Hey folks! Hope your 2017 is starting out with a bang! However, if it is not, don’t worry, January sometimes disappoints because we tend to set crazy impossible goals we want to achieve at the start of the year, wishing things would miraculously switch for the better. If you are feeling stressed out or overwhelmed, hang in there, look at the bright side, and continue working towards your new year’s resolution. I am sure you will do great.
In 2017, I have made a commitment to focus on the bright side of things by starting a daily gratitude journal. Basically, I incorporated a daily routine to jot down all the things that I am grateful for or what makes me happy.
So far, I find it very soothing and comforting. One month through this journey (and I sure hope I can continue it all through 2017, or even in the years to come), I have become an advocate, and that is why I am sharing this journey with you. Read on to know why keeping a Gratitude Journal changed my life and how it can change yours too.
1. It makes you consciously see the good in every day.
When our day goes extraordinarily well, we automatically feel happy and grateful. However, not every day is going to be all rainbows and sunshine. There are days when it’s not necessarily bad, but you feel it to be mundane and uninspiring. When you keep a gratitude journal, at the end of the day, you are forced to dig deep and think about the things that you should be grateful for. For example, after a long, bad day when everything seems to go wrong, I have written in my gratitude journal things that I don’t usually notice, like the fact I am thankful for the comfortable bed and blanket that I get to sleep in.
Hence, with a gratitude journal that you consistently update helps you to look out for the good things you have around you. Even if you usually take them for granted.
2. It is a great form of self –reflection.
We do not usually sit down and reflect on our day, especially when the hustle and bustle of our daily grind. Or perhaps we feel too tired at the end of the day to sit and think about how our day went. Ever since starting a gratitude journal, it has made me commit to at least 3-5 minutes a day to reflect on the good things happening for me. When you take some time to reflect back on each day, especially the good stuff, you can evaluate yourself and focus on the good and work towards becoming even better.
When you take some time to reflect back on each day, especially the good stuff, you can evaluate yourself and focus on the good and work towards becoming even better. Besides, when you take the effort to do a positive reflection on your day, you are also learning to appreciate the little things.
3. It radiates positivity.
It is very easy to be drowned and sucked into the negativity that surrounds us. After all, our human mind is more sensitive to negative feelings than positive ones. That is just the way our brains work for survival. So what can we do about it? We need to consciously put in the effort to focus on the positives.
With a gratitude journal, you do not write down the things that upset you, the things you could have done better, or the bad things that happened to you.
Some may say that this is avoiding bad thoughts and lying to ourselves about the reality. This is not what that is. Rather, it is a choice to focus on the things that you are thankful for. We are zooming into the little happiness of our lives. This puts you in a better mood and helps you see the good in your life. It makes you a happier person, knowing you have so much to be grateful for each day.
4. In the long run, you will be a happier person.
Gratitude is not a common trait among us millennials anymore. Social media has taught us that someone else’s life always seems better than ours, that we are not living the ideal life. Its the typical “grass is greener on the other side” concept.
But once you start a gratitude journal and commit to writing down everything that you are grateful for, it makes you appreciate little things more. It makes you grateful for the people around you and the life you have at this moment. It is realising that you have some great things going on at the moment. It sets your mind to focus on the good things and the positive feelings. This will make you a much grateful and happier person.
Now it’s your turn to start you very own gratitude journal.
In case you are curious or lost, here is how I personally make use of my gratitude journal. You can make tweaks and changes to whatever fits you best.
Disclaimer: I am not a professional in gratitude journaling, but I am just sharing what I have been doing and what works for me.
Things I write about:
My gratitude journal is pretty free, as it is a journal after all, but I focus on these three questions as I write:
What have I accomplished today?
What am I grateful for?
What have I learned today?
Just that simple. Sometimes I add in certain emotions and feelings I feel about happenings, but it revolves around these questions. Do not hesitate to put in every single little thing that you are grateful for, and just enjoy the process of recalling the good that happened that day.
When do I write:
As much as it is best if you update your gratitude journal every night before you sleep, I often feel too tired to do so. I prefer writing down the things I am grateful for, the first thing in the next morning. This helps me start the day on a positive note, and also helps to wake up my mind and prepare myself to get to work.
During weekends, when my time is not so routine and planned, I sometimes combine the things I want to write about from Saturday and Sunday and write it down on Monday morning. This also helps me start of the week in a positive note.
Where do I write:
As much as I am one who loves my pen and paper, when I first started my gratitude journal, I decided to type it out on my computer. This is because when I on my laptop, the first thing I automatically dive into is my gratitude journal, and that is how I kickstart my day. I use Google Keep if anyone would like an easy platform to jot down notes.
Wherever you write does not matter. What matters is your commitment to keep writing.
Last note to end this post:
Keeping a gratitude journal has been one of the best decisions I made at the end of 2016. If you want to choose to focus on the good in your life, definitely give this a try.
Do not feel discouraged if you find it hard to commit to writing every day. This is a journal that is supposed to make you feel better, not more stressed out. It’s okay if you miss some days. It’s okay if you find it hard to find things to be grateful. Slowly take your time and dig deep, you will soon get used to it. I hope you become a much more positive person through this journey.
If you have any other ideas on gratitude journaling, please do leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comment sections and we can learn from each other.