A “Grace” Journal

If you have ever hosted Thanksgiving Dinner you are probably all too aware of the mashed potato, turkey carving, gravy making frenzy that ensues right before the meal is served.  As you drop into your seat for the meal you feel as though you just finished a race in which you were passed the baton last.  While grace is being said you are profusely thanking God  the food made it to the table.

For the ancient Romans grace or gratia had three distinct meanings.  1.) a pleasing quality 2.) favor or good will 3.) gratitude or thanks.  While it is a good thing to say grace at meals, living a life of grace or gratitude has the potential to change our lives for the better, according to Dr. Robert Emmons Ph.D..

Dr. Emmons, foremost expert on the science of gratitude and author of Thanks: How Practicing Gratitude can Make you Happier, says research shows a daily habit of gratitude can boost people’s happiness and quality of life.   This kind of gratitude is an active process of acknowledging goodness and recognizing its source.

So how do we increase our sense or feeling of gratitude?  Dr. Emmons recommends  answering the following questions.

  1. What do I typically take for granted?
  2. What would my life be like without this person/event/circumstance that I take for granted?
  3. Consider what a small routine pleasure would be like if you have been deprived of it.
  4. Think about something you really desired for a long time, then you received it. Why are you not grateful for it?
  5. Identify non-grateful thoughts: for example, thinking you  deserve  better circumstances, that other people are better off; that life is boring, monotonous, tedious; that things have not turned out the way you wanted. What are these doing to my sense of happiness? Are they helping it or hindering it?

Keeping a daily gratitude journal is an effective way of focusing on the things you are grateful for.  Take a few minutes before bed each night to record three things that happened that day that you are grateful for, the source, and why each was good for you.  The faithful should begin to see benefits of better sleep and more energy within three weeks.  Sounds good to me.  Anyone dealing with lupus everyday could certainly use more sleep and more energy.

If you become a consciously grateful person there is a strong possibility you will also become more: optimistic, energetic, enthusiastic, determined, interested, joyful, exercise more , have fewer illnesses, get more sleep and be more helpful to others.  Other studies have found more benefits that could be linked to a grateful mindset: clearer thinking, better resilience during tough times, higher immune response, less likelihood of being plagued by stress, longer lives, closer family ties, greater spirituality. *

With Thanksgiving upon us, this would be the perfect time to start a “grace” journal. For me, a good point of contact is offering my gratitude to God for the extensive grace He has poured on me through many different avenues. For you, it may be different. Either way, would you  join me in journaling from now to New Year’s?  Then, if you are cooking Thanksgiving this year, you too, can record your gratefulness for getting through the potato mashing, turkey carving, gravy making, fiasco.

Praying you have a wonderful Thanksgiving….Leslie Rose K

* according to the Readers Digest Article New Science of Thank You October 2007     For more to read click here or here for interviews with Dr. Emmons and here for a Women’s Day article

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The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude. -William James



7 responses to this post.

  1. Hey girl. Love the gratitude post. And just as a practical note, I’m SO GRATEFUL for my mashed potato recipe, which calls for me to do the mashing as early as the day before, mix with a couple other ingredients and bake the day of dinner! They are absolutely declicious, and it keeps me from dealing with the last minute potato mashing thing! I’m happy to share the recipe if it will help anyone else out! AND this last year I decided to make a POINT of telling people close to me that I’m thankful for them and why. (Just as I’m thankful for your and our support group). I don’t make it soppy…just the facts, m’aam. I rely on SO many people for help with different things. I have found that people are so glad to hear that and don’t know how to react, exactly! We get so used to negative thoughts and feedback, that when someone tells us simply that we do something well or compliment our generosity in that way, we are taken aback. Here’s to sharing the love! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


    • Thanks for sharing Tracy. You have some great input. Yes, I also have do ahead mashed potato recipe that my family suggested I do this year. That will be a BIG help. I am so glad we are connected too.


  2. Posted by Brenda on November 23, 2011 at 4:18 AM

    This post could not have come at a better time Leslie! I have just made a “Thankful Heart” mini that has tags in it for my family to journal what they are thankful ful this year at Thanksgiving and while I love this idea, I also love the idea of a Grace Journal for myself. I feel very fortunate as it is and know that I have been blessed in many ways through out my life but to start a Grace Journal would be even more awesome. So I will join you in having a Grace Journal starting with this post!


  3. […] A “Grace” Journal (dominateyourdiagnosis.wordpress.com) […]


  4. Posted by Kathleen Rollins on November 28, 2011 at 11:09 AM

    Thanks Leslie, this is great information. I will be sure and share it with my Lupus support group in Chambersburg.


  5. […] November, I wrote about the Grace Journal.  I have faithfully been keeping a journal since then, writing in it at least five times a week, […]


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