With Thanksgiving, Christmas and the end of the year coming, we tend to reflect on our life. We like to look back at the year and see if we accomplished any of our goals/resolutions we set at the beginning of the year. We are grateful that we survived another year and like to look at our lives and the things we are most thankful for.
We found an article that encourages you to keep a more powerful gratitude journal. In the article, it shares a story about a previous therapist who is struggling to find happiness in her life. She then realizes she needs change and decides to start writing a gratitude journal each day which consists of just three simple things that she is grateful for. As she starts to write these, she starts realizing that little things that truly make her happy. She uses the quote, "There is joy everywhere but that can be overshadowed by pain if you allow it."
This can be a good New Years resolution that you can start or you can start right away! It is never to late to look back on things that you are grateful for and if you are having a rough day, you will be reminded of all the things in like you are grateful for.
Below are 11 tips to help with Powerful Gratitude Journals:
1. Don’t just go through motions. Make a decision to be consciously more grateful. Don’t reluctantly journal because you think you should. Feel what you write. Believe it.
2. Don’t set yourself a minimum number of things to write per day. This is a toughie. Many sites will recommend five or so things per day. In my experience, there are days I have less, and that’s perfectly okay. On balance there are days I can fill a page. Don’t put yourself under pressure to stick to the same amount each day. Be flexible and don’t take the joy away by being too regimented.
3. Don’t wait for the right time. I try to integrate this into my bedtime routine, but if I have a joyful experience, I often write it down straight away. This reinforces the positivity felt and ensures I don’t forget anything.
4. Elaborating on why you are grateful allows you to really explore your feelings. If, like me, you intend on flicking back through your journal, make it clear why you are grateful for the items you add. For example: For the first entry, I put “my children.” On day two, I wrote, “my children for putting on a sock puppet show after school and making me laugh.” That triggers so many memories each time I read it and always makes me smile.
5. Focus on people rather than things. As much as I love my iPod, it can never give me the same warm, fuzzy, loved feeling my partner instills by making me a surprise breakfast in bed.
6. Don’t rush; savor every word. Don’t see this as another chore to get through. The fact that you can make a list of things that make you feel grateful should make you feel, umm, well, grateful!
7. Include surprises. Unexpected events often elicit a greater emotional response. They’re also wonderful to look back on when you feel that life is mundane and the same old routine all the time.
8. Keep the negative out. If you want to keep a diary to record how you feel, this can be constructive, but leave your gratitude journal as a purely positive only exercise.
9. Mix it up. Don’t put same thing every day. Expand your awareness. The more you do this, the more you’ll start to really appreciate what a gift life is. The world is beautiful. Learn to really experience it.
10. Be creative. Who says a gratitude journal has to be full of lists? Mine contains everything from concert tickets, to photos and restaurant receipts. Have some fun with it.
11. Give it a fair chance. It takes, on average, 21 days for a new habit to form. Don’t give up or dismiss it as not working before then. Commit to just three weeks and then see how you feel. What have you got to lose?
The full article can be seen by visiting Turning Pain to Joy.