“It is not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy.”
For those of you who have been following my blog from the start, you’d have come across a post about GRATITUDE PRACTICE and how cultivating such a practice helped me through a rough patch in my life. For those who haven’t read it, i recommend you click on the link above and have a quick read about this scientifically proven practice. I called this post “plus” because this exercise is an add-on to the habits and practices shared in the previous post that will enhance your ability to create the right positive mindset.
Taking my gratitude practice further, i have started a Gratitude Journal. While running through a list of things to be grateful for every night or every time i need to get into the right frame of mind is effective, i find the act of writing things down solidifies your thoughts and cast them to memory. I keep my gratitude journal on my bedside table along with a pen for quick and hassle free entries.
In this journal i start at the top with the day and date followed by a short paragraph of notable incidences or the things i did throughout the day. This is what i call ‘unloading’. Unloading is freeing my mind before bed of all the whirlwinds of the day and to keep a record of things (because my memory isn’t like a computer). Writing it down helps with my memory by taking note of anything i need to follow up on in the near future because this habit forces me to recall everything i did throughout the day. One of the powerful things i discovered whilst penning this journal is the power of reflection. As i am forced to recall the daily happenings, its only natural to reflect on notable incidences and reflect if i handled them correctly or could there have been a better way. If there was a noteworthy incident that i feel i should have handled or responded differently, i take note. Forced reflection i call it.
The second half of the page i write down the words “I am grateful for:” or “gratitude list” (depending on how lazy i am or how late i get home). I then pen down a list of five to ten things i am grateful for that day. Some people of have told me that five to ten things is too much and they can’t find that many things to be grateful for (*jaw drops!). There are soo many things we should be grateful for, everyday you are alive is one, the fact that you have a roof over your head is another, your colleague who helped you collect your prints from the printer, the stranger who held the lift door for 2-seconds for you, the admin from 10 floors above you who smiled at you this morning, the list could go on and on, all you need to do is take note of the simple joys.
Then at the end of the page, sometimes i sign off and if i came across an interesting quote during the day, i end that day’s entry with it.
So if you haven’t started a gratitude practice, i suggest you give it a go. Consciously and consistently do it. If you have a gratitude practice going and want to start your gratitude journal, here are my top 5 tips:
- Use a quality notebook/journal.
You’re going to be using this book everyday for at least a year (or two!), writing and flipping pages because it can be fun to read some of the things that happened in the past. Puts a smile across your face. A good quality notebook will go a long way. I use a ruled Mickey Mouse Moleskin, the leather feels nice when i pick up the notebook and am happy just looking at Mickey!
- Keep it simple.
Don’t overthink it, you’re not writing an award winning novel so don’t worry about getting it perfect before penning it down. Just let your words flow as they come to mind. Put it down in simple words in anyway you feel comfortable. It only needs to make sense to you. My gratitude list is numerical, point form is fine too if you like, and most of the items on my list are 2 to 5 words long only.
- No negativity.
Its a gratitude journal. To record things you want to be grateful for, while i do start with a short paragraph of the day’s happenings, i leave negative things/incidences out unless its viewed as a lesson which i am grateful for. No negativity, only happiness!
- Make it YOUR journal.
While i have shared how i write my journal and provided tips on keeping a gratitude journal, it is YOUR gratitude journal. So feel free to get creative and do what works for you. Cut and stick pictures that jog your memory if you like, doodle images that make you feel good about that day, use multi coloured pens and markers, and write in any style that you want.
- Conscious & Consistent
Like everything else we do in life, for it to be effective it must be done consciously and consistently. Consciously take notice of the small things throughout the day that you are grateful for and you will soon notice that there are alot of positive blessings in your life. Be disciplined with your journal and be consistent with your daily entries. I write mine every night about 30-minutes or so before i go to bed, if night time entries are not convenient for you, find another time in the day to do it. In the morning before going to work maybe? Expressing gratitude at the start of the day can be highly beneficial as you kickstart the day on a positive note! (hmm, i might switch to early morning entries)
Life is too short to not be happy and no matter what the circumstances are, there is always something to be grateful for. Happy journaling!
Do you have gratitude practice or a gratitude journal? Share some of your tips or how you do it with us in the comments. We’d love to hear it!