The title of this article may seem a bit dramatic, but to be honest I couldn’t describe my gratitude journal other than life changing. As a kid I was always writing. Writing was my life. Then life happened and although I kept writing, I noticed I was writing less. Like for most people, it is most likely the lack of time and life in general that prevented me from writing every day, but keeping a gratitude journal is life changing. I have been journaling for years now and the outset, although a difficult process, is life changing.
The idea started with me with Oprah Winfrey. She always speaks about the importance of gratitude. Two thoughts on this kept coming back to me.
When you are grateful you have it all. And there is always something in a day to be grateful for.
I think those two phrases cover it all. Gratitude turns what we have into enough. Or what the French say: “Gratitude is the memory of the heart”, which for me is one of the most beautiful proverbs I have ever read. All of us go through life with problems, so the happy people are not the one without problems but with a different attitude. Yet, society tends to focus on the negative or what can be better (social media as an example), which kills happiness. Or as Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy”.
You might wonder why on earth would we write down all the things we are grateful for each and every day. Life is not always just about happy moments. What is in it for me? And yes, I have to say keeping a practice of gratitude can be hard. I’m often accustomed to ruminating on the negative, and to let small moments of difficulty overtake the joyful ones.
Keeping a gratefulness journal will force you to always look on the bright side, which will change the way your brain is wired. Gratefulness is the opposite of depression and anxiety. Also, ”to vent” is not as healthy as we thought and focusing on those negative thoughts may even have negative consequences for your mental and physical health.
If you ever wanted to keep a journal, but you lack time a gratefullness journal is something for you.
There are so many ways you can express gratitude. In your mind, on paper or electronically. I love to write on paper. Recently I switched on to new notebooks, ”One line a day” and ”The Five minute Journal”.
”One line a day” is basically more a memory book where you can write down in more or less 5 sentences for 5 years how your day was. When you look back 5 years later, you don’t want to read that you were so annoyed your car broke down, right? So more often you will find yourself writing something positive that happened that day.
”The Five Minute Journal” is something you can buy or just write down in a DIY journal/diary. It involves two moments in the day where you have to stop and write down what you are grateful for. In the morning you write down three things you are grateful for, three things what would make today great and an affirmation (such as: I’m healthy). This is a very powerful way to start the day right. In the evening you write down three amazing things that happened that day and what could have made today even better. It is a perfect way to keep a journal, create memories, improve yourself and be grateful which leads to happiness.
In the busy lives we all live these days, we forget to stop and look around. To stop and think about what we have. It can be hard on some days. But to ”force” yourself daily to look on the bright side will make you notice amazing little things you didn’t notice before.
The smile of a child, a long hug, a good meal shared with friends…All these visual snapshots is what life is made out of.
When you begin you may find yourself focusing on the negative, such as ”I fell today, but I’m grateful for not breaking a leg”. Slowly the negative will go out and you will focus more on little positive moments in life. I started to look at the day differently searching for little moments of joy, such as a nice chat in the supermarket about food or a long phone call with a friend. There was never a day not be grateful for something, even on bad days. I noticed that keeping a gratefulness journal and keeping an eye on whatever positive shows up in my life changed my personal vibration. I radiate and generate more goodness and gratefulness for myself when I’m aware of all I have and not all the things, emotions, persons in my life I don’t have (anymore). I’ve learned from experience that if I express gratitude every day, you’ll be amazed by the outcome.
”If we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think we would be happy with even more?”
In this book by Janice Kaplan you can read the impact of gratitude. She explores how gratitude can transform every aspect of life including marriage, friendship, money, ambition, health and fitness. Truly amazing.
What are you grateful for today?
photos by the green creator (c) (copyright)