What is a Gratitude Journal? (With How to Step-By-Step Guide)
- Created: 11 May 2019 11 May 2019
Before we dive into what a gratitude journal is, let’s us first tackle the science behind gratitude. A study conducted by the University of Kentucky reveals participants who practiced gratitude showed more empathy and sensitivity to those around them. Furthermore, they displayed empathy in situations when the feelings were not returned. Gratitude had improved their emotional well-being so they were able to adjust their reactions in less than desirable situations.
…it only takes 15 minutes of gratitude before bed to improve your quality of sleep.
And it doesn’t end there. There are a variety of reasons why you should begin practicing gratitude. Those who give thanks everyday experience optimum health, improved relationships, and a better nights sleep. According to Applied Psychology: Health And Wellbeing, it only takes 15 minutes of gratitude before bed to improve your quality of sleep.
Have we convinced you yet? If so, continue reading as we explain just how simple it is to begin gratitude journaling. But before we do, we’d just like to give thanks to you for reading our article.
What is a gratitude journal?
Simply put, gratitude journaling involves putting pen to paper and giving thanks for all you have in life. It’s a form of mindfulness practice (which we all know have tons of benefits) where you consciously take notice of the things that you should be thankful for. There are so many reasons to be grateful, and giving thanks is a quick hack to stop negativity in its tracks.
Consciously feeling grateful resets your brain, and raises your vibration. It’s like a massage for your soul with the infectious capabilities of the winter flu. When you begin practicing gratitude, you won’t want to stop.
Examples of reasons to be grateful:
- Your home. For providing you with a safe space to live in.
- Your health. For being alive, and capable of doing what your body still allows you to do.
- Your job. For providing you with money abundance, skills, and experience.
- Your temporary unemployment. For holding space for you to reflect on what you want from your next venture.
- Helping a sibling on an exam. For imparting knowledge for the greater good of someone else.
- Your dog or cat. For offering you unconditional love and friendship
As you can see, gratitude journaling isn’t just for giving thanks for the amazing (and obvious) things to be grateful for. Be appreciative of everything, including the small wins. It also helps you to see the positive in what may at first glance appear to be negative.
Journaling works best when you not only write what you are grateful for but also the reason why. Delve deeper into this gift that has been given to you. Obviously, we are all grateful for our homes, but what in particular makes you appreciative of yours. Do you live in nature, and you love to go hiking? Have you once lived on the streets, or knew someone who has so simply having a home at all is a blessing?
Find your why!
CHOOSE A STYLE
Journaling isn’t a one size fits all, so make this new practice work for you. Are you a fan of bullet journaling because the simplicity of it keeps you engaged? Then try a bullet gratitude journal. If you are more of a visual person, try a visual gratitude vision board. The possibilities are endless! We’ve even heard of individuals voice recording their daily gratitude lists, and we love that idea!
Once you decide on your method, you then have to begin the daily habit. The time of day doesn’t matter as much as committing to it daily. If nighttime works for you run with it, and if you are always on the go—take it with you and work it into your day.
Remember to be grateful to yourself for starting this new practice that you are going to benefit from in the long-term. Life happens though, so be patient with yourself if you miss a day. All that matters is the effort you put in in the long run.
STICK IT OUT
There are many opinions on how long it takes to form a habit. Anything from 21 days to 2 months is a pretty common number, but we think it’s individual to the person. What we can tell you is that it will take a decent amount of time to become accustomed to this new practice. To put it into perspective, just think about how long you have gone without gratitude journaling. Years I imagine, so please don’t be in a rush to call it quits.
Gratitude journaling is a gift to yourself. A conscious 15 minutes of your day you get to reflect on all that is good in your life. A small percentage of your day to pat yourself on the back for how amazing you are, and you are truly amazing!
We give so much to others throughout our lives and dedicate a lot of time to our careers. Practicing gratitude is a commitment to give back to yourself, the gift that is being thankful for all our many blessings.