Have you ever found yourself trying to remember what you are grateful for in your life? To remember what gives your life purpose? We tend to remember “bad” memories more than we do good ones. By keeping a gratitude journal, you could start your day feeling positive about yourself, about your life, and have that mood throughout the day. Keeping a gratitude journal can also rewire your brain for happiness. This will help undo bad habits you have acquired. If you are new to journaling, you might not know what a gratitude journal is or even where to start.
What is a Gratitude Journal?
Gratitude journals are for keeping track of what we are grateful for in our lives. It is a great way to help us keep a positive outlook on life. At the same time, you can use these journals at night before you go to bed to help rest your mind. You can start your day with a daily boost of positive energy.
As the Positive Psychology Program‘s website explains:
While it can be tough to find something to be grateful about in a rough patch, it’s not just another “easy to say, but hard to do” action – it can actually help pull you out of your funk.
Some people like journals with nice quotes on the front, such as “365 Things I am Grateful for in 2018” or “I am Thankful for Small Mercies.” Pick one that matches you and your personality, as well as something that will be visually pleasing. Choosing the right look for you will wire our brains for creativity and positive feelings.
Can Gratitude Journals Really Rewire Our Brains?
Starting our day with gratitude gives us that “hit” of good feelings each morning. By starting each day with a good routine, we set ourselves up for positivity each day. If you have a nightly routine, you can add journaling to it as you are sitting in bed. It is a nice way to unwind from the day and recount what you’ve been grateful for in the day.
Maintaining a gratitude journal can be hard. Once you get into the habit of keeping a journal, you will find there are benefits to having one. Gratitude journals should be something you write in when you want to remind yourself of things that make you happy. According to Arianna Huffington’s book, Thrive;
According to a study by researchers from the University of Minnesota and the University of Florida, having participants write down a list of positive events at the close of a day — and why the events made them happy — lowered their self-reported stress levels and gave them a greater sense of calm at night.
- It will lower your stress levels
- Feel calm at night.
- Gain a new perspective on what is important to you and what you truly appreciate in your life.
- Helps you focus on what really matters in your life.
- Keeping a gratitude journal helps you learn more about yourself and become more self-aware.
- On days when you feel blue, read back through your gratitude journal to re-adjust your attitude and remember that you have great people and things in your life.
- By noting what you are grateful for, you will gain clarity on what you want to have more of in your life, and what you can cut from your life.
You are going to find that your brain will start focusing on the more positive aspects of life. Along with the benefits listed above, you will also notice your sleep patterns change for the better.
How to Keep a Gratitude Journal
If you are having trouble figuring out what to put into your gratitude journal, there are prompts that you can use to help you start out. A lot of people only go skin deep with how they journal. Having a gratitude journal means that you need to focus deeper. It should matter how writing makes you feel and the experience behind it. You should close your eyes, focus on your intentions and ask yourself what you are really grateful for. Take a moment; place your hand over your heart and close your eyes. Think of something you are truly grateful for and let it sink in. In other words, our gratitude should come from a place of meaning when we get a “feel good” sensation within our heart.
Gratitude Journal Prompts
Most people keep bullet journals. These are notebooks that you can decorate and design for yourself. Your journal can be as decorated as you want or a blank notebook. If you are a person who has a hard time showing emotions, or describing how you feel, there are gratitude journal prompts you can follow. Like any writing exercise, prompts are there to help you sort through your creativity, and help you get the mental juices flowing. Here are five prompts that you can start a gratitude journal with:
- List five small ways that you can share your gratitude today.
- Write about a person in your life that you are grateful for and why.
- What is there about a challenge you are experiencing right now that you can be thankful for?
- Something you’re grateful to have learned this week
- What aspects of your work environment are you thankful for? (Supportive co-workers, flexible hours, great snacks in the kitchen…)
Gratitude Journal Apps
Trying to save space in a small house or apartment? Then a gratitude journal app is perfect. In today’s ever-changing society and technology finding an app on your phone is pretty easy to do. Yet, with the expanding technology, it is hard to find an app on iPhone or Android that suit your needs. The great thing about an app is it can result in enthusiasm, determination, higher levels of alertness, and energy.
For those who use Androids can find the apps in the Google Play store where all of them are free, with very little in-app purchases.
- Zest (Free)
- 365 Gratitude Journal-Daily Dose of Gratitude (Free)
- Attitudes of Gratitude Journal (Free)
- Gratitude Journal (Free)
- Gratitude Journal (Free)
Relieve Stress and Feel Blessed
Gratitude journaling can make you more mindful, grounded, and notice more things you are grateful for in life. By journaling, you will feel more balanced and less stressed. They can remind us how things in our lives can be connected to one another, as well as to help us recognize the bigger picture around us. A gratitude journal will help make you a better person, for instance being more content in your daily life. However, when you are comfortable enough for others to hear about your gratitude journal, try sharing some things you have written during dinner, with friends at lunch, or during a book club meeting. Sharing those feel-good sensations with others can spread positivity and help others begin journaling in their own lives.
Featured image: CC0 Kate Cox via Pixabay.