Practicing gratitude is one way you can lead a happy and content life. By reflecting on what you’re grateful for, you focus on what’s good, instead of dwelling on things that upset you.
A gratitude journal is a book or file where you write down what you’re grateful for. Writing in your gratitude journal can help relieve stress, promote calmness and clarity of thought, and help you deal with depression and anxiety.
Everyone’s gratitude journal is different, and you’re free to create yours however you like. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Choose a journal
There are so many cool journals and books around, you can hunt out one that feels good to you. Your journal should reflect your personality and have the pages set out the way you prefer. You can choose lined pages, blank pages, or even specific gratitude journals with pages laid out for creating lists.
You may also like to use embellishments like coloured pens, stickers, stamps, or ribbon. Anything that makes you feel good is allowed. Alternatively, if you aren’t into paper, you could just open a new file on your computer to use, or even turn your social media account into your gratitude journal.
Set aside time for writing
Make your journal a daily practice by setting aside a block of time to jot down things you’re grateful for. First thing in the morning is a great time, because those good thoughts are in your head all day. Last thing before bed is good, too, as it gives you something pleasant to think about as you drift off to sleep.
Set a daily alarm, and make your journal a habit. You only need 10 minutes – enough time to pull out your book and jot down a short list or sketch. Keep your book in the place where you’ll be stopping, with a pen handy, so you have all your tools ready to go.
Use a prompt
At first, you may stare at the page and struggle to think of what to write. Use these prompts as a way to guide you. Change up your prompts until you settle into a routine that works for you. After a while you may find you don’t need a prompt, or that you use the same one every day.
Figure out what works for you
Your gratitude journal is personal, so you can use it however you like. There are no rules, so enjoy exploring your interests and personality between its pages. You don’t have to limit yourself to writing – draw pictures, add photographs or collages, dictate your gratitude journal to a friend.
Check in with yourself regularly during your journaling time and ask yourself, “how do I feel?” “Is this making me happy?” Notice when your happiness improves and when you grow more confident. Making note of these changes helps to strengthen them.
Have you tried writing a gratitude journal? What kinds of things do you like to include?