What is Gratitude Journaling
What Is Gratitude Journaling and How To Start Using One
Gratitude, what exactly is it? Many definition books and websites simply state it as a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation. However, even if you aren't too familiar with the concept, you know that it's much more than that. Gratitude can be a feeling, as well. It's that deep warm feeling you sense when someone tells you that they love you or even as small as when they warn you about that piece of toilet paper stuck to your shoe right before you walk into a meeting. However, if issues have been plaguing your life for a while, it can be difficult to truly get a sense of what gratitude really is and how to apply it to your life. Therefore, the following list includes a few ways to begin a gratitude journal and how to stick with it.
Why You need a Gratitude Journal
There's no doubt about it; gratitude leads to happiness. However, when bad events after bad events keep occurring in your life, it can be hard to be grateful for what you have. It's easy to have your mind move from happiness to that darker side of the spectrum. Journaling allows you to not only participate actively in the process of finding what you are grateful for but also to remind you about it each time you open it.
Phase 1: Choosing Your Journal
Let's begin with the fun part of gratitude journaling, the search. Searching for the right journal is something that you shouldn't do quickly. Take the time to look at all the journals at the store and see which one is the most visually pleasing to you. If you're a minimalist, then one shaded color journals might be your thing, nothing fancy, just plain one paper. However, if you need more than that to get your gears genuinely working, then don't hesitate to go all out. If you're a cat lover, then choose a journal that has pictures of cats, something small like that can truly brighten up your day each time you open it.
Phase 2: Get Into The Habit
Before you even write your name on that writing journal, decide as to when and how long you're going to be gratitude journaling. The reality is that our brains like consistency. Consistency then leads to action, which leads to habit, and that's precisely what we want from this in the beginning. So, what can you do to start getting into the habit of journaling? You should start by making a ritual of gratitude journaling. Go ahead, put on your favorite music, light your favorite candles, or you may even take a relaxing shower or bath. Whatever relaxing activity you choose to do before journaling, make it a point to repeat it as much as possible.
Phase 3: Pour In The Gratitude
One of the more difficult parts of starting a writing journal is figuring out the formatting. You should keep in mind that this is not a school or work project. No one is going to look it over for grammar mistakes or lack of proper formatting. The way you choose to pour your gratitude onto the pages is your choice. Some choose to make a list of all the good things in their lives, while others will add images, drawings, and even doodles. In the end, because this journal is going to be so personal, so should the way you choose to write in it.
What Can You be Grateful For?
Phase 4: It's All in The Details
Once again, this is not a race nor something you should compete a certain amount each day. Therefore, it is highly recommended for inpiduals to take their time with each and every detail of their journaling. If you're writing about someone you care about, then you should take the time to be one with your writings. Think about all the good they have brought into your life, as well as the good you've given them as well. This gratitude can be how they gave you a heartfelt birthday card or how they are always there when you want to spend some time outdoors. When you take the time to look at the details, you begin to form the habit of showing gratitude for the smallest of things.
Phase 5: Summarize Your Week
Although you should make it a point to journal every day, you don't have to summarize your work after you've finished with it. Instead, take a moment at the end of your week to stop and look at all you wrote during the past couple of days. This activity can not only serve as a way to see your progress but to remind yourself of all the beautiful things that you're grateful for in your life. Stop and reflect on them; you may even add side notes to show where you've been and where your state of mind is at now.
Bonus Tip: Have a Gratitude Writing Space At Home
I found a great article, Having a Meditation and Yoga Space at Home, that speaks to meditation and yoga, but translates well to gratitude journaling. Especially the section on Making The Perfect Room. I suggest you read it and use the tips for creating a gratitude journaling or other writing space.
Keep It Going
It can be easy to think that writing for an entire month is enough to turn things around and that you can simply toss your journal out now. Although that is possible in some cases, you should still keep with the habit as long as possible to ensure that turnaround. You can keep journaling without it becoming a burden. Write at least once a week to keep yourself assured that you're going in the right direction. You may even begin to reward yourself for keeping with the habit. This reward can be allowing yourself to watch a few episodes of your favorite show or purchase that great smelling bath bomb to enjoy during your journaling.
It can be easy to dig yourself into a hole of despair. It's understandable; life is difficult at some points. However, that should never be an excuse to toss out all the great things in our lives. Therefore, it is incredibly important to utilize the information above and begin creating your gratitude journal.
Now It’s Your Turn
Grab your writing journal (see our journals at The Amazing Office) and start your Gratitude Journal!
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