One of my New Year’s resolutions is to keep a gratitude journal. It’s a great way to remind myself of how fortunate I am even when I want to throw myself a pity party. I also love the idea of recording it in writing so that I can go back and read past entries. Here are 6 tips to starting and keeping a gratitude journal.
1) Spend time shopping for a journal that you love. Find one that you will look forward to and enjoy writing in daily. Look for something that focuses on something you love. I LOVE fashion so I got myself a fashion journal with historic dresses on every page. I know that I will be eager to check out the dresses and learn about each one daily. It’s just an extra incentive to get into my journal daily.
2) Place your journal in a spot where it’ll be convenient for you to see and write in daily. Don’t make it a chore to find. If you know you spend an hour on the train staring at the person opposite you every morning, maybe keep the journal in your pocketbook and add entries during your train ride. Make it easy for you to spot and do.
3) Either get a journal with a pocket for a pen or keep one in there daily. I have procrastinated many a writing task because I couldn’t find a pen. And while you’re at it, treat yourself to a pen you like so you’ll enjoy writing just that much more. Are you really into colored pens? Stash a few within easy reach of your journal and have fun picking the color depending on your mood.
4) Find a time of day that is peaceful to you. Many people suggest writing in your gratitude journal in the morning before the kids get up. Be real with yourself. If you jump out of bed with barely enough time to brush your teeth, maybe mornings aren’t your thing. Maybe you find peaceful moments during lunch at work. Or maybe it’s after the kids are in bed. Find a way to work it into your existing schedule naturally. That way, you’re less likely to push it aside for seemingly more important daily tasks.
5) Try breathing exercises right before writing. Take a moment to be mindful and breathe for a bit. Let yourself relax for a moment before you delve into writing. Try to let your mind rest. Take about 5 deep breaths in through your nose and let them out slowly through your mouth. Encourage yourself to think only about the air entering your nose and exiting your mouth. Give yourself a mental break.
6) Journal away! You’re probably always grateful for life, kids, health, etc. Try to delve deeper and think about your day (or the day before) and think about the things that made that day a bit easier. Did you hit all green lights on the way to work? Did you get extra fries with your lunch? Your gratitude journal doesn’t have to be filled with grand items. It’s the little daily things that sometimes make all the difference.
With these tips, you’re well on your way to a full gratitude journal. Studies have shown that being more mindful about gratitude in the smaller things makes stresses in the bigger things more bearable. Life can easily get the better of us. Taking the time to stop and express gratitude can be key to remaining humble and even sane.