This Christmas I unwrapped an unexpected present. It was a bright blue notebook, A5 size, with nicely lined smooth paper, and with its own pen in a handy holder and a ribbon bookmark. It was a thing of beauty and I immediately fell in love with it. A new blank notebook is a wonderful thing; full of potential; alluringly sensual with the promise of words and imagination which can take one anywhere. A new notebook is a magic carpet, the pen a lamp with a genie inside. This notebook had an intriguing title on the cover: “Gratitude.”
My friend who gave me the book had included instructions. “Every night, before you sleep, write down in this book three things for which you are grateful. I promise this will change your life.”
It’s only been a month and I have not used it every night – to my shame – but I have seen a difference. It makes a difference going to sleep remembering three things in the day which have gone well, or for which I am grateful. This lockdown has been hard and my depression for the last two months harder, but there are joys too. Sometimes it is difficult to find three things, but I keep thinking and always come up with something, even if it is a small something.
The three points of gratitude can be small, even insignificant things. Tonight, one of them will be the flower I saw on my walk today – a promise that spring is on its way. Sometimes they are big things, like my immense thankfulness that my dear friend Raz and his family are all recovering well from Covid.
I am not sure if the quality of my sleep is improved by this gratitude discipline, but I know I do drift off with a smile on my face and joy in my heart, rather than on a bitter reflection of the day with all its disappointments and failures. Even thinking about some of these points of gratitude makes me smile now. A zoom chat with a friend; a challenging paper engineering project which came out well; finishing my daily ‘to do’ list (that one is rare, but it has happened); watching an interesting programme on TV or reading a new and engrossing book; a blue sky and sun – or snow and my children’s joy as they built a snowman.
A constant cause for gratitude is the book itself. I am grateful for my friend who gave it to me, grateful for the lovely book itself, and immensely grateful for the discipline of gratitude itself.
A Moodscope member.