There are no bad days, just bad moments. Writing about the positive moments can help you stay focused on the good times you have throughout your day. A gratitude journal is a place to put your gratitude down in writing. It provides you with another opportunity to elicit the good feelings that are linked to the times you are grateful for. Practicing the art of gratitude (and even more so, writing your gratitude down in a journal) helps create a resilient mindset to carry you through rough times with a positive and constructive attitude.
Do Gratitude Journals Work?
There are many reasons writing your gratitude down is beneficial for your well-being.
- Writing in your gratitude journal only takes a few minutes a day. By expressing your gratitude in writing, you can shape a deeper connection between your feelings and your perceptions to build a stronger mindset. In other words, those few minutes invested will yield big dividends.
- Writing your gratitude down can enhance your positive feelings and take you from feeling OK, or maybe even anxious and stressed out, to feeling good on a more regular basis.
- Writing your gratitude down can boost the benefits of practicing gratitude and your overall well-being.
- Finally, journaling your gratitude can help you learn more about yourself and expand your self-awareness.
What You Need to Start Writing A Gratitude Journal
Gratitude journaling can be done in many different ways: There are several journaling apps offered through the Android Play Store and iPhone AppStore. Or, you could…
- write on your computer
- use a notebook
- write on pieces of paper.
I use a beautiful notebook and a pen that glides over the paper. I have a notebook collection, and whenever I see a notebook I like, I add it to my collection. It feels good to write in a pretty notebook and look through it later.
7 Tips for How to Start A Gratitude Journal
To enhance the benefits of keeping a gratitude journal you can use the following tips, which provide you with a flexible structure and some direction to help you write down your gratitude.
#1 Write before Bedtime
- Writing just before bedtime allows you to reflect on your day. This is extremely helpful, especially if you are in the process of changing your perceptions and adopting a more positive attitude.
- Writing at night provides you with the opportunity to pause and notice the positive and uplifting moments you had during your day – particularly when you think you’ve had a “bad day”. It helps you identify those moments in which you felt loved, calm, or where you smiled, laughed or just had an internal understanding that you were on the right track.
- Writing just before bedtime also prompts you to end your day on a positive note and, therefore, promotes restful sleep.
#2 Write about 3 Things You’re Grateful for
For some, it is hard to think of even 1 thing to write about in their gratitude journal, let alone 3. However, if you take a moment to think about what you have, you should be able to find 3. I find 3 to be the “magic number”. It might require a bit of effort at the outset, but not so much that you feel overwhelmed.
Three nightly entries in your journal will remind you of all the good you are experiencing and allow you to feel good about them all over again. As you continue to write daily gratitudes, you will probably find the 3 entries easy to come up with and may even write more – which, of course, is wonderful. The more the merrier!
#3 Use Pen and Paper
Writing your gratitude by hand (vs. typing) will keep you in a mindful state. The act of writing relieves stress and anxiety and increases focus. Handwriting activates the parts of your brain that are linked to thinking and working memory, allowing you to better store and manage information.
It also strengthens eye-hand coordination, where the movement of the pen and your hand helps you encode and retain the written information for the long term.
#4 Elicit Emotions
Writing your 3 gratitude entries can feel like a technical act of writing. However, if you allow yourself to take a moment for each gratitude you write and imagine it as it happened, you benefit from reliving the positive moment and enjoying it again.
By reliving positive moments you encode them even deeper in your mind and strengthen the positive memory.
#5 Be Descriptive
Some start their journal by writing a word or 2 for each entry – and that is totally fine.
If you want to take it a step further and elaborate on your experiences or emotions, you will remember them longer, it will inspire more positive events and emotions to float up to the surface and, when you look back at this entry, you will remember more about this positive experience or emotion and be able to immerse yourself in beautiful nostalgia.
#6 No Repeats
To elevate your well-being, encourage yourself to find new events or emotions to be grateful for every day. This means that if you wrote yesterday about how grateful you are for having a bed to sleep in, today you might want to write about how comfortable your bed is. Deciding to write about new positive events and emotions in your day will inspire you to identify more of them as you go about your day.
#7 What to Write about
You can keep it as simple as writing about the basic things in life you are grateful for, like your bed, your house, the food in your fridge/pantry or on your plate.
You can also write about the people in your life, your work, hobbies, the nature around you, a good conversation you had, a challenge you’ve overcome, a skill you’ve mastered, and so on.
If you are working on a specific issue in your life, save one daily entry in your gratitude journal especially for that. For example, if you are on a weight loss journey, and you find enjoyment in the process, write about it–if your clothes feel looser, write about that; if you cook a healthy meal and feel proud,write about that.
You can also decide on 3 categories where you wish to find more positivity in your life and write about these. Some popular categories are personal growth, relationships, finding new opportunities, work, finance, a specific goal you are working on, etc.
A study at UC Davis showed that people who regularly wrote in a gratitude journal had improved health and well-being and were more optimistic about their future. Another finding was in relation to personal goals, where participants who kept gratitude lists made better progress towards achieving their goal. Although you will likely notice an almost immediate change to a more positive attitude, I encourage you, after you get started, to keep writing in your gratitude journal for at least 30 days. This way you can experience a more profound shift in your attitude and your life.
Miri supports her clients online and in her office in Vancouver, BC. She incorporates the attitude of gratitude with all her clients to help them make the required shifts in their lives. Through her work, Miri notices an accelerated shift and improvement with those who continue to practice gratitude, which allows them to feel empowered in many aspects of their lives and improve their overall well-being.
For more information and to contact Miri Malkin @ Miri Malkin Hypnosis For Top Performance click below.