Gratitude Journal focuses on the best of life

Challenges of Living to Age 100


How many more challenges can we face? There are unsettling world events, debates about health care, taxation, crime, storms and family dysfunction. As we travel through life, we deal with the loss of family and friends more often than in the past.

We hear about the importance of “maintaining an attitude of gratitude” from the pastor at our church and from motivational speakers. We might become sad, tearful, depressed, overwhelmed and even defeated. If we give thanks and show gratitude, then we will find comfort in the good we have in our life.

When we become upset, angry or even inclined to self-pity, be reminded of the many gifts of life for which to be grateful. If you have trouble with that reflection, get a bound notebook and start your Gratitude Journal. Make entries about those people, events, experiences and things for which you are grateful. Written comments about your spouse, children, grandchildren, friends and neighbors help you remember moments of joy that have come your way.

Focus on the best of life.

Write about experiences that gave you joy, happiness and gratitude. Note childhood memories, adventures in college, surviving military action, supporting and developing a family, overcoming a medical challenge, coping with losses and recovering from disasters or failures.

Here in Florida, we can recall the recent hurricane experience. Some of us lost power, but are grateful that the roof and windows did not blow out.

The fence blew down and you found neighbors on the other side that you had never met before. You cleaned up the debris together. The strong winds and rain beat up the trees and foliage. Everything seemed brown, but you got to see the beauty of the landscape in a whole new way.

As you make entries in your journal about how you are grateful and think about your blessings, this activity becomes a prayer. “Thank you, God! I am so grateful!”

People who live long lives maintain an attitude of gratitude. Their life is a prayer. Remember, God is good. God never gives you more than you can handle.

A Dutch priest Henri Nouwen in his book “The Return of the Prodigal Son” writes about practicing “the discipline of gratitude.” He continues “It’s up to us to make the choice to be grateful even when things aren’t going well.” 

Ed Baranowski is president of Topics Unlimited, a Melbourne-based education, seminar and consulting company. He can be reached at