Sunday, April 10, 2011

Gratitude Journal

One of the things I am discovering about myself is that I care about what inspires people. The technicalities of good mental health (think CBT and DBT skills) are great, but there is a part of me that wonders if it is sustainable if one isn't excited about his/her own environment, I mean radically excited. Body mind and soul excited. One thing that has surprised me throughout life is that there are so many people who wander around without passion about things: just having jobs, paying bills and doing the same inactivity every night. I partly blame this on television, but that's a discussion for another time.

"I am having trouble finding my purpose," seems like a common complaint among people I know and I'm not talking about people diagnosed with mental illness either. But what I have also noticed, is not many people go out of their way to foster excitement, opting instead for routine and what is comfortable.

This directive speaks to the ho-hum issue: the gratitude journal. Evidence also suggests keeping such a journal is good for you... look it up...

Cover of little gratitude journal
Inside pages

If you click on this image, you'll see a slightly larger version.

This sample is not a typical gratitude journal. A typical gratitude journal involves mindfully noting things you enjoy throughout the day, creating lists and ranking your overall day. After two or three weeks, one can go back and examine the higher ranked days and find ways to incorporate what inspired them into future days. So, for example, one might notice happier days involved taking a morning walk, soooo... perhaps more morning walks are in order. There are several recommendations for getting the most out of a gratitude journal, such as notice the details and aim for variety.

Anyway, this journal was made using the accordion binding technique. Here's an instructional video about simple accordion book making. I make mine a little differently, using individual pages, stuck together end to end with medical tape, so my book size, page amount and paper stock options are limitless.

I also have a gratitude lecture that can stand alone about the how and why this matters.

In the meantime, I hate to over-stuff a blog post, but I love these videos and they fit the gratitude topic perfectly.

Here is my ideal patient at termination. This is what I would love to see when our work is done. (P.S. I don't know this kid, but oddly this sorta looks like my bathroom!)

And on a slightly more serious note, watch this guy...

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