Cultivating a Spirit of Thankfulness

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, there’s no better time to start thinking about what we are thankful for than right now.  Cultivating a spirit of thankfulness in our busy everyday lives is a way to remember that no matter what comes our way, there is always something to be grateful for.  One of the easiest ways to identify all those things you are thankful for is to write them down daily in a journal.  The practice of writing things down is a way to acknowledge their importance in your life.  Research has shown that taking time to be grateful can improve your psychological well-being (Emmons, 2008).  Emmons has noted that better sleep and more energy are possible after as little as three weeks of keeping a gratitude journal (Emmons, 2008).  If a practice as simple as writing down all the things we are thankful for can return those results, isn’t it worth a try?

Here are a few tips for keeping a gratitude journal:

  • Start simple. Who or what makes your life better?
  • It’s not always about things. Things make life easier, but people make life better.
  • Don’t worry about the numbers. You don’t have to be thankful for a certain number of things every day, just be thankful.
  • If you miss a day, don’t give up. Pick up your journal and start adding again.
  • It doesn’t have to be a list, it’s your journal use it the way you want. Add pictures, a ticket stub, a memory of someone special…it’s all up to you!

~Tiffany Bodge is the Managing Director at Military Spouses of Strength. As a military spouse she understands the challenges that military spouses and their families face due to separation, deployment, and the continued higher ops tempo our Armed Forces face due to 14 years at war.  Her passion lies in helping military spouses and families understand the importance of mental wellness.


Emmons, R. A. (2008). Thanks! How practicing gratitude can make you happier. New York, NY: Mariner Books.

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