Want to feel happier with your life? It starts with gratitude.

Chances are you’ve heard this already.  From Oprah to the late Maya Angelou to leading psychology experts, giving thanks is considered a daily essential to increasing the amount of joy in your life.

More joy you say? Between kids, soccer practice, work, travel, etc. I’m pooped by day’s end.  Give me a bath, and I’ll show you some joy.

But after reading more on gratitude and hearing what others do, I decided to start a gratitude journal.  Taking just a few minutes each day, I’d jot down 3-5 things I’m thankful for. Something as simple as my morning smoothie, to a phone call with a close friend.

It’s been over a year since I started a journal, and let me tell you, this thing works.

Like Oprah says ‘gratitude is the way to living a more joy-full life.’ I couldn’t agree more. The simple act of thanking the universe, God, your maker – is like saying ‘there is goodness right in front of me, if I choose to see it. And by giving thanks, I’m acknowledging the gift of living, here and now. The more I  acknowledge this, I no longer feel a sense of lacking.  I’m open and ready to receive more.’

If my experience isn’t proof enough, my eldest son (daughters too) has been on the gratitude train too.  He’s been keeping a journal daily for years, and my, how it’s expanded his life.  

It’s as if he’s coming to understand there’s something greater than himself. That despite being a stellar student and athlete, his journaling has opened new doors, bringing more amazing experiences to feel good about.

Another plus he says, is that it makes him slow down and appreciate the little things, instead of focusing on typical teenage angst.

If you’re a parent, you’ll appreciate this:

According to a recent study conducted by Professor Robert A. Emmons, aka the ‘world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude’, students who kept a gratitude journal for 10 weeks not only reported that they were more satisfied, optimistic, and content with their life, but they also had fewer medical symptoms.

Follow-up studies showed that grateful people get better grades, have more energy, and even sleep better. In addition, cultivating gratitude improves our mood, and makes us more social and willing to help others.

Benefits aside, I’ll admit I savour the feel of a new journal book, its fresh papers, and favourite pen.  A throw-back to when we didn’t use our phones or laptops for everything.

Hmm, #tb to memories of no internet. I might just add this to my journal today.