In a previous post, I mentioned how starting a gratitude journal is a great way to practice mindfulness. There are many benefits of gratitude, and when we physically practice gratitude as we would in a gratitude journal, those benefits are amplified. It’s an exercise in which we specifically focus on the parts of our life for which we are grateful and by doing so we increase awareness of just how plentiful our lives really are. When we start focusing just how much good there is in our lives, the things that we lack start to lose their importance and urgency. So if this 2019 you’ve decided that starting a gratitude journal is something you’d like to try, then we’ve got some tips for you on what to do and how to get started!
Choose a journal
There’s so much more to consider here than you’d think! It’s not just about going down to local department store and just picking up any random notebook–although it could very well be!
Some things to consider while you’re deciding what to use as a gratitude journal are: Will you just write in it at home or will you take it with you places? If it’s the latter, then the size and sturdiness of the journal become a bigger deciding factor. Or perhaps you’ve decided to keep it digital and open a blog as your gratitude journal. You could even do it on your Instagram (or open a separate account) where you could post pictures to go along with your thoughts of gratitude.
When it comes to deciding your medium for transferring your thoughts of gratitude into the physical world, then the world is literally your oyster. So take your time and find something that’s comfortable and tailored to your taste. You’ll be spending a lot of time with this journal so might as well get something you’re going to enjoy working with, even something that makes you happy just by looking at it.
Make it a daily habit
The point of this exercise is to make a daily habit of finding the good in every day. So it’s important to really give it your best shot and come to it every day. Naturally, it’s unrealistic to think you’ll make an entry every single day. Life happens and we have things to do and we get tired and that’s all perfectly understandable. But try your best to set a little time aside to write every day about what you were grateful for that day. Especially on days when it feels like there’s nothing to be grateful for because that’s when we need it the most.
Decide on your style
Once again, this journal is yours to do with as you please. You can take the old traditional route and write long essay-style entries. Or you can make lists. Or, if you lean on the artistic side, you can bring out your markers, colored pencils, and paints and do something a little more colorful. Stick pictures in your gratitude journal. Make drawings of what you’re grateful for. This should be a fun project, so don’t put a whole bunch of restrictions on yourself. Be as free as you want to be to express your gratitude. The more of yourself and your style you add to your gratitude journal, the more you’ll enjoy the process and the more you’ll keep coming back for more!
Gratitude Journal Prompts
Not sure where to start? Not to worry! All you need to do is a simple search for “gratitude journal prompts” on your favorite search engine and you’ll find millions of ideas. (Pinterest is a good place to start!) Here are a few of my favorite ones I’ve found:
Reflect on previous entries
After you’ve had your gratitude journal for a while–be it six months or even a year; it’s completely up to you–go ahead and return to your very first entries. You’ll be proud of how far you’ve come and realized just how much there really is to be grateful for in your life. The big things, the small things, the things no one else might notice or find insignificant. These are the things and the moments that fill up your life–your reality. When you see with your own eyes how much it’s overflowing with good and positive things, you’ll find a completely fresh and new appreciation for your life. You’ll realize whatever you thought your life was lacking before now seems small compared to how bountiful it is in other areas.
I sincerely hope that you give this exercise a try. There’s nothing like a little daily gratitude to turn an off day into a good one. If you do, let me know in the comments. Feel free to share your experience with keeping a gratitude journal!