There are many benefits of gratitude journaling. Writing down everything that you are thankful for on a regular basis helps to mould your perceptions to a healthier, and better standard. This exercise also builds the habit of seeing the good things in life which are abundant, but often unnoticed.
Gratitude is so important as it's directly associated with your overall sense of happiness and well-being. The more gratitude that you feel, the more you will experience desirable emotions and positive outlooks about life and oneself.
Gratitude can be difficult to experience for some people, especially if they are not accustomed to it. It’s easy to get stuck in a victim mentality where life itself seems to be against you, because you find yourself cherry-picking all of the tiny negatives in life.
This is where the practice of writing down everything that you are thankful for helps you realize how much you can be thankful for, all the time.
By gratitude journaling, you’re going to flip this perspective and train your mind to cherry-pick the small everyday positives instead. This can have a great effect on you as it promotes positive life enhancing qualities, and does wonders for your overall sense of happiness and satisfaction in life.
There is always something that you can be grateful for. From the sun warming your skin and the fresh air circulating through your lungs, to the painful experiences that we all encounter which give us powerful life lessons.
Gratitude journaling helps you to reinforce a more positive outlook, which seeps into all aspects of your life. By strengthening this mental muscle, you will appreciate the everyday occurrences more, and see the light in all situations; because there is always something good to come out of even the hardest experience.
The more aware you become of the positive occurrences happening all around you at every moment, the better you will feel about your life situation. You will realize that things aren't so bad, and that there's always something to be thankful for.
This is why you should start gratitude journaling today, for a more positive tomorrow.
What are some benefits of gratitude journaling?
Gratitude journaling makes you more positive by keeping you focused on the good things in life.
It changes your perceptions and mentalities to better standards, as gratitude journaling trains your mind to realize how much you have to be grateful for.
Keeping a journal of what you’re thankful for helps you to become a genuinely more optimistic person. By doing this, you will start to see that even in the worst times, there is something good to come from them, or that any situation could be worse than it is.
Gratitude journaling helps to reduce stress.
It helps you get rid of those stubborn toxic emotions, by replacing them with positive emotions such as joy and acceptance.
It improves your self-esteem and your self-image.
Ultimately, it feels good to be grateful!
How to kick-start the habit of gratitude journaling
You should have a diary or notebook specifically for gratitude. If you don't have one, buy a journal and put it aside for this exercise. Here you can grab a unique Buddha vision journal, or an authentic Buddhist Lokta Paper Journal to get started!
Keep it in a convenient and easily accessible location with a pen handy. This practice only takes roughly five to ten minutes a day, and has potentially huge benefits on your state of well-being.
Recall and write down the positive events of every day
Aim to write a minimum of five entries a day, and try to expand on them. Instead of writing a word or two, write a couple of sentences explaining why you feel grateful for these things.
Don't fill pages with empty words, but make them as accurate as possible. Feel the sensations of gratitude as you write the entries down. Be authentic with what you feel, and feel the desirable emotions as you think about each entry.
Write down everything that you can feel happy about. Jot down what you believe you did well in, what you got lucky with, and that didn't go wrong.
Take note of acts of kindness and things that people did for you. Write them down and reflect on the experiences, which will help strengthen the sensations of gratitude.
It's better to write down daily occurrences rather than things that will always be there. It's important to be grateful for everything you have including freshwater, a warm bed, and food, but try to avoid writing these down as daily entries.
Your entries should be diverse and accurate. Make them unique, so the journal entries won't repeat themselves.
Build the habit of noticing the small victories of every day, and it will become a habitual practice. The more you begin to notice the positive occurrences of every day, the more positive you will feel.
How can I make the practice of gratitude journaling more effective?
- Make each point authentic. If you’re just writing things down for the sake of doing it, then you won’t get too much out of it. That’s why it’s important to be authentic, and to write down entries which you actually feel grateful for.
- Don’t be vague. You need to be precise about writing what you feel and why you feel it. If you write a few words like “it was a good day”, you are not pinpointing the emotion that you’re looking for. Why was it a good day? what exactly happened to make it a good day? When did you feel the sensation of gratitude? Make sure that you add the details and write a little more to really dig into the emotion of gratitude.
- Feel the emotions as you write them. The whole practice and point of gratitude journaling is to recall the emotions as you write them down. You’re trying to make a regular practice of feeling gratitude and training your mind to think in a different way, therefore, you need to be connected to what you write down. Think about what happened, and be present with the joyful sensation. If you’re grateful because something bad didn’t happen, sit with the feeling of relief as you write it down. If something good happened, or you got lucky with something, really think about it as you write it down. This will make the practice much more effective.
- Be consistent. As you’re trying to form a habit, you need to be consistent, and do it every day. Try spending at least 5 minutes a day writing a few entries until it becomes a habit. If you only write things down here and there without being consistent, it’s going to be much harder to build the habit.
- Constantly think about what makes you feel good. Be aware and keep your eyes open for moments to be grateful. You can use emotions like relief to extract gratitude. Likewise, use contrast to be grateful. If you were sick, appreciate how good it feels when you are good and healthy. If you had a bad day at work, use it to feel great when things go well. There is an endless amount of opportunities at any given moment to feel grateful. Keep a look out for them!
What are some gratitude journal examples?
Look for every opportunity to be grateful that you can, and learn to find gratitude out of any, and every situation. The more you train your mind to see the good in everything, the more you will feel it all throughout your day. Here are some examples of what you could write down.
- I'm thankful that I didn't run into much traffic today. I often get stuck in traffic on my way to work, and this makes me frustrated.
- Thank you to the person who held the door open for me today. It made me feel welcome.
- I am grateful that I felt sad and cried when reminiscing over my deceased friend. It allowed me to vent out what I was bottling up, and I felt much lighter afterwards.
- Thanks for the wonderful meal I shared with my partner today. It was absolutely delicious, and she/he cooked everything without accepting my help.
- I’m glad that I went through this painful experience today. It made me realise my own strength and capabilities, and now I have a great story to tell!
- I am grateful for a nice and easy work shift with no hassles or drama. It made my day go much smoother which is a good feeling.
- I’m grateful that I’m feeling much better today. The last few days were rough, but now I appreciate what it feels like to be healthy and able to do things.
- I’m grateful for the amazing sleep I had last night. Usually my sleep is very disrupted and I don’t feel refreshed when I wake up, but last night I slept like a log. A good night’s sleep completely changed my day!
- Thank you to my friends who invited me out. Even though I didn't go, it made me feel appreciated and cared for.
- I’m grateful that the train arrived right on time. I was already running late and stressed that I might not have made it to work on time if the train was delayed.
- Thanks for the awesome weather today! I walked home and it made such a pleasant time. I was worried that it might have rained.
- I am grateful that my t-shirt didn't get stained. I was worried about that when eating that messy meal.
- It was so amazing to meet that person at the café today. We made a great connection and had an interesting chat. That doesn’t happen often.
- I’m so happy that I didn’t fall down and hurt myself. I had a bad slip today but caught myself. That could have ended badly.
Now it’s your turn.
What are you grateful for?
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