“I am happy because I’m grateful. I choose to be grateful. That gratitude allows me to be happy.”  Will Arnett.  

As the holidays approach it’s time to be grateful, to think about our blessings. And there is no better way to go through the holiday period than in an ‘attitude of gratitude’. I know it’s tough out there in the arena. For employers it’s getting harder to find good talent and keep them. Engagement is at an all-time low. Employee turnover is a problem and seems to be getting worse. Companies are resorting to unbelievable tricks and perks to keep people. And, seniors, many living alone, do not get the acknowledgement and appreciation they need just to thrive and prosper.

So, what can we do about all this? One simple and evidence-based solution comes from the positive psychology movement. Start a ‘gratitude journal’. Get a 50-cent notebook from Target and spend five minutes each evening reflecting on three things you were grateful for during the day. They don’t have to be monumental events. They could be things like; the sunrise was spectacular this morning, I talked to an old friend for 20 minutes, and I finished the project I was working on a day early.

Starting a gratitude journal and writing down two or three things you are grateful for each day can have positive effects on you and others around you. Say your spouse is a doubting Thomas and thinks things like gratitude journals are ‘stupid’. You could try this approach. In the evening, sitting on your sofa you could ask her, “Sweetheart, help me with MY journal. What are three good things that happened to me today?” She will tell you; you write them down, you thank her. And, you have both participated in a process of reflecting on some good things in your life. 

Do you know what happens when your friends chip in to help you? From, “It’s a Wonderful Life”.  

Why is it important to be grateful? Here are just a few reasons, all evidence-based from positive psychology, for being grateful and journaling about it: it will make you happier, increase your psychological well-being, strengthen your positive emotions, and build your self-esteem. And, your attitude will impact others, multiplying the good effects. Pretty strong arguments for taking five minutes each day to reflect on the good things you have experienced. Have you ever had a ‘gratitude journal’? Why not start one today?