What is the Gratitude Journal?
A gratitude journal is nothing but a diary in which you can note down the things you are grateful for.
An individual maintains this journal so that he/she can focus their attention more on positive things happening in their lives.
Gratitude is one such feeling of appreciation, gratefulness, and thankfulness. Studies have shown that one who maintains a gratitude journal possesses more happiness which leads to a positive impact on mental and physical health.
Historical findings of Gratitude Journal
One of the research which was conducted by Emmons & McCullough on the gratitude journals. They found that “counting one’s blessings” in that gratitude journal led to the improvement in the psychological and physical functioning of the human body and mind.
In this study, participants were asked to record in the journal on a weekly basis. They were asked to note down 5 things they were grateful for each day.
The result of this study was that the one who kept the weekly journal had shown a more optimistic approach towards life as a whole. They were also able to help others more efficiently and make good progress in their personal goals as well.
It was seen that people with the gratitude journal had benefited themselves physically and psychologically.
Steps on How to Start Writing a Gratitude Journal
If I ask you what are the things you are grateful for at present? Would you be able to recall all the moments you were grateful for? No, because there are so many thoughts running into our minds.
But have you thought how writing a Gratitude Journal will help you to be more grateful towards life? So let’s explore some ways of keeping a journal that will lead you to a positive and happy life.
Your journal can definitely be different from my journal. And that’s how it is every individual will have something else to write. Someone may record its regular day and some may focus on the things they would be grateful for, whether small or big.
#1. Select A Journal
One of the best ways to start this is, selecting or choosing your journal. Now, what does that actually mean? You have to think about whether you want a physical journal or you wish to capture your thoughts digitally.
Now whether you would be carrying it with you or just keep it in one place. So just think about it because this is a habit you are developing so you have to be consistent in that.
You need to also consider the factor of whether you will be using it on daily planning or just as a gratitude journal. So you can plan for a traditional diary or journal which are handy or just a small notepad that can fit anywhere.
#2. Understand the Benefits of Gratitude Journal
You should first understand why you are doing this? There must be a purpose like I know you want to develop a habit but why you want to develop it is the question.
For eg – You know brushing twice daily keeps your teeth healthy, though it is not a fun activity still we do it because we know the reason.
In the same way, you have to find and understand the advantage of the Gratitude Journal. Now if you see the benefits of this journal recording. It helps you in reducing your stress levels, you become calmer, and you get clarity at a high level.
This is in fact one of the best methods to do self-assessment. You would learn more about yourself on this journey.
#3. Fix a time to write
You might face some challenges when you start to write a gratitude journal first. As this would one more task that will be added. At times, you might want to stop this, but you have to understand here that it is a habit you want to develop and consistency is a key.
So at first try to club writing a journal with your daily activity like while having a morning coffee or after dinner or after reading a book. You can write it weekly once also, that’s fine.
I can assure you that once you start writing it you will feel the positive difference in your life and you’ll notice the benefits as well.
#4. Begin with Gratitude Occasion
Now you are new to journaling, and you are wondering where should I start? You just keep staring at the blank pages. You might feel why am I doing this? Hold On.
You can start with some prompts like –
- You can write about an event where you were grateful for someone
- How you can say someone “Thank You” without actually saying it
- See your surrounding internal and external and think why you are grateful for this
- Observe the small things happening around you
- Be thank you to yourself because that’s important
- Write the name of 3-4 people who helped in your tough situation
- And many more…..
Once you start writing you would get more prompts and you would just get into the flow of writing.
#5. Look into Yourself Consistently
As we saw in Point #2 that why it is important to understand the benefit of the Gratitude Journal. In the same way, it is essential to understand we need to observe yourself. Just check the difference you feel after one week? one month? one year?
You might want to revisit some things you might have not got a chance to do it. You can consider connecting with your friend you had lost contact with or send a small thank you note to your parents telling them how grateful you are to them.
You will only feel the difference when you develop a habit of writing a gratitude journal.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”— Oprah Winfrey
A Closing Note
Well, if you see you might feel that these steps seem to be easy and simple. And it is possible for you to start with it. It is indeed a good feeling, but the important part here is your dedication and consistency.
At times you might want to give up on gratitude journaling. Just remember do not get discouraged, a new habit takes 21 days to develop.
So don’t think of anything, start your gratitude journaling and explore yourself.