being grateful means being aware of how
much you have been given and living your life as if it was a miracle. Thankfulness changes your focus from what is
lacking in your life to the many things that you have. Dr. Emmons, a psychologist who has been studying the art of
thankfulness for more than a decade says that being grateful does not mean you have everything you want. It simply
means that you are aware of what you have been given and you appreciate it.
How to practice gratitude
Thankfulness is not just an emotion that comes along; it is a character that is cultivated. You can think of it as a
something you have to practice until you master it just like yoga, sports or meditation. The practice of being
grateful begins when you start paying attention to all the things you already have that you take for granted. Simple
pleasures such a family house, being married and the ability to hear and enjoy music suddenly takes on a new
meaning. Unlike what most people think, being grateful is not a virtue you only practice when all things all working
well. Gratitude also involves acknowledging the painful and difficult moments and the lessons you learn from
such adversities. Directing your attention towards gratefulness blocks your feelings of victimized even when you
are in the midst of a bad situation.
Writing a gratitude journal or letter is another way to cultivate a state of thankfulness. Writing assists you to
organize your thoughts or experiences and put them into a context. Gratitude writing brings a new and redemptive
frame of reference to assist you cope with adversity. Writing about the things you are grateful about also helps
you create meaning to daily experiences. When you write, you expand and magnify on the sources of goodness in
your life as well as consider the valuable lessons you have learnt from your experiences.
Expressing gratitude is an important aspect of practicing thankfulness. There are many people in your life that
have assisted you in one way or the other. If you have never thanked them, it is time you considered doing so. You
can send them a letter to let them know that their actions meant a lot to you even if they did it along time ago.
Writing a letter may be a simple act and quite cheap, but it sends a powerful message to the recipient.
How practicing gratitude enhances your life
So, now you know what gratitude is and how to cultivate it, it is time to focus on how practicing it can improve
your life. While many personality traits and emotions are critical to your general well being, evidence shows that
thankfulness is uniquely important to your life. Grateful people are known to sleep better and have better relationships.
Such people are said to be more creative and are likely to live longer compared to people who are bitter and
grumble about almost everything.
Dr. Emmons and a fellow psychologist, Michael McCullough of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas,
conducted a study on gratitude by splitting the participants into 3 groups and giving each of the participants a diary.
The first group was instructed to record any events of the day whether good or bad. The 2nd group was told to record
unpleasant experiences and the last group was instructed to record things for which they were grateful.
The study found that the group that recorded things and events that they were grateful about showed high
levels of alertness, exhibited confidence in achieving their goals and were more willing to help others out compared
to the other two groups.
Practicing the art of giving thanks has been shown to have immense benefits to people’s lives. People who
are grateful tend to be happier, more resilient and have stronger relationships. Thankfulness also reduces stress
and enhances your health. According to Cicero, gratitude is not just the highest of the virtues; it is also the
parent of all the others. Many studies have established a link between increased well being and thankfulness.
The link between happiness, health and gratitude established by these studies has been strengthened by the
positive psychology movement that has embraced the concept and begun incorporating the practice of thankfulness
into their movement.
Gratitude is closely linked to mental health and fulfillment. Grateful people are more enthusiastic, have more
joy and are rarely overtaken by destructive emotions such as bitterness, greed and envy. Gratitude has been shown
to reduce the risk of anxiety, substance abuse disorders and depression .This is achieved by enhancing irretrievability
and coding of positive experiences. People who practice gratitude are more capable of controlling their environment,
purpose in life, personal growth and self acceptance. Grateful people tend to be more positive and
proactive in dealing with bad experiences and are likely to seek support, grow from their experiences and spend
more time seeking for ways to deal with problems. Ultimately, thankfulness gives you steadfast believe and hope
that goodness exists even when all seems lost.
Thankfulness is not only good for the mind; it is also great for the body. People who experience gratitude are
able to cope better with stress and enjoy robust physical health including better functioning of the immune system
and quick recovery from illness. Unlike other emotions that are linked to positivity such as happiness and hope,
gratitude is inherently relational. It goes past the person who is experiencing into the social realm. Gratitude has
been shown to be the driving force behind acts of kindness since it is normal for people to respond to gifts with
heartfelt gifts of their own which strengthens bonds with others.
When all is said and done, what is gratitude and how it can enhance your life can be summed up in Meister
Eckhart’s profound statement “If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you,’ that would be enough.”

Page 5 of 512345