While organizing my digital files, I stumbled upon two journals that I forgot I even created. One of those journals is my Gratitude Journal. It was in 2008, before expressing gratitude became what it has become in recent years, that I created my journal. My sister heard of a woman who mentally noted each day, every day, three things that she was thankful for. I liked the idea so much that I extended it further and decided to keep a journal. My goal for that journal was to write what I was grateful for each day and I felt it would be beneficial to see if what I was grateful for changed over time. I also felt it would be helpful to be reminded of my gratitude during the days or moments in life when it may be hard for me to see the good. When I started this journal it was at a time of my life when I was in transition and searching for peace of mind, which is why I feel I liked the idea so much. During my month of writing I have noticed that many of my friends, like myself, are in transition with careers, lifestyles and beliefs. While life has taught me that everything will work out, it is only recently where I have learned or somewhat mastered being calm when life feels like its in chaos. If you are struggling to find things to be thankful for or struggling to find happiness in the small, here are some tips on how to create and keep your own gratitude/ happiness journal.
Step 1: Create or buy a journal.
Either buy a journal big or small, lined or not or whatever your prefer. Make sure the journal is something you feel comfortable writing in. It sounds silly, but some journals are more friendly or inviting to write in than others. If you feel extra creative you can craft your own journal. Or keep a digital journal.
Step 2: Review your day.
Each day reflect on your day. Think about the major events that happened like getting a promotion, giving birth or getting flowers. Also think about the smaller events that happened like having 30 minutes to yourself or getting a nice complement. If you are having trouble thinking of the big and small, think of the things you have every day. Like the full function of our body or being able to eat a meal each morning etc.
Step 3: Write down the top three things you are thankful for.
Once you have reviewed your day, write down the three top things you are thankful for that specific day.
Step 4: Repeat.
Repeat steps 1 -4 for 30 days. After the first month, if it is getting easier for you to think of three things to be thankful for, then add a fourth thing to be thankful for for the next 30 days. And after the third month think of a fifth thing you are thankful for and so on. Overtime it should be easier to reflect on your day and identify what you are thankful for. And overtime you will be able to express graduate in the moment when that thing you are grateful for occurs. For example when my friends give me advice that I need to hear, which rings particularly true for me, I thank them on the spot for that specific truth or piece of knowledge that brought me to a deeper understanding.
If you don’t want to keep a journal you may want to consider a gratitude jar. Find a mason jar and decorate it as you wish. Each day write down one thing that you are thankful for on a piece of paper. Place that note in the jar. Do this daily for a year. At the end of the year pull out the notes to review and reflect. Or refer back to those notes during the hard moments in life.
To get started on your personal gratitude journey this “Emotional Flood” video, by Tony Robbins, featured on Oprah’s Life Class will help you think both large and small about the things in your life that are areas of happiness of gratitude.
Have a great weekend.