Keeping a gratitude journal for some people can become a ‘should do’ rather than ‘I want to’. Which is a shame, because they can bring so much pleasure.
So here are four tips for starting and nurturing your relationship with your gratitude journal.
- Grab your favourite notebook and ask yourself how could you fall in love even more deeply with your gratitude journalling? Could it be with a cup of fresh mint tea or snuggled with your favourite blanket/furry friend/comfy chair? Perhaps it’s writing with a smooth ink pen in your favourite journal? What are the things you love about gratitude journaling? What do you want to change about it? If you don’t like the rules, you can change them. Feeling constrained by writing every day? Try writing weekly. Not finding time to write or forgetting in your busy life, even though you want to? Tie it to an existing habit, such as cleansing your face before bed.
- Connect with emotion rather than things or tasks. Was there anything that brought you insane, ridiculous joy? A loon of a puppy chasing a ball you saw in the park? A sunset that was so awesome, you had to stop and watch it bring the day to a close like a conductor at the end of a powerful symphony? Or the dance moves of a loved one listening to music when they thought no-one was looking. But you saw and your heart sang.
- If you’re struggling to start, have a look at past entries. A journal entry can provide a kind of snapshot like a photo that helps you remember good times that you might not recall without a prompt. Think of all those Facebook ‘On This Day’ memories of forgotten moments and how you feel when they pop up years later. Looking back at happy moments in your journal can have a similar effect of making you smile, even before you write today’s entry.
- Be personal in your gratitude. Life might be throwing you circumstances that someone else might describe negatively, but what are your thoughts? Single? Are you loving pleasing yourself most of the time and stealing all the pillows for yourself? Where someone else might bemoan noise from a neighbour’s building work, perhaps you found joy in your noise-cancelling headphones and an Adele sing-along. You may see a pop of beautiful colour in a wall of graffiti that others judge ugly. Where someone might watch a pushy child shoving past you in the street and shake their head at their rudeness, you see a tiny human, unafraid and bursting with their own power.
You are powerful too. You can transform life’s circumstances with your thoughts. If there is only one reason to use your gratitude journal, it is the regular opportunity for you to pull out the shiny nuggets of the day and give them a shine. Then pop them into your journal, your treasure box of chosen moments that you keep safe - a pension pot of pleasure that you can enjoy in your own lifetime. And the taxman can’t touch it.
Here are 10 journal prompts to get you started:
Let us know how you get on social media!