Starting a gratitude journal goes far beyond writing down the things you’re thankful for in a journal or notebook. It’s a practice that has the potential to powerfully shift your physical, emotional, and spiritual being into higher, more enriched levels of fulfilment.
How can so simple a practice have so profound an effect?
A gratitude journal serves as a tool to help you cultivate greater appreciation, mindfulness, and gratitude in your life. It’s an exercise that can change the way you view the world around you, as well as the way you embrace your present circumstances.
Together, we’ll explore the positive effects of gratitude, as well as tips and strategies on how to use a gratitude journal to change your life.
Why Start a Gratitude Journal
Now, you might be wondering: why start a gratitude journal? How will writing in a journal help me be a healthier, happier person?
Well, there are actually quite a few benefits to implementing a regular gratitude journalling practice.
1. A Gratitude Journal Encourages Gratitude
Yes, we know — this one is likely the most obvious of the bunch, but hold on! Hear us out.
The whole point of setting out on a gratitude journal expedition is the cultivation of greater appreciation, gratitude, and thankfulness.
Why cultivate greater gratitude? Studies have shown a wide range of benefits to regularly focusing on an attitude of gratitude. You’ll experience more restful sleep, decreased anxiety and depression, more motivation, and a more optimistic outlook on life.
2. Gratitude Journals Activate the Law of Attraction
Yes! Gratitude journals help you utilize the Law of Attraction to bring about more positive opportunities and circumstances into your life.
How does this work? Well, the Law of Attraction states that like energy attracts like energy. What we think about, we bring about. What we focus on and hold in our consciousness is magnetically drawn toward us, bit by bit, as the universe brings experience into being.
When we write in a gratitude journal, we are affirming the positive experiences in our lives. We’re celebrating the best that surrounds us, and when we focus on what we’re thankful for, we create more opportunities in the future to be thankful.
3. Gratitude Journals Create Self-Awareness
By focusing on the good things in our lives, we become more attuned to noticing what’s around us. We begin to see the world through a different lens. Instead of focusing on what we want or don’t have, we learn to appreciate what already is.
This promotes self-awareness, empathy, and mindfulness. We are no longer trying to constantly escape the present moment into a projection of the future where we have more, because we already have more! By tuning into a more grateful mindset, we are celebrating the present, realizing we already have full, rich, whole lives, here and now.
4. Gratitude Journals Help Keep You Optimistic
Everyone has bad days. And on those bad days, we’re often inclined to reach out for something that we know will make us feel better. But comfort food, warm blankets, and binge-watching a half season of a TV show will only go so far to help stave off the blues.
Instead, try re-reading your gratitude journal. Pulling out your journal on days you’re down in the dumps can help remind you that even when things are tough, there are still things to be thankful for.
Yes, you may have had a terrible day at work, but you do have a job! A job that enables you to provide for yourself and your loved ones. Use your journal to help remind yourself of the good things life has to offer.
Tips for Maintaining a Successful Gratitude Journal
So, there’s no doubt that starting a gratitude journal practice can increase your optimism and well being. But how do you actually go about it?
We’ve got some great tips and tricks to help you maintain your journaling practice for a successful experience that will change your life.
1. Keep It Simple
Many are intimidated by the notion of starting a gratitude journal because they don’t know how to start or where to begin. But keeping up with your journal doesn’t need to be an overwhelming endeavor.
In fact, your entries don’t need to be very long. Even just scribbling down a few bullet points or creating a small list is great!
If each day you can commit to writing down three things you’re grateful for, this will be more than enough to initiate the powerful positive changes gratitude can bring into your life.
2. Make It a Habit
This is where people often run into trouble. Whenever you start something new, especially something you’re not accustomed to doing, it can be tough to stick with it.
But hey, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it!
The greatest hurdle in getting your gratitude journalling practice to stick is maintaining a consistent routine.
You’ll need to assess your schedule carefully before making a decision here. Don’t commit to writing in your journal every day if you don’t have the time or means to do so. Be realistic. How often will you be able to pick up your journal and write in it? Once a week? A few times a week?
Be fair and honest with yourself, and decide on a routine that will work best with your schedule. Then, do your best to stick to it!
3. Don’t Take Things Too Seriously
So, you’ve decided on a journalling schedule that will work for you, but then — you miss a day. And then another.
Before you know it, you haven’t picked up your journal in a week and every time you look at it, you feel a twinge of guilt.
Don’t beat yourself up over it! Remember, this is a gratitude journal practice. Not a guilt-trip journal practice!
If you miss a few days, a few weeks, a few months, it’s no big deal! Just pick up your journal when you can, and see what things you can come up with to be thankful for.
As you continue down this path, you’ll find you need the journal less and less as you begin to notice more opportunities in your daily life to be grateful. And after all, that’s what a gratitude journalling practice is all about!
4. Get Creative!
Want to keep things interesting? See how many specific things you can come up with that you’re thankful for to add to your journal.
This may require some outside the box thinking, but that’s good! A little creativity never hurt anyone.
If you find yourself repeating the same things again and again, try to hone in on the things in your life that are specific and unique to you. Big or small, name anything that you’re glad is a part of your life.
What Are You Thankful For?
The powerful practice of gratitude journalling has the potential to shift your entire life into more productive, fulfilled, optimistic realms of being.
Have you ever kept a gratitude journal before? If not, would you like to try it? Tell us which strategies you think would work best in maintaining a successful journaling practice. Let us know what you’re thankful for. We want to hear from you!