statistic on the morning news today about how a record number of Americans are currently suffering from stress, depression, and anxiety. Though I found this dismaying, I didn't find it surprising. Because, on and off, I've been one of those Americans.
Toward the end of last year, I found myself trying to stay afloat amidst waves of stress, frustration, and pessimism about the world at large. My day job was getting on my last nerve. My patience at home was as thin as ever. When I looked around myself, I saw unfinished projects, an uncertain future, an unstable country.
So when the New Year arrived, I decided to resurrect my favorite mood-altering habit: writing in a daily gratitude journal.
It was working okay, but after hearing about a new, more structured gratitude journal while listening to a podcast, my husband challenged me to up my game. He bought each of us a copy of The Five-Minute Journal and dove right into it with his signature gusto. I, on the other hand, resisted the new book. I thought my old methods were just fine—I didn't need some fancy new fill-in-the-blanks book to help me craft my practice.
Oh, how very wrong I was.
People, this book is life-changing. And I'm not being dramatic. And I'm not getting compensated in any way to say this.
The journal truly does require only 5-10 minutes of your day. A quick entry in the morning, another at the end of the night, and you're done. But the transformation it can spark has been downright remarkable to me.
My stress levels feel lower than they have in probably a year. My optimism has returned. Though the future does still seem a little shaky to me, I see so much goodness when I look around the world.
I'm not saying everything is 100% rosy all of the time. I still have blips of overwhelm and frustration, but on the whole, I feel like a different person.
Shifting my focus to look for things I appreciate—it's magic. Opening and closing each day with gratitude—total path-paver to long-term happiness. And then the book has extras like weekly challenges and inspiring quotes that just crank the positivity dial even further in the right direction.
I've now gone on to purchase this book for more than one person and recommend it to pretty much anyone who will listen. I'll have to report back on others' results because I really am astonished by my own.
If you're looking for a way to save your sanity and change your outlook, I would highly recommend giving The Five-Minute Journal a shot. After all, a little gratitude never hurt anybody.