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Keeping a Gratitude Journal
What’s all of the fuss about keeping a gratitude journal? Recently my daughter started journaling and her journaling peaked my interest. I started looking up various types of journals. The first thing that I found out was all of the positive benefits that come with journaling and how it can positively affect the quality of your life. I was hooked.
Benefits of Journaling
- Boost your mood
- Improve your memory
- Lower stress
- Decrease depression
- You’ll have a snapshot of your days, weeks, months, and years
I quickly realized that I didn’t want to keep a traditional journal however, I was fascinated with the idea of a gratitude journal. With a gratitude journal, you are purposing finding things to be grateful for.
What is Gratitude?
To me, gratitude embodies the word “Thank you”. While gratitude sounds easy enough we really need to be mindful and practice gratitude daily. It’s been proven over and over again that shifting your focus to the positive can dramatically improve your happiness.
Since I’m often strapped for free time, I settled on The Five-Minute Journal. The Five Minute Journal focuses your attention on the good in your life. Improve your mental well-being and feel better every day. For me, the Five-Minute Journal was perfect because it literally takes as little as 5 minutes to complete. It took away any excuse that I had about not having enough time to journal.
Some things that I really like about The Five-Minute Journal is that there is a daily positive quote every day, a weekly challenge and a structure to help you focus on what’s good. To make journaling daily as simple as possible, I keep my journal with a pen attached right at my bedside. (My bedroom is already such an inviting place and it’s generally free from distractions).
Even if you don’t want to buy a formal journal, you can still keep a gratitude journal. Just find any notebook that has free space for you to journal your thoughts. Each day start a new page with the date. Try to journal first thing in the morning.
Write, “I am grateful for…” and list 3 things. Write, “What would make today great?” and list 3 things. Write, “Daily affirmations. I am…” and list whatever comes to mind.
At night right before bed write, “3 Amazing things that happened today…” and list 3 things. Write, “How could I have made today even better?” and list whatever comes to mind.
Other Gratitude Journal Ideas
- Write about a person in your life that you’re especially grateful for and why.
- Think back to a year ago and think about today – what positive changes are you thankful for?
- What foods or meals are you most thankful for? (I’m always thankful for pizza)
- End of the week roundup idea: What is something you’re grateful to have learned this week?
The daily affirmations are my favorite part. They are statements of what you want in life. The daily affirmation is a simple statement that defines you as you want to be. Every time you write out the affirmation, you train your brain to start building this belief in your mind.
“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to believe. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things become to happe.”~Muhammad Ali
Remember, ultimately your perception shapes your reality. Training your brain to automatically scan for the positive at the beginning of the day can be an effective way to start the day. As you start building a pattern in your life, you can look at problems and look at the actions that you can take to move through them (“How could I have made today better?”).
Improvement isn’t inevitable. Change is. Keeping a gratitude journal helps you learn more about yourself and become more self-aware. Although creating (and sticking to) a gratitude journal only takes about 5 minutes a day, the amount of positivity and joy that it can manifest in your life may add years of happiness.