Probably about 5 years ago, my mom gave me the Ann Voskamp book One Thousand Gifts. I was in a phase of transition and uncertainty, and so I started my own "1000 things" journal. During that time, I became engaged, had that relationship self-destruct and dissolve, met my now husband, started the adventure/journey of marriage -- among many other life changes/occurrences. After the sermon this past Sunday [March 24, 2019], I pulled the journal out and spent hours re-reading through those things I was grateful for in the midst of so much turmoil and pain. I was again reminded of God's goodness and overarching plan.
I haven't been as consistent as I would originally have liked to be - today I am only at about 440 listed things. But just in the past few days, it has become a renewed habit for me.
Marriage has been a huge adjustment, the world (and sometimes just my own little world) can feel so overwhelming and honestly, hopeless. And just repeating to myself "my hope is in Heaven" nonstop hasn't seemed to change any neural pathways in my brain to act and think differently. But practicing gratitude has and does - it forces me to see and document the good things that God is doing and to think creatively about what I am seeing and experiencing so that even the things that seem like the worst things in the world can be flipped and made into good things.
I'm not a naturally thankful person - I can tend to be critical but I am starting to see that the more I point out gratitude, the more I transition into being more hopeful, more kind, more able to take on the overwhelming things around me.