Have you been thinking about starting a gratitude journal but you’re not sure where to begin? Here are some tips to help you get going.
Keep your gratitude journal simple
You don’t have to write an essay every time you open up your journal (though of course, you can if you want to). Keep things as simple as possible or it may end up feeling like hard work once you’re a couple of weeks into it!
For some people, a more traditional style diary with entries may work. If you’re more visual and like to draw, a bullet journal approach may be more appealing, combining notes, mind maps, pictures and drawings.
Don’t feel like you have to commit to writing in your gratitude journal every day – a few times a week may be more productive. Even one quality entry a week is better than forcing yourself to write more often and getting frustrated with writers’ block.
Just get started
If you struggle to get going, try the two minute approach. Set a timer for two minutes and write anything that comes to mind that you’re grateful for. It could be sentences, individual words, names… Once the timer ends you can choose to keep going or stop completely.
Alternatively, you could choose to answer a different question or write to a different theme each day. Some options to get you started include:
- What are five things from the past week/day that you’re grateful for?
- What would life be like if you didn’t have those things?
- What’s one key thing you’re grateful for at the moment?
- What’s something (an event) that happened today you’re grateful for?
- Which people (or individual person or a pet) are you grateful to have in your life right now? What do they bring to your life?
- What are five things you like about yourself?
- What makes you feel happy?
- What’s something that someone else did for you that you’re thankful for? Write a thank you note (bonus points if you actually send it)
- Write about one of your accomplishments (recent or in the past) – how did it make you feel?
- What’s something challenging currently happening in your life and what opportunities is it giving you? Flipping this can be difficult depending on the situation – consider whether it’s a learning experience… To find out your own ability for strength/resilience… An opportunity to reflect on appreciation for a person/material thing that is no longer present?
For themes, think about the different areas that make up your life – people, pets, places, work, school/university/course study, home, relationships, community, society, local or world news, health, your body, your personality, your capabilities, strengths, material things. There are many options when you get started, journalling doesn’t have to be repetitive each time.
Once gratitude journalling feels like a chore, you’re probably not far from giving it up. It should be enjoyable and something that makes you feel good – think of it like a form of meditation.
Gratitude journals may not work for everyone; however, changing mindset does come with practice and consistency of repetition. It’s worth remembering that when you begin to look for the positives in your life, you’re intentions, actions and mindset are likely to follow.
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