Finding strength in gratitude

Finding strength in gratitude

By Anna Dwyer

I am someone who likes to look for moments in my day to be grateful for. So much so, that every day for the past five years I have found these moments and every night for the past five years I have recorded them in a ‘Gratitude Journal’. 


I started gratitude journaling in 2012. At that time I found myself in a place where I was feeling overwhelmed. I had moved to the city, I was in a job I wasn’t enjoying and I had the responsibility of my two nieces who were at school. It was overwhelming and everything was starting to get to me.


I did not want to drown in negative thoughts so decided that writing moments of gratitude on a daily basis would be the perfect way to reframe my thinking.


I had learnt of the practice of keeping a gratitude journal from my biggest inspiration, Oprah Winfrey.  On her show Oprah had talked about how she kept gratitude journals for 10 years straight.


Furthermore she said, “When you are grateful you will begin to see that you have more”.  


I loved that line and I loved the idea of keeping a gratitude journal.  I decided to set myself a target for 1000 days straight and off I went in search of things in my day to be grateful for. 


In July 2015, I had reached my goal of 1000 days straight being grateful. Once I had reached my goal I decided to aim for 10 years straight. I figured if Oprah could do it, then I could do it.  


In a beautiful twist of fate, in the same year that I completed my 1000-day goal and set my new 10-year goal, Oprah happened to come to Brisbane on a speaking tour. 


Oprah heard that I had completed a gratitude journal for 1000 days straight and during her show she asked me to stand up to talk about it. 


It was both a surreal and magical moment to be able to have a conversation about gratitude journals with the very woman who had originally inspired me to start them. 


Since I began the practice of gratitude in 2012, I have made my way through nine journals and am now more than halfway through the goal of 10 years straight.


Most days I record small things, repetitive things, some would even say mundane things, but they are all things which I find myself feeling grateful for. 


At a deeper level I know this practice has changed me for the better. Whilst my journals are not filled up with huge impressive moments, they are filled with thousands of moments of thanks. 


I have no doubt that the practice of gratitude has changed me at a cellular level as I truly find myself always living in an ‘attitude of gratitude’.

Anna Dwyer

Anna Dwyer is a Senior Sergeant in the Queensland Police Service. Her role has taken her all over Queensland, working in remote and vulnerable communities like Cape York, and tourist meccas such as Cairns, Airlie Beach and the Sunshine Coast. She now resides in Brisbane where she serves as a Senior Integrity Officer in the Ethical Standards Command. 

Anna has been keeping a Gratitude Journal since 2012.

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Comments (3):

Changing our attitude to gratitude is the most powerful thing we can do.
Great read, thanks you

Sugarloaf - January 8, 2018

I love your attitude of gratitude!

rmmrosiem - December 19, 2017

Anna, a wonderful article and an incredibly good reminder of keeping things in perspective.

claremary - December 18, 2017