How to Start A Gratitude Journal

Sometimes the happier you are, the less you’re going to spend. If you feel great in your body, you may be less likely to fall for claims that the latest diet pills will help you lose weight or that some cellulite creams will do anything for you.  (However, you may also feel so happy that you buy a new outfit, so your mileage may vary).  In any case, happy spending is probably better, no?

A great way to be happy is a gratitude journal. Or so I’ve heard. I never really understood it because I tried it and just found myself writing an ongoing list of friends or family or terrible things that had, as yet, not inflicted me. But I saw this list of reflections from the Chopra Center, and this would make sense. I could think of a few of these questions everyday to come up with something to be grateful for that wouldn’t be horribly generic, and that, dare I say it, would increase the gratitude I feel in my life. Try it with me!

  • What was the funniest experience you had? Who did you share it with?
    • P’s Bachelorette Party with the 4-foot inflatable dildo. I also loved how someone brought this uninflated dildo to the fancy restaurant where we ate dinner.
  • What made your mouth drop in awe and wonder?
    • The dramatic decline of my relationship with B.
    • How my friend M has never mentioned any of the wrongs that I’ve done to her and picked me up from my car accident.
    • J’s wedding vows to P.
  • What was your smallest ritual that you loved?
    • Baths with tons of epsom salts, coconut oil and essential oils.
    • Buying flowers.
  • Who made you smile the most?
    • B, always. But possibly my new nephew, Arthur, who has very sweet cheeks.
  • What was a kind thing a stranger did for you?
    • The Managing Director of a charity thanked me personally and invited me to an event over email for a contribution. I felt like some fancy benefactor even though I had donated very little.
  • What is an annoying experience you had that is now a great memory?
    • After my car accident, my parents said I could drive the car to their house so I would have a place to park it without incurring the daily tow parking lot fees.  I drove the 20 miles to my parents’ house at about 25 mph because I was warned that the hood might fly up. But all throughout my car accident, people came through the woodwork to express concern and to help me. At the time, I hadn’t talked to my parents civilly in months.
  • When did you feel closest to God or your Higher Power?
    • When my Community Group noticed I had been missing for a few weeks and reached out to me.
  • What made you jump for joy? (On the inside or literally?)
    • My car hitting 200k miles, thankfully before the accident.
    • How happy I was that B was sharing equally with wedding planning. (would have traded that in for a wedding actually going through, but we aren’t given those choices).
    • Seeing the beach on my much-needed vacation.
    • Finding a Cheesecake Factory after wandering around starved, jetlagged and scared in L.A.
  • What was the most beautiful thing you saw?
    • The water around the Jefferson Memorial on my bike ride home from work.
    • An open table, food and beer after The Great Saunter.
  • What words made your heart melt?
    • I remember my brother saying he would support me whomever I was marrying.
  • Who gave you the best hug?
    • My friend Jim when I saw him at the marathon. I hadn’t seen him in years and he was invited and then uninvited to my wedding (because it was cancelled). He’s a great hugger.

5 Perfect & Free Last Minute Mother’s Day Gift Ideas


Stereotypically, gift-giving occasions are really fun for kids and really stressful for adults. In my household growing up, Christmas was stressful for me as a child because my parents never gave us gifts. So when we got back to school, the other kids would always show off their new toys and clothes and I would always make something up so I wouldn’t feel so odd.

However, no expectation of gifts means that as an adult, holidays, birthdays and Mother’s and Father’s day are completely stress-free. I can buy a gift if I want to but no one is expecting anything. If I buy a gift, it can’t be a disappointment, because there was no expectation of receiving anything from me. It relieves so much stress. Even my friends and I are sporadic gift-givers. Every year, the only gift I have to find is for my significant other.

And even that isn’t stressful because I love thinking about and shopping for gifts. I love thinking about what kinds of gifts would solve a problem or bring a smile. And it’s easy because it’s not stressful.  I also realize that some of the best gifts don’t cost anything. Here are some free ideas I’ve been thinking about to help you guys out.

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