Many successful writers have kept a journal – from Virginia…
Keeping a Gratitude Journal has many benefits – both mental and physical – and can make a big difference to your life if you commit yourself to writing a few sentences every day. Not only is it beneficial at the time of writing it, it can also provide a lovely book of positivity to look back on when you’re going through a tough or negative time in your life. But how do you get started with a Gratitude Journal, and what do you write in it? You’ll find everything you need to know in this article, so you can get started.
How to keep a Gratitude Journal
Starting a Gratitude Journal may seem quite daunting but it’s actually very easy. Set yourself a daily gratitude goal – I suggest between five and ten bullet points a day – and make a commitment to fill out your diary every evening before bed. Bedtime is recommended as many people find the process calming, which can lead to a much better sleep.
Try to keep your entries varied, as you won’t learn anything from writing ‘my kids’ and ‘my cooking skills’ every day for a year! Stretch your mind, and you will benefit. Write as little or as much as you like for each point, depending on how you feel at the time.
If you feel you might forget to fill out your Gratitude Journal, try placing it on your bedside table with a pen, as a visual reminder for when you get into bed. You could also set an alarm for a certain time in the evening. Don’t forget to take it with you when you go on holiday, too.
Benefits of keeping a Gratitude Journal
- It will help to lower your stress levels
- It will enable better sleep
- It will help you to gain perspective on your life
- It will increase your positivity and optimism
- It will give you something to look back on when you’re going through a rough patch or a low period in your life
- It will help you appreciate the ‘small’ things in life, which you might otherwise overlook
What am I grateful for?
Everyone will be grateful for different things, but these unique things will fall into key areas. I’ve listed these areas below, with a few examples to get you started:
- Life and oneself – thankful for life itself, being born, the body you are in
- Material possessions – thankful for your guitar, your bed, your comfy dressing gown
- Friends & family – thankful for wonderful parents, your best friend, your gang
- Talents and skills – thankful for your football skills, your drawing skills, your plumbing skills
- Experiences – thankful for your recent holiday in Spain, your bus being on time, seeing a cute cat on the way to work
As you can see from the above examples, you can find things to be grateful for in all aspects of your life. Whilst brushing your teeth, for example, you might be thankful for: the invention of mirrors, the toothbrush your partner bought for you, the toothpaste your friend gave to you because she didn’t like the taste, the fact you’ve only had to have one filling despite the fact you practically live on a diet of sweets and chocolate, the fact you still have an NHS dentist, the NHS itself… you get the idea!
Give it a go, and indulge yourself in feeling appreciative of yourself, your loved ones, the world around you, and every little detail you might otherwise forget or overlook. You’ll be in good company; Oprah Winfrey has been keeping a Gratitude Diary for many years, and swears by it.