What Is A Gratitude Journal For?
I’ve heard a lot about it, but what is a gratitude journal for anyway? What’s all the fuss about and should you start one? There is a trend with the world currently that explores how using gratitude can enhance one’s life. This idea is being used in many areas of the self-help realm and psychology fields and is part of the aptly named Positive Psychology as a result. If you are unsure what to do, how to do it or even why you should do it, read on.
Don’t Put It On Hold!
If you have already started a gratitude journal, consider this your reminder to continue it. Getting too caught up in your carer role contributes a lot to putting it on hold. Don’t! Start it up again and make sure you devote a few minutes a day to this one simple and life changing action. Your mind, body and soul will thank you for it. If you are here reading this article because you are a carer, it is even more important for you to start finding things to be grateful for, because it is a hard job and it is difficult sometimes to see a bright side to life. I know because that’s where I find myself a lot of the time and I’m trying very hard to change this.
What Is Gratitude?
You’ve probably heard of the saying “count your blessings”. Well that’s really the crux of it. It is the act of taking note of the blessings in your life.
They can be tiny little blessings, such as you had time for a coffee today, or the sun was out on a rainy day for just long enough to dry your washing.
Or at the larger end of the scale, such as being offered the promotion of a lifetime, or winning the lottery, building your dream home, etc.
A Simple Gesture Warrants Your Gratitude
It may be a simple gesture from someone, such as the little old lady you met at the store gave you some small piece of advice that will make your life so much easier and you are thankful for it.
The action you take is to acknowledge these things, in other words the ‘taking note’ part, by writing them down in a gratitude journal.
What Is The Definition Of Gratitude?
The general meaning of gratitude is; The quality of being thankful, readiness to show appreciation and to return kindness. Synonyms, or should I say words that have a similar meaning to gratitude, are words like recognition, acknowledgement, due credit and gratefulness.
Gratitude Is Important For Mental Health
Gratitude is considered to be a most important emotion for keeping good mental health and spirituality. To know gratitude, look for the good things in life. Find the positives, search for pleasant news, appreciate the weather, there are good experiences in cold winter days just as there are in nice sunny days.
Turn Things Around
It’s a matter of turning a negative experience into something to be grateful for, see the blessing in, or learn from. It’s about acknowledging the good times, being thankful of everything, everyone, regardless of negative experiences, because they too can lead to better things, even if you can’t see it yet.
Why Should You Practice Gratitude?
Yes, absolutely! Gratitude goes hand in hand with acceptance. It can help you learn to accept things, life changes, things going wrong, with a little more coping ability. With the emotion of gratitude having reprogrammed your brain after a while into a happier state of mind, these setbacks can be seen as positive learning opportunities, rather than negative events that hold you back from moving forwards and into a better life. You see problems in a much better light if you have been living a life of gratitude and that is why it is so important to use it to your advantage.
Some Benefits Of Using A Gratitude Journal
Feelings of well being
- Reduced depression
- Can lead to Pro-social actions such as the Pay It Forward concept
- Increased happiness, with long term potential
- Improves relationships
- Improves health by assisting stress, sleep and blood pressure.
- Benefits career-wise include more focus, better decision making, and productivity.
- Releases stress, fosters positive emotions
- Ability to look on the bright side is possible
- Become more likeable, respected if you show gratitude
- Draws people to you, magnetic
- Reduced negative emotions such as anger, greed, jealousy, hate
- Produces an attitude adjustment
- Improves daily experiences
- Become unstuck from a rut
- Help you through grief or loss
- Shows us what we have, rather than focus on what we don’t have
- Just to name a few…..
It Is Proven That Gratitude Can Spill Over Into Longer Term Happiness!
Science has shown that expressing gratitude has the ability to change your brain. Apparently just one hour of doing this can cause any neurological processes that develop in relation to it, to be long lasting. The more you practice giving gratitude, the more likely your brain will adapt to this way of thinking and be able to arrive at a state of being thankful more quickly, frequently and remain at that level for longer.
Ways To Practice A Gratitude Journal
When should you start and work on a gratitude journal? Right now! It’s easy. How should you start? Decide what medium you will use to write with. It really is a personal choice. Think about how you would like to write things down, what aids you might need and then what would suit you best in what you write and how brief or long and in depth you wish to be. Some people write large amounts while others just use point form.
- You might prefer to invest in a nice journal or diary and some coloured pens so that you can add some aesthetic touches to your work.
- You can use an app on your smart phone
- You could simply open a word document on your PC and write the date and make a list of the things you are grateful for today in point form
- Perhaps if you are out and about use the app, and if you are at home, use your PC, so that you are never without the opportunity to show your gratefulness
- What about presenting your list as pictures, or even photographs? If you want to get a bit more creative, you may like to do this, but really, there is no need and I would advise against this in the event that you find it difficult to write, or have a very busy schedule. This is more for those people who are creative and like to add their own flair to things. The quicker this is, the more chance you will stick to it and will ultimately gain the most benefits from it.
What To Write!
To make it so it is a simple and fast exercise, which is the idea so that you can do it quickly and not find excuses not to do it, here’s an example of what my own journal looks like today.
Write “I am grateful today”….and then do a point form list of 5-10 things such as the following
- That I am holding my new granddaughter, Lilith, in my arms right now and feeling blessed to have her arrive into this world safe and sound and just perfect, even though she did surprise us and came early
- That I have a heater and electricity to ward off the cold on this chilly day
- For being able to have a break from the rushing around since little Lilith was born less than a week ago to sit for a while and write some of this blog while she’s sleeping soundly
- That I have a laptop instead of a full computer system and can be a bit mobile today with my precious granddaughter on my lap
- For plumbers and the service they provide (my hot water system burst and without the plumber we would have had no hot water for when my daughter went into labour)
- For hot running water from a tap
- You get the picture…
If I wanted to be quicker still, I might write the points even more briefly, such as
Today I am grateful for:
- The safe arrival of my granddaughter and my cuddles
- Heaters and electricity
- A break from rushing around
- My laptop
- Hot water
I mainly like to write mine with a bit more description so that if I read over it I can use it to feel better on down days, or look back on the year or month or week and see that I really am blessed in many ways, not just a few. It is always a good idea to read over your journal from time to time to remind yourself of all the many things there are to be grateful for in your own individual life. For me, if I have been a bit more descriptive in how I write it, I can use it to perhaps write a blog about it, or write a book, that I am planning, or as an entry into a proper diary or for scrapbooking. What might you use it for?
What Does It Do For You?
By now I hope that you can truly understand just what is a gratitude journal for, and how you can use it to improve your happiness and in turn your life? By expressing appreciation for life, for what you have, what you see, what you feel, what you know, your health, the people around you, pretty much anything that you feel grateful for, is said to be the main contributor to building happiness. You show or feel gratitude when you have received, or will be receiving a benefit to yourself of some kind.
Being Grateful Builds Richer Lives
The idea being, that if you are grateful, you will become happy, leading to a much richer and rewarding life experience, and in turn will bring on abundance as a natural process. There are many ways in which to become happy, or bring about happiness quickly, but it appears that for a long lasting effect, you can’t go much wrong with choosing to keep a gratitude journal. Happiness is a choice, but being grateful can help you choose happiness much more easily than if you feel you have nothing to be happy for in your life.
Thank you for reading and I’d like to express my gratitude to you for visiting my website today and I hope that it helps you with some of your own issues in some small way. I am happy when I am writing, and it makes me really happy to be writing about gratitude today.
P.S. If you want to download an app to help you keep your gratitude journal simple, see below for an example