Gratitude journals have been around for a long time, perhaps getting a boost a few years back with books like “The Secret”. The same is true for vision boards and affirmations. And, although these ideas might have seemed trendy for a while, both have become part of me and my life since.
If you are thinking about creating a journal, now might be just the time to pick up a pen and start writing.
Psychological research suggests happiness is more related to being grateful for what we already have than achieving a goal or acquiring a possession. With that in mind, it’s nice to take the time, be it daily or weekly to jot down a few or many thoughts that express why and what you are currently grateful for in your life…i.e. things that make you happy.
I also find that my journaling has lead me to more positive affirmations during the day as I find myself reflecting and reacting in that place of gratitude more often. This I find to be a valuable secondary benefit of journaling. For example, when that driver cuts you off or that pesky person at work is in your face once again, stop and remember what you entered into your journal last evening and re-focus your energy. Remember back to those people, places, and memories – things that make you happy; that you are grateful for and use your journal to pull you out of your funk and into a more positive peaceful place.
For me my gratitude journal is a perhaps a prayer of sorts. It’s my way of expressing and reminding myself and my “higher power” or anyone else who may be listening for that matter, that my life is beautiful and I am surrounded with many remarkable gifts.
Tips for Creating / Keeping a Gratitude Journal
1) Pick your “venue” – Electronically or via a notebook and No. 2 pencil.
The advantage of going electronic is you can carry your journal with you always and make entries all day long when a thought strikes you. It just depends on what strikes your fancy. It’s also nice to set aside time at the end of the day; perhaps just after crawling under the covers. Reviewing your day and what you are grateful for is a wonderful prelude to drifting off to sleep.
2) Start each entry with what makes sense to you.
Suggestions would be: “Today I am thankful /grateful for…” or “I am blessed because” or “What made me happy today….”
3) Focus also on the WHY.
It’s important to know what you are thankful for in your life, but don’t forget the “why”. Spend some time thinking about why this thing/person/event/blessing/talent has brought you joy and happiness. It’s an excellent exercise and it allows you to focus on where your priorities are or should be now and what you should aim your energies toward in the future.
4) Take the time to look back.
Living in the moment is so important to living a joyful life, but taking some time to reflect back on the gifts of the pasts, allows us to enjoy our journey and concentrate our energies on the good and not as much of the “not so good.” So take the time to review your past entries and enjoy the road you have traveled.
We would love to hear your feedback on what has made your journaling successful and how it has changed the way you live. As always…feel free to participate in this conversation or our other blog entry practices to “energize your life”.