I Would Like To Give Thanks To Me!….. Gratitude Journalling

I began to journal a few years ago and if you have already read any of my previous blog posts about it, you will already know that I found it to be a vital resource in helping me to manage my anxiety on a daily basis.

Its no secret that at first, I was very sceptical and would just sit looking at a blank page unsure of what I should actually write!

Then one day it dawned no me that I shouldn’t feel that I had to write anything, the whole point was that I could write something if I wanted to, this realisation is where my slight obsession with journaling really started!

At first, I didn’t realise that there are many types of journal and styles available to utilise not only for your mental health but also for your overall well being and work/life balance.

If you are a beginner to self care, journalling or like me, are intrigued to find out if there are any other styles available that could be beneficial to you, then keep reading!

In this article, I will be delving a little deeper into the world of gratitude journalling and its benefits.

What Is Gratitude Journalling?

Gratitude journalling allows you to record and reflect on things within your life that you are grateful or thankful for.

In this day and age, I think that we all fall into the trap of focusing a little too much on the areas that we feel that we need to work on or achieve, rather than taking the time to take a good look at yourself and what you have achieved right now.

While a daily journal is about a recording your daily thoughts and feelings and a productivity journal encourages you to make plans for the future, a gratitude journal brings your attention into the now as a whole. It inspires you to focus on and appreciate the beauty of the present time in your life.

If you would like to begin or have recently started gratitude journaling, you may be wondering how to get the full benefits from your daily ritual. As journalling is an extremely personal experience, this is something which you must decide for yourself dependant on your reasons or hopeful outcome.

Sometimes it can be difficult to set aside a few minutes to concentrate on self reflection and as time is precious, there are several things you can do to get the most out of your journal time.

Try Different Formats

When most people think of gratitude journaling, they maybe think of writing letters to themselves or simply writing sentences about their feelings. But this isn’t the only format you can journal in, and the truth is, it may not be the most effective for you. Consider changing up your journaling format, or better yet, mix it up by trying more than one format. This will make sure you are getting the most out of your journaling time. Writing your thoughts and feelings into sentences can be a great way to empty your thoughts onto paper but there are other formats that you can use when it comes to gratitude journaling such as lists, diagrams, or tables.

Write Yourself Compliments

In gratitude journaling, people tend to write about all the things or people they are grateful for in their lives. And there is nothing wrong with this, just make sure you don’t forget to be thankful for the most important person, yourself! After all who better to give credit to for getting you this far!

It’s best practice to write a few things you like about yourself each day as you journal. This way, you can reflect on how your day went and watch your transformation as you become a better version of yourself.

I remember when I first tried this and it took me several days to come up with something because again, I was focusing on what I should write and giving thought to what others would say if they were asked the question. Once I got out of that mindset and really started to give myself credit for even the small achievements like getting through a tough day or recognising a trigger to help dispel my anxiety, I found the process really worthwhile.


Don’t Forget The Lessons
No one’s life is perfect, and when gratitude journaling, you may find that sometimes you have days where you make mistakes that you are embarrassed by, this is okay, and even something you should be thankful for! Instead of approaching your mistakes as setbacks instead, include them in your journal as a lesson and approach them with an open mind and be grateful for the lesson you have had the opportunity to learn. This will help keep you from making the same mistakes again.

Remember the old saying, a person who has never made a mistake, has never really lived.

What Could You Write In Your Own Gratitude Journal?

There are many reasons to keep a Gratitude Journal. Whether you’re on a self care journey or would like to add positivity to your daily life in order to live a freer and more content, writing down your thoughts is a powerful tool which is why Gratitude Journals are so popular.

If you’ve ever wanted to get started writing a Gratitude Journal or you are a complete novice and stuck for ideas of what to write about, try these ideas out and you’ll find that you will have plenty to write about in no time!


Get Into the Moment

Try to begin by taking a moment to center yourself. By using mindfulness or meditation to pause and empty your mind of thoughts, you start paying attention to where you are right now emotionally, physically, or even spiritually. Once you’re relaxed, let your mind drift where it will. Look for things to be thankful for. For example, you might hear the sound of your family, feel the warmth from the fire or even smell dinner cooking in the oven, nowadays these are pretty much forgotten in our daily lives but are all things to be grateful for, so write about them!


