A Weekend Gratitude Journal

2년 전

I am grateful for this snowy day at Lincoln Center.

Guys, this is going to sound like such a trite phrase, especially since Thanksgiving has come and gone. But I don’t think that human beings are particularly good at being grateful.

Of course, there are evolutionary reasons for this — it’s beneficial for a species to pay more attention to the bad things than to the good things, quite simply because the bad things could kill you. If you ate a poisonous plant once and almost died, it’s really important that you remember that experience and what the plant looked like. You’re not going to remember every single time you ate a non-poisonous plant, though, because it’s not important to your survival as long as you can identify which plants are safe to eat. Are you following me?

What this translates into in our current, non-plant-foraging lives (or at least, I don’t forage for plants... I wait in long lines at Trader Joe’s) is that for every negative experience that we have, we need three to five positive experiences to offset the one negative experience. You’ve definitely experienced this when you’ve had a bad day. If one bad thing happens, we tend to declare that the entire day is bad, even if there were a couple good things about the day too. We also forget negative experiences more slowly and think about them more often, and — get this — we perceive people who say negative things as more intelligent than people who say positive things.

We are not hardwired to be happy. We are not hardwired to be grateful. We are hardwired to survive.

Kinda bleak, isn’t it?

I am grateful that this library decided to paint Gunter the Penguin on their windows.

The good news is that it’s not our fault that we evolved this way. This whole idea that we “should” be happy is entirely off the mark, because that’s not what our brains are built for. But while it may not be our fault, a lot of us genuinely want to be happy, so we have to reckon with our negative minds regardless. And one of the best ways that I know how to do this is with gratitude.

The research in positive psychology on gratitude is astounding. For instance, if you were to write down three things a day that you are grateful for, and you did this for two weeks, you would reap the positive psychological benefits for up to six months. Gratitude makes us happier, more alert, more determined, more enthusiastic… the list goes on.

So today, I thought I would list some things that I really, truly enjoyed this weekend. I love doing this on a blog, because it’s so much fun to revisit. Having an online record of positive moments is like having a little snow globe of happy things that you can take out and look at whenever you want.

I am grateful that I got to see this view in Lisbon.

Of course, it makes me feel a bit self-conscious, because it seems almost like bragging. And to make it not seem like bragging, to justify my gratitude, normally I would tell you all the things that haven’t been so great in my life recently — to “prove” that I deserve to have happy moments. But I’ve been bothered recently by the idea that I or anyone else needs to justify their happiness to others. It harms us as a society to not embrace gratitude wholeheartedly, to be suspicious of each other’s happiness and question if people have “earned” it.

So I’m not going to do that today. Instead of telling you why I have earned the right to gratitude (which is a ridiculous idea to begin with), I am going to invite you write down a few things that you’re grateful for too. And if you feel like it, post it on Steemit and then leave a link to it down below! Let’s make the world a slightly more grateful place.

I am grateful for this sunset in Sintra.

With no further ado and in no particular order, here are some things I feel particularly grateful for this weekend.

  1. This Saturday, it snowed for the first time all year. I love snow so much, possibly because it makes me feel like the world has become one big stage for the Waltz of the Snowflakes from the Nutcracker. When I woke up, I just stared out my window for a solid fifteen minutes, watching the snowflakes. And it snowed all day! It felt so cozy.

  2. I got to know a friend much better. I’ve known her for a while, but we became a lot closer this weekend when we spent an evening that was supposed to just be us watching a Ghibli movie and eating popcorn and drinking wine. The popcorn was eaten and the wine was drank, but we never got around to the movie — instead we talked until 3:00am without realizing it, and I have a much stronger friendship with her than I did before.

  3. I had brunch with two friends who I hadn’t seen in a while, and we laughed incredibly hard while feasting on dim sum. I am deeply grateful for pan-fried noodles, pan-friend pork dumplings, soup dumplings, shrimp rice dumplings, scallion pancakes, red bean dumplings, and the fact that one of my friends told me to put vinegar on the dumplings instead of soy sauce. The world of dumplings will never be the same.

  4. I found out that a bubble tea place I’d been dying to try has the option of substituting soy milk for real milk in any of their drinks, which is a blessing to lactose-intolerant but bubble-tea-obsessed creatures such as myself. Also earl gray tea lattes are a thing of beauty, particularly when you are waiting in the cold to get into a dim sum restaurant.

  5. All the snow has stayed on the tree branches, and it is beautiful.

  6. I went to the library, and I found out that they a) have a new cafe that sells excellent brownies and b) they were having an exhibition on the Nutcracker and c) they had the book I wanted. Libraries are the best.

  7. While looking for pictures to add to this post, I stumbled across the ones I took at SteemFest, in Lisbon. I am so incredibly grateful to vcelier for providing the financial resources that allowed me to attend SteemFest, and I am also grateful for the wonderful people that I met (particularly the firepower crew! Thank you for letting me help out!) and the beautiful memories that I have to look back on. It was a magical time.

With Gratitude,
The Owl Hours

All the photos in this post are my own work, so the usual copyright rigamarole applies. They were all taken on an iPhone 7.

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It's nice when you have things to be grateful for. It had been raining here for a few days but this morning we were treated to a nice snowfall here in Sofia. It wasn't the first snow for the year, but it snowed really beautifully and it is much better than the rain that preceded it. It's a very good piece of advice to be grateful for the small things, thank you!


That sounds so nice! Snow really is so pretty, especially compared to rain.


It is and it makes the cold much more bearable. :)

@theowlhours This is a very uplifting post. At first i thought it was sad that survival instincts way so heavily upon us but by the end i am grateful that you put in words that gratitude is key to happiness. I am also thankful for the rain here todayand my friends and family. ... And Coffee!


Those are great things to be thankful for! Particularly the coffee ;) I'm glad you enjoyed the post!

Liked the clarity of the photographs. Specially from Lisbon.
Thanks for sharing ! You will have lasting memories of the places.


Thank you! I really can't take any credit for the Lisbon photos -- I just got lucky with the lighting. I'm glad you like the photos. :)

I write in a gratitude journal every morning! It is nice to see someone else engaging in a similar practice!

And you are right. Humans have a lot of difficulty being grateful. We are constantly craving more of something.

Taking a moment to stop and experience gratitude is important. I hear you when you say that you worry about sounding "trite", but you are actually being quite wise when you see the value in gratitude.


Writing in a gratitude journal seems like such a lovely practice. I should make it one of my new year's resolutions to start one!

wow nice view


Thank you!

I like the idea of gratitude journal @theowlhours thanks for suggesting this idea


And thank you for reading this post!

Lovely post


Thank you!

hello, beautiful writing and beautiful photographers. thanks for sharing


And thank you for reading it! I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

This is so incredible, Thanks for Sharing.


Thank you for reading it!

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Look foggy + rain drops 💦 makes the pic on another level keep going