Gratitude is THE MOST powerful tool we have in our spiritual toolbelt. The simple practice of observing good all around you and giving thanks for it being there has been studied and proven to reduce anxiety, pain, as well as shift your mindset and energy so much so that it creates a “vortex” of miracles.
It is a way of life, something that can be strengthened and harnessed. So if you’ve been wanting to find a way to bring more of it into your life, perhaps build a gratitude practice of your own, I suggest starting with a journal.
Gratitude journaling is fun and can be as creative as you want it to be. There are no fast and hard rules to the journal you choose, the amount of time you write for, or the number of days you actually do it (though I often say more is better in this case). You even have free reign with the sort of content you choose to journal about — you’re the creator in this process.
With that being said, here’s the 101 to start a gratitude practice with journaling.
STEP 1: Choose a Journal
Find a journal you love and want to write in. A simple Google search will help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Like journals that are dedicated to gratitude and include prompts ready for you to dive into. I like these journals because it takes the thinking out of the practice allowing you to immerse yourself in the experience.
Like the Gratitude journal from MiGoals (pictured here) — A very simple journal with prompts to write 3 things you’re grateful for and space to unload your thoughts. There are also inspirational quotes as well as a list of 40 ways to bring more gratitude into your day-to-day life.
If you’re looking for a journal that probes with deeper questions you might like the gratitude journals from Papier.com.
Or any plain ol’ journal with pages for you to fill up however you want will work. This is your creation, this is your process, make it authentic to you so that you’ll be motivated and excited to stick with it.
STEP 2: Set Aside Time
Habits are formed quicker and easier if done at the same time consistently. Depending on your schedule and energy at any given time of day, deciding when you’ll journal will be something to consider. Try attaching it to an existing habit like having your morning coffee or reading before bed. Doing this will automatically give you dedicated time to write.
Step 3: Focus On The Benefits (not the activity itself)
Even something as easy as journaling will send your ego into overdrive, the new activity added to your schedule will feel foreign, and spending time with your thoughts may kick up some uncomfortable feelings. Be compassionate and remind yourself why you’re wanting to start this practice in the first place.
STEP 4: Start With Prompts
If you’re new to gratitude journaling, it can feel daunting to look at a blank page. Try writing using these simple prompts to get the gratitude flowing.
1: What is one thing that made you happy today?
2: What are five things you’re grateful for?
3: Who are two people you’re grateful for & why?
4: Do you believe expressing gratitude has a direct effect on your happiness? Why or why not?
5: What is something that makes you unique that you’re grateful for?
6: If you had to give up all of your possessions but three, which three would you keep and why?
7: Think about a time you were able to help someone else.
Step 5: Check-In With Yourself
The path to self-discovery is pretty much a journey of trial and error. If you try gratitude journaling and it’s not the vibe, perhaps there’s something else you could do like drawing or collecting pictures to create a sort of vision board that will inspire an attitude of gratitude.
Remember that what works for one person may not work for another. You just have to find the thing that does.
Now that you have the basics to getting started, you’re well on your way to cultivating a successful gratitude journaling practice. Please remember not to get too discouraged when starting your journal, it takes time to create a new habit. The positive effects are endless and sometimes it takes a minute for things to shift in a way that is super obvious. Have fun and happy journaling!!