I can’t remember when I first heard of gratitude journals, but I started keeping one back in 2008. That year, I’d graduated from college and had really gotten into reading self-help books, which is where I learned about the power of gratitude, affirmations, visualization, and the Law of Attraction. So, I started writing down five things I was grateful for every day. And while there are sometimes I forget or am tired, I now write in mine every night before going to bed.
Why should you keep a gratitude journal?
- A gratitude journal helps you keep things in perspective. It allows you to see that no matter how bad things may be right now, they could be worse, so you always have something to be thankful for.
- It encourages you to begin looking for the positive throughout the day.
- A gratitude journal puts you in a positive mood. After a while, you begin to see all the good you have in your life — big and small.
- It helps you not take the little things for granted. You’ll have those days when nothing seems to be going right, and you can’t seem to think of anything to be thankful for. That’s when you dig deep, and think about the fact that you have breath in your body, some food, clothing, shelter, a family, etc. — the things you usually forget about because they’re always there.
- According to an article on Forbes.com, gratitude can help you sleep better and increase your mental strength.
How to Keep a Gratitude Journal
Find a journal. Or notebook. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy (unless that’s your thing). I’ve found cute journals at TJ Maxx, Ross, Citi Trends, and even Dollar General. There are also apps you can use (the one I currently use is simply called Gratitude Journal.
Set aside time to write in it. I like to write in mine before I go to sleep (it’s part of my nighttime ritual), but you can write in it whenever you want. I suggest writing in it right when you wake up or right before you go to sleep since it’s easier to remember to do it.
Write down three to five things you’re thankful for. Usually, I like to think about things that have happened during the day that I’m thankful for, but sometimes, I write about the things I might take for granted like my family or having a bed (especially for those long days when I can’t wait to crawl in it).
“Gratitude should not just be a reaction to getting what you want, but an all-the-time gratitude, the kind where you notice the little things and where you constantly look for the good, even in unpleasant situations. Start bringing gratitude to your experiences, instead of waiting for a positive experience in order to feel grateful.” – Marelisa Fabrega