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How To Use A Gratitude Journal To Journal For Joy
Dear Gratitude Seeker
You may use this as a rough guide on how to use your gratitude journal for maximum effect. There’s no need to follow our suggestions as your journal is yours to use and it’s really up to your own imagination as to the direction you wish to take your gratitude journaling.
If you wish to learn more about the art of gratitude journaling, please read on…
Gratitude Journaling Practice Guide
What Exactly Is Gratitude?
Gratitude is an emotion. It’s how you feel when you’re thankful for something. Think right now about something that you’re thankful for. It can be small like the socks on your feet or it can be larger like the roof over your head, your job, your family or your life.
Gratitude is also an awareness or recognition. When you express or feel gratitude, you’re acknowledging that there is good in your life, in you, in the world and all around you.
Feeling grateful changes how you feel inside.
It’s easy to let the negative thoughts, words, situations, events, and actions in the world take over your heart and mind. Many in society seem to focus on the negative. It’s on the news, in magazines and newspapers, and it may be the general tone of the conversations you encounter during the day.
Yet, the simple emotion and expression of gratitude diminishes all of that negativity in a powerful way.
Over the past ten to twenty years many disciplines have conducted studies on the impact of gratitude.
What Are Your Benefits In Giving Gratitude?
What they’ve found is nothing short of amazing. People who practice gratitude have found:
- They’re happier. It increases feelings of optimism, joy, and satisfaction.
- Have less anxiety and depression.
- It’s good for your health. Studies have shown that a gratitude practice strengthens the immune system, lowers blood pressure, and reduces symptoms of illness.
- Get more sleep.
- Recover more quickly from challenges and even from traumatic events.
- Have stronger relationships.
- Stronger connections. People feel more connected to their community.
Gratitude changes your perspective on the life that you’ve been given. When you have gratitude in your life you:
- Feel less victimized by others or by life. Blaming no longer exists. Rather than look at what you lost or what you don’t have, you’re able to reframe situations and move forward focusing on what you can do and what you have.
- Have a more open heart. Gratitude helps you become more compassionate and empathetic. You’ll be able to connect with people even if you don’t think you have much in common with them. It’s a more rewarding way to live.
- Glass half full approach. With gratitude you’ll be able to recognize and appreciate what you have rather than what you don’t. As you begin to become aware of what is good and positive in your life, what is good and positive will grow.
- Attract more gratitude and happiness. It’s often found that people attract experiences and people based on what they expect. If you focus on and expect good things to happen, more good may show up.
The bottom line is that people who practice gratitude reportedly have a better quality of life. However, this is one of those things in life that you have to experience for yourself before you will be able to fully believe it and before you’ll embrace it into your life.
25 Reasons to Be Grateful Today
It’s sometimes hard to look around us and find something to be grateful for. But there are so many little blessings that make our life worthwhile! Looking for them will help us develop a grateful heart and increase the joy of our blessings tremendously. Need something to be grateful for today? Consider these…
- Life itself. The blessing of being alive, of breathing and thinking. Never take it for granted!
- This one becomes more precious only when you lose it. But good health is truly a blessing to give thanks for.
- Our children, grandchildren, parents, siblings and spouse. Even extended family make life worthwhile and worth living.
- Your five senses—hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell. Can you imagine a life without these blessings? Even losing one of them is a heartache. Combined, they fill our lives with… life!
- While we sometimes fuss and wish we didn’t have to work, the blessing of a job to provide for our family is definitely something to be grateful for in these uncertain economic times.
- Think of the joy of walking outside and letting the sun kiss your face… hmm… can you feel it?
- Although it seldom comes at what we consider the “right” time, rain is so necessary to our very survival. Thank goodness we have it!
- So many in the world don’t have enough to eat. What a blessing it is for those who do!
- Loving relationships. The old song says, “love makes the world go round.” How true it is! Be thankful for the love in your life.
- Friends are the family we choose to love. And how wonderful they are!
- A loving touch can remove sadness, uplift a spirit and heal a heartache. Definitely something to be grateful for.
- The freedom to live and breathe and think your own thoughts is one of the greatest joys in the world.
- A home. It doesn’t have to be large or even impressive, but a home filled with love and laughter is a comfort for the soul. Give thanks for yours!
- Your education. Many people underestimate the value of education but those who’ve acquired it know what a blessing it is.
- Only when faced with the opposite—unkindness—can we truly appreciate the kindness we’re shown by others.
- The future. Hope for the future is what gives us strength for the day. Be thankful for what the future may hold.
- While we certainly don’t want to dwell in the past, an occasional visit down memory lane can be a good thing.
- There seldom seems to be enough laughter in our lives so enjoy it where you find it and give thanks that it touched your life.
- Some people would have no one to talk to all day long if not for a loving pet.
- Truth is hard to come by in the world we live in. That’s why it’s such a blessing when we do find it.
- Whether it’s reading, crafting, woodworking, skydiving or fishing, our hobbies and pastimes are often the most enjoyable time of the day. They’re certainly worth being grateful for.
