The concept of gratefulness is one that has been given great importance in finding happiness in life. It requires that we feel thankful for the things that we have in life. While this is not a bad concept in itself, it can often lead us to be even more dissatisfied and disappointed than when we started.
Almost every piece of literature on happiness or mental health-including the show ‘Big Mouth’- suggests that writing down the things you are grateful for when you wake up or at the end of the day is a sure-fire way to maintain mental wellness. In fact, researchers in positive psychology have found that giving thanks can make you happier.
But this process is not as easy as it may seem on the surface and keeping a gratitude journal -where one documents what they are thankful for-has its ups and downs.
1. Being consistent can be tough
When you first start keeping track of the things you are grateful for, it may be one of the few times that you’ve sat down and reflected on what you’re thankful for.
This brings about an appreciation of everything from your personal accomplishments to watching Bridgerton. It is a euphoric feeling but can be short-lived. Being consistent with writing these details down every day may be rewarding at first but can become difficult to keep up in the long-term.
2. It can be challenging to decide what to put on your list
The problem with writing down that you are grateful to have woken up, for example, is that it’s disheartening, to say the least. There may be a personal standard that you come up with of what is worth being grateful for. Although some say that you should be grateful for having woken up as others haven’t, measuring how happy we should be with our own circumstances against those of others is not always a solution to feeling dissatisfied.
While we take the minutiae of life for granted, it can be disappointing to lay emphasis on general life experiences like sleeping when gratitude is supposed to bring about positive feelings towards our lives.
3. The process can be repetitive
Once you’ve written down that you’re grateful for your job about 50 times, the purpose of finding novelty in aspects of our lives is lost. You can return to taking something for granted because it can become something you automatically add to your list without reflection.
Having more specific observations on why you are grateful can renew your perspective and remove monotony from your journal.
4. The experience may not always feel genuine
Having to think deeply about what you are grateful for can bring up some guilt. It can mean thinking of things that you should be grateful for but aren’t really. When this feeling is not genuine and comes as a result of artificially grasping at things to put on a list, the process of writing a gratitude journal can be a taxing one.
Becoming grateful is a process. It is not something that happens overnight and keeping a gratitude journal is one of the ways to achieve that goal. Hitting some roadblocks along the way should be expected as with any kind of self-improvement. This only makes you human. And you should be grateful for that too.