The Power Of Gratitude Journaling
The silver lining of this dark Covid cloud has been that we get to work from anywhere and last month I used this opportunity to spend some time at my childhood home. I got a chance to be there for a few days at a stretch after many, many years.
Physicists tell us time-travel isn’t possible, but there is something astounding about childhood homes. The moment I landed there, memories came rushing back at the speed of light and I was transported back to the 1980s and 90s like magic. While browsing through my childhood memorabilia and hostel trunk box, I ended up finding my old diary there. My old diary? I couldn’t believe it! I definitely need to thank my mother for this. She has carefully preserved some of our precious memories despite changing cities and countries multiple times.
I have spent a considerable amount of my childhood days in hostels. In that era of no internet and no mobile phones, our prime mode of communication with families and friends used to be letters. Handwritten letters :). And the most favorite bedtime activities were reading and writing. Writing in a physical diary :). If you are someone of my age group, I can already see a smile on your face reading these lines. Did it remind you of your diary or letters :)? Aren’t these memories precious?
To me, it was like finding a treasure trove. Finding my old self. Reunion with the little dreamy girl that I was. My childhood wasn’t easy by any parameter. It was tough, coping up with crises, challenges, and an avalanche of adversities. But what amazed me going through the pages of my old diary was the hope and gratitude that the little girl in me had.
It did highlight the bad days — and challenges. But every night, the younger-me ended her day positively, with a reflection post and a thank you note to the almighty.
Pages after pages, the diary exuded HOPE.
Life has indeed come a long way for that dreamy little girl. She didn’t get everything that she wished for, but she definitely got many things to be thankful for.
What I experienced going through those old pages were beyond words. That diary was a stark reminder of two things for me:
Journaling is powerful.
Gratitude is scientific.
Those pages reminded me that even though days were insanely tough but I somehow ended up meeting people who helped me move ahead. The circumstances were adverse but I always found a way out. I felt blessed and I was thankful for every little help I got.
Or was it the other way around? Because I was thankful, I ended up getting more help in my life?
The more I think about it, the more I believe —
Gratitude is indeed scientific.
There was definitely something working for me. Something releasing a tsunami of serotonin and dopamine in my tiny brain. Making me feel happy and hopeful, despite all the hardships.
When and where did I lose that little girl full of hope and dreams? I don’t know exactly, but I can guess.
Adulthood happened. Dreams started to accommodate others. Reality smacked in the middle of my face. Confidence shattered. I ended up being in very adverse circumstances where I had to face criticism for every small thing. Blamed for things that weren’t my fault. I was listening to too many people, giving value to too many opinions. I know, I know, recipe for disaster. But many times, we don’t realize how disastrous the recipe is unless we get to gulp down the broth :). More on that later. (And I will, as my resolve for 2021 is to write on topics beyond work. Topics that are closer to my heart, topics that shaped up who I am. And topics on which I think I can be of help to someone).
Along the way, I did realize the need to rewire myself. I wanted to get back to my old self, to the girl who stood tall despite all the odds, to the girl who was full of dreams, hope, and gratitude for everything she had. I have consciously taken many small steps in the last few years in this direction. I need to do a lot more.
I have continued my childhood habit of journaling every night to date and restarted gratitude meditation a couple of years back. But finding this diary at the beginning of the year was like serendipity. Going through its pages just reaffirmed, why I must continue doing it forever with more belief and conviction. The old journal acted like a reminder for many things, filling me up with renewed hope when I needed it the most.
So, here is to 2021. May the power of gratitude help me move in the right direction. And may my journal this year be full of hope and faith.