- The trees rustling in the breeze, a gentle stream, squirrels and rabbits scurrying around the yard. Give thanks for the beauty and comfort nature brings.
- What a boring world this would be without color! Reds, blues, greens, yellows… even black and white make the world visually attractive and interesting.
- The sound of music (no pun intended) has an almost mystical, supernatural effect on the human psyche. Think about how good the music you enjoy makes you feel. That’s something to be thankful for.
- While we never enjoy them, trials and struggles strengthen us and make us better people.
Living life with gratitude will help you find contentment and comfort no matter what the day may hold. Search for your own reasons to be thankful today… your whole attitude and demeanor will be changed!
How Do You Practice Gratitude?
The concept of practicing gratitude begins by creating a habit. For most people, the simplest habit, and the most effective one, is to create a gratitude journal. A gratitude journal is a process of writing down what you’re grateful for during the day.
Many people journal in the morning, or at night, or both as they are quiet times. You can keep the journal right next to your bedside. First thing when you wake in the morning, you journal about gratitude or do it before you go to sleep at night.
Now you can, of course, journal whenever it feels right for you. For example, you might find that journaling in the middle of the day, at lunchtime, helps you have a more positive afternoon and evening.
Also, many people journal on paper. They handwrite what they’re grateful for. The process of writing it down, as opposed to dictating your gratitude or typing it on to your computer or mobile device, seems to have a stronger impact on your brain and mindset. The act of writing seems to wire your brain differently and create a connection between your thoughts and the words on the page.
Does this mean that you can’t or shouldn’t create a digital journal? Absolutely not. If dictating your gratitude or typing it works for you then by all means do that. There are no rules for a gratitude journal.
Why Keep A Gratitude Journal?
Why journal? Why not just set aside a few minutes each day to think about what you’re grateful for? Journaling is the first step to creating a gratitude mindset. After all, the goal isn’t to be grateful for a few minutes each day. The goal is to shift how you think so that gratitude is your natural reaction and thought process.
Journaling helps you create a daily habit. You’ll think about gratitude once or twice a day for one month, two months, six months or more. The longer you do it, the more it becomes ingrained in your mind.
Once gratitude becomes a part of your daily routine, your thoughts begin to shift. Keep at it, continue journaling, and those changes become even more entrenched. Will you shift back to a negative mindset if you stop journaling? It can happen. If you’re aware, and this does happen, all you have to do is resume your commitment to a gratitude journal.
So What Do You Need to Start a Gratitude Journal?
There are a few considerations to start your gratitude journal. Not all of them are necessary requirements. However, it’s a good idea to have some sort of plan in place. It will make your gratitude practice easier and more successful.
Gratitude takes practice. Being grateful and shifting your mindset, thoughts, and beliefs isn’t an overnight process. It’d be wonderful if you could go to bed one night with the burdens of the world on your shoulders and awake the next day feeling light as a feather with no cares in the world.
That doesn’t generally happen. Instead, you’ll notice a gradual shift over time. You’ll feel yourself being lighter, more appreciative, and happier. It’s called a gratitude practice for a reason…Gratitude takes practice. Be patient with yourself and with the process.
We’ve already mentioned a few different options for daily journaling. We mentioned journaling in the morning or at night, or both. We also discussed a lunchtime habit. What matters more than when you journal, is that you journal when you can make it part of your daily routine.
Maybe you journal in the morning with a cup of coffee. Maybe you journal at night after you get ready for bed but before you close your eyes. For it to become a habit, you have to incorporate it into your daily life at the same time every day. Make it part of your day.
What are you going to use to journal? Are you going to use a mobile application? Are you going to use a notebook? There are some truly beautiful notebooks. You can find them leather bound for a rustic look or shiny for the fashionista.
You can find composition books with patterned covers or character covers. You might also want a pen or pencil that makes you smile and feel grateful. And of course, you can begin by purchasing our gratitude journal printables and using the space provided to document your gratitude.
The time you spend journaling your gratitude should ideally be uninterrupted time. It should be free from distractions including people, text messages, and phone calls. This time allows you to reflect on the day as well as your thoughts and feelings. And if you’re using a gratitude prompt, then the quiet time will help you find your answer. Before we get started, let’s take a quick look at where you can find gratitude because sometimes it can be difficult to tap into this powerful feeling.
Where Do You Find Gratitude?
Finding gratitude can feel challenging. On the first day of your practice you may find yourself sitting at your desk just staring at an empty page. The day was lousy, you’re exhausted, and maybe the gratitude practice just isn’t for you.
Conversely, you may find yourself staring at a blank page on day 28. You’ve run out of things to be grateful for. You have nothing else to write down. You feel like you’ve hit all the biggies and now you’re thinking about writing down that you’re grateful for pushpins and dust bunnies.
Well, it’s okay to be grateful for pushpins and dust bunnies. There are no rules. Just like there’s nothing too small or too big to be grateful for.
Let’s also say that if you take the time to look around you, to reflect on yourself, your life, your day, and your surroundings, you’ll never run out of things to be grateful for. So let’s start with a list of 25 ideas on where to find gratitude.
