Gratitude Journaling: Helpful Tool or Waste of Time?

You’ve probably heard this advice from well-meaning magazine articles, self-help gurus, or spiritual advisers. Maybe you’ve even accepted it as the gospel truth: cultivate an attitude of gratitude, and it will change your brain, make you a happier, better-sleeping, nicer person who can leap tall buildings in a single bound, yada yada. Google it and up comes all manner of scientific studies proving it to be true. But is it? I mean, it seems like a no-brainer, right? Simply write things down you’re grateful for every day and through the magic power of gratitude your life will be better. Well, wait just a minute there. I’m going to call bullshit. Or at least for a time-out.

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What’s Goin’ On, Bike Dude?

Back when the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Jr., was running for president, he gave a speech at the University of Texas at Austin. By the end, he had the crowd of 5,000 Longhorns and some townie interlopers like me all riled up. He said “Repeat after me: “I am somebody. I AM Somebody! I AM SOMEBODY!” In true call-and-response gospel fashion, we chanted in full voice back. I believe that most of the time. But other days I’m just some dude who rides a bike and stuff, edits my bike memoir, and writes this blog. Sometimes there is no one theme for a post, so only a hodgepodge will do. This is one of those days. To quote John Lennon, another American icon of peace and justice: “My momma never told me there’d be days like these.”

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