“In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Lately I’ve found myself in a rut. I’ve realized that I am increasingly more negative, and I caught myself starting to slip into a depressive cycle. I had to find a way to correct it and quick! I mentioned this to one of my closest friends and she suggested I get back to keeping a Gratitude Journal.
Each night before bed, I took a minute or two to jot down a few things I was thankful for that day. My husband helping with the dishes. A coworker giving positive feedback. My dog not being annoying when I got home from work. It started as small things, but I noticed almost immediately my attitude would shift for the evening.
Before long, I caught myself looking for things throughout the day! Rather than just finding things to complain about, I would catch myself starting to gripe and replacing it with “but, I am thankful because…”
But how do I start?
Just grab a notebook, a pen and start writing. BUT! If you’re like me and need to be more organized than that? I’ve provided a FREE journal page for you to use throughout the week!
Once you have your pen and paper? I have 7 tips that have really helped me as I stare at that blank page!
- Set aside daily time for your journaling! I started with evenings, just after I put my daughter to bed. But now I do my primary journaling in the morning to kick off my day! I summarize the day before, fill in my gratitude and then jumpstart my planning for the current day.
- Pray about it. This is especially important on days when my attitude sucks. I start my journaling session with a quick prayer. On good days, it’s praise and thankfulness. On bad days? It’s pleading for help with an attitude adjustment. But either way? It helps me to get my mindset right and know that I need to focus on the blessings.
- Focus on what makes you happy and what you’d like more of in your life! If you’re miserable at work, and just starting out? Don’t focus too much on your work life. Instead, think about something that you naturally get joy from! When work is rough, my entries tend to be more about my family. When my husband is driving me insane, my coworkers get the gratitude! (Although sometimes, I really challenge myself and only find good things in those annoyances.)
- EVERYTHING is fair game! Somedays? The only thing I can find to smile about is that the sun did indeed come out. (And even then? Maybe it didn’t, and I’m thankful for the rain that I know will eventually mean a nice green lawn that I can walk barefoot in!
- Set a timer. There are days when I just don’t want to do it. I don’t. But I know it’s an important part of my self-care. So I do. On those days? I set a 5 minute timer. I can stare at that blank page for a full five minutes. But once it goes off? I need to write SOMETHING. Then I can be done.
- Use a pen you love. I know this sounds silly. But there are MULTIPLE days where I’m thankful for “good pens”. I’m serious. Somedays, that’s my joy. And even when it’s not? There’s just something about writing with a good pen!
- Be aware. As you’re writing in your gratitude journal? Take time to be aware of all of the senses and the depth of your gratitude. Really absorb these feelings of joy and awe. This will help you take your gratitude practice into the rest of your life.
I sincerely hope that you take these tips and institute gratitude journaling into your daily life! I hope that it will help you as it has me – to find more peace, to be happier in the small moments, and to not focus so much on the daily frustrations of life!