- Your body; your health and what your body is capable of.
- Stories; books, movies, plays and more.
- Personal attributes.
- Situations or events.
- Material items.
- In your home.
- At work.
Think about each of these items individually. When you’re struggling to find something to be grateful for, you now have 25 categories to choose from.
Please keep in mind that you don’t have to write down hundreds of things you’re grateful for each day. Strive for somewhere between three and ten. Consider being consistent.
For example, you might decide to write down five things each day that you’re grateful for. This consistency simply adds some structure to your gratitude journal and makes it a bit easier to get started.
Your Next Step
The following journaling prompts can be used as inspiration when you are first starting out with gratitude journaling.
You can work through them day by day or skip around. There is no right or wrong way to practice gratitude. The practice itself is where the power resides.
Gratitude Journaling Prompts
- 10 things I’m grateful for today…
- Five people who made me smile today (friends, family or even strangers)…
- The best part of today was…
- What I love about my home…
- These are my favorite foods because…
- I’m grateful for my friends because…
- I’m grateful for my vision because today I saw….
- What I love about my face…
- I am healthy because….
- A freedom I’m grateful for….
- A person I’m grateful for…
- What I love about my job…
- I overcame this challenge today…
- I’m grateful for my car (or other transportation) because…
- I appreciate my dentist (doctor, teacher, or other service provider) because…
- Why my favorite holiday is…
- I’m grateful for this element of nature because…
- I’m grateful for the smell of….
- I’m grateful for computer technology because…
- What I love about my body…
- I’m grateful for my childhood because…
- The knowledge I’m most grateful for is….
- Why my favorite color is…
- My favorite type of food is….
- If you identify something or someone with a negative trait (the cold conference room), switch it in your mind to a positive trait (the conference room with a great view).
- I’m grateful for breakfast because….
- I appreciate the sound of…
- The memory I’m most grateful for is…
- In my home, my favorite place is….
- Outside my home, my favorite place is…
- The book that I’m most grateful for is…
- When you find yourself in a bad situation ask: What can I learn? When I look back on this, without emotion, what will I be grateful for?
- The texture I’m most grateful for is…
- 10 things that always make me smile…
- I love that I’m able to….
- I’m grateful for this season because…
- My mind is a powerful thing. One element of it I’m grateful for is…
- Values I hold most dear and am grateful I have…
- Ways I share my gratitude…
- I’m grateful for these skills and abilities…
- What bit of advice are you most grateful for?
- What daily routine are you most grateful for?
- What scent are you grateful for today?
- Who in your childhood are you grateful for?
- Promise to not complain, criticize or gossip today. Become aware of how your energy changes when you focus on the positive.
- What song are you most grateful for today and why?
- What daily chore/task are you grateful for?
- What tradition(s) are you grateful for?
- What challenge or obstacle are you most grateful for?
- What small thing that you use daily are you grateful for?
- What small thing that happened today are you grateful for?
- What lifestyle habit are you most grateful for today?
- What moment this week are you most grateful for?
- What form of expression are you most grateful for?
- Things I love about my family…
- What friend/family member are you grateful for today?
- Sound and strive to feel genuinely happy to hear from the people you speak with today either in person or on the phone.
- What talent do you have that you are grateful for?
- What are 3 things I can be grateful for about myself?
- What is one thing I may usually take for granted that I can be grateful for?
- What is one mistake you’ve made that you’re grateful for?
- What animal or pet are you grateful for?
- What is something about your parents that you are grateful for?
- What is something about your spouse that you’re grateful for?
- A quote that I’m grateful for is….
- A vacation spot that I’m grateful for is…
- Someone at my job that I appreciate today is…
- A surprise that I’m grateful for is…
- Today I will live in the moment…
- A joke or funny story that I’m grateful for is….
- A photograph that I’m most grateful for is…
- 3 things I’ve learned so far from journaling that I’m grateful for…
- A kind action that I’m grateful for today is…
- Something from the past that I’m grateful for is…
- I’m looking forward to the future because…
- The convenience I’m most grateful for is…
- The thing (person, situation or event) that made me stronger is…
- A gift that I’m most grateful for is…
- The moment I’m most grateful for today is…
- Don’t just keep your gratitude on the inside. Express it. Tell people what you’re grateful for. Continue to keep a gratitude journal. Share your thoughts and stay positive.
- I am grateful for these things in my surroundings (home/neighborhood/city/etc)…
- An experience I am grateful for…
- What am I able to offer others that I am grateful for?
- Things others in my life have done that I am thankful for…
- What I see right now that I can be grateful for…
- Who am I grateful to for teaching me something lately?
- What physical sensations am I grateful for right now?
- Start each day with a grateful heart…
- What can I enjoy right now that I can be grateful for?
- Take one minute in the morning to get a good start to your day by finding 3 small or big things you are grateful for in your life.
Please use our gratitude journaling prompts to fuel your gratitude journaling journey and keep your fingers flying with regards your journaling trance.
May we thrive with joy and happiness as we release our gratitude to the world!
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