Every November, like many others, I tend to focus on being grateful. I think of the things I am thankful for in my life and write a list of them, giving a small reason why I’m grateful. This year, I wanted to go a little deeper. I came across the site 365grateful a while ago while researching better ways to document stories. This site tells the story of a woman who took one photo a day of something she was grateful for. She did this every day for one year and it changed how she viewed her life. I have participated in photo challenges before, but not one as personal as this. This year during this time of Thanksgiving, instead of just writing what I’m thankful for, I’m going to do a Visual Gratitude Journal and I hope you’ll join me.
For the next 30 days, I’m going to be taking photos of the people, places and things I am grateful for. The goal is to take and share a photo a day to appreciate the things we have. You don’t need to be a professional photographer and any camera will work to join the challenge. All you need to be is interested in staying present and focusing on things you’re grateful for.
The list comes from journal prompts and things I’ve written about in the past. This year by photographing them, I will be able to look back and see how lucky I am. The list is mostly just a way to motivate me (and you) to stay present and focus on things we have, but may have missed. Feel free to use this list or make up your own. Try them in order, or pick one randomly for the day. The goal is to stay present and take visual reminders of gratitude.
this thing about myself –something about yourself that you never give yourself enough credit for.
this meal – your favorite, something you didn’t appreciate until now or something eaten after a long day.
this sight, smell, sound – be present and appreciate something around you that you hadn’t before.
this color – how does your favorite color make you feel.
this moment – slow down and appreciate a moment that would’ve gone unnoticed.
this drink – coffee, tea, wine or water why are you grateful for it?
this time of day – early riser, off work or sitting in traffic. Recognize a time of day.
this object I use daily – something you that you use everyday, but never appreciated its importance.
this person I see daily – a barista, mailman, crossing guard or co-worker.
this convenience – something that makes your life easier.
this luxury – you don’t need it, but its great to have.
this thing that is hard – weight loss, school, raising kids; it’s hard but worth it.
this person – take time to use the caption of your photo today to write a thank you note to someone.
this brings me joy – what makes you happy.
this observation – an “a ha” moment. Could be something you realized about yourself or your others.
this book – a book that changed you.
this technology – an overlooked piece of technology.
this home – your current home, childhood home or a place that feels like home.
this routine – something you do everyday, learn to appreciate the mundane everyday tasks.
this simple thing – sometimes, the simplest solutions are the answer
this music – what song moves you
this art – what art speaks to you
this view – show a view of something and describe it as if everyone else is blind.
this work – whether it’s just a career or your passion, what do you appreciate about it?
this weather – raining, snow or sun; appreciate today’s weather.
this piece of clothing – new or old, comfy or itchy; show appreciation for a piece of clothing.
this change – change is inevitable, good or bad, why are you grateful it happened?
this gift – either one you gave or received; what does it mean to you?
this knowledge – reflect on what you’ve learned today, or in this past year.
this legacy – share something that was passed down to you, or what you want to pass down to others.
Sharing my Visual Gratitude Journal
I’ll be sharing my Visual Gratitude Journal daily on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Flickr. At the end of the 30 days, I’ll share them on the blog as well as a recap of this challenge. Keep up with the prompts by downloading the photo above and saving it to your phone or, print out a version and keep it wherever you need to remind yourself about the prompts. If you plan to participate, please use the hashtag #VisualGratitude when sharing on social media and feel free to share links to your photos in the comment section, I’d love to see them.