Ask Why

If you already have a grateful thought, try digging down a little deeper to find out what about this makes you feel so much gratitude. Ask why you feel this way, and keep asking why until you find the root. For example, you might be writing about how you’re grateful for the chance to have a cup of tea and a digestive biscuit that are on the table next to you and discover that you enjoy them because it reminds you of times that life was so chaotic that you couldn’t get 5 minutes to yourself but you can now find that time to take a moment back Be grateful for these achievements no matter how small you feel that they are.

Change Directions

If you’ve been writing about the same things every day, look for ways to discover gratitude in other areas of your life. Maybe you’ve been focusing on family for a while. If so, try turning toward past experiences, nature or even work for new inspiration. This can also motivate and empower us to move in a different direction in our working lives as well as our personal one.


Do Something Else

On those days when the thoughts aren’t coming your way, give yourself a break!

It isn’t a race, your in it for the long haul. Walk away and do something else for a bit, and attempt something a little mundane like emptying the dishwasher. Because you have done it so many times before, this task doesn’t require a thought process allowing your mind to drift through this activity. Sometimes things like this can provoke positive thoughts in themselves, perhaps coming across your favourite drinking cup because tea just doesn’t taste the same in anything else! What makes that cup so special, maybe it was bought for you by someone special or has happy memories of people or places attached to it that you are grateful to have in your life. Inspiration can be found in so many places and usually appears when we stop looking for it.

So Why You Should Keep a Gratitude Journal?

Spending just a few minutes a day writing in your gratitude journal can do amazing things in your life! Scientific studies have proven that showing gratitude on a consistent basis makes people happier and healthier. One of the best ways to get into the habit of practising gratitude is by keeping a journal. Here’s a short list of how a gratitude journal could have the potential to inject positivity into your daily life:

Achievement

A gratitude journal will help you note those simple things you achieve. You’ll also be aware of both big and little things in life that you have to be thankful for by recording in your journal.

Happiness

A gratitude journal keeps you happy because it keeps you focused on the good things that exist in your daily life. Once you start a gratitude journal, you will find that subconsciously, you are “on the lookout” for good things—both big and small. Imagine what all of our lives could be like if we focused more on the positive instead of negative!

Good health

Dis-ease is negative energy that has been stored up from your negative beliefs and memories. You can quickly counteract dis-ease by concentrating on the good in your life over the bad.

For me, when the health anxiety devil crept onto my shoulder, I didn’t realise how it was taking over my life until I was fully under it’s spell or how much of an impact it had on my thought process and feelings.

Journalling helped me identify that fact that I was in a negative though cycle and was the key to finding my way to stop that cycle and begin to manage it on a daily basis.

Earn more respect

Keeping a gratitude journal gives you the chance to understand the values of life. It makes you approach things in a more organised way thereby improving your level of respect and confidence not only amongst friends and colleagues but also towards yourself. Again, this was a huge factor for me when I began to journal.At that time in my life, I was going through a very tough situation and I felt that I had lost people who I believed were friends. The more that I began to look at things from a different perspective, the more I realised that I hadn’t actually lost anything but instead had gained respect for myself and no longer allowed them to have a negative impact on my life for they were clearly never friends in the true meaning of the word anyway to act as they did toward me

Enhance sleeping

Did you realise that people who keep gratitude journals tend to sleep better because they often reflect on their day before bed, allowing them to focus on positive thoughts before falling asleep which gives them a sense of calmness.


Less stress

Whether you are currently living in a stressful situation or just thinking back to one, your body doesn’t know the difference. It will still fire off all of those stress hormones and create the same physical, mental and emotional tension, whether or not the event is currently happening. By focusing on the positive in the here and now, can help to avoid the stress reaction.

Resiliency

You can think of gratitude as being a mental and emotional muscle that you can build with daily exercise. If stuff goes wrong in life and your gratitude muscle is weak, you’ll struggle to find a silver lining in those storm clouds. But if you already have an excellent daily gratitude habit, then your gratitude muscle will be resilient and well-trained, meaning life’s challenges don’t knock you off course as much.

Once you begin to journal in any way that is right for you, it’s surprising to see just how much there is to be grateful for.

I find that journalling is the gift that keeps on giving, not only have I found that the more you journal your gratitude, the more your own attitude will shift but I find them a fantastic keepsake. On those days that you feel you are not moving forward, its helpful to take a look back and reflect on how far you have come and more importantly, to give yourself the credit for that which you truly deserve!

“In order to appreciate the true beauty of our rainbow, we must first endure a little rain”

If you would like to take a look at my selection of journals and workbooks, please head over to my Etsy store here!

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