Keeping and maintaining a gratitude journal is the perfect solution to a depressed, disorganized, and negative lifestyle. The pandemic of 2020 has taught us that life is unpredictable, and it can get rather weird difficult anytime, without any prior notice or warning. Stress is a common factor that rules everyone’s life in the present generation.
Regular journaling and gratitude journaling has always helped people efficiently tackle stress. While regular journaling has proved to improve the well-being of a person, a gratitude journal increases positivity and changes the outlook of a person towards their life. When it comes to gratitude journaling, the power of gratitude is immense.
All you need to do in a gratitude journal is sit down and list all the things that you are grateful for on that day. It’s as simple as that. You don’t need anything fancy for starting a gratitude journal; however, the results are worth much more.
You do not need to be harsh on yourself while you write in your gratitude journal. There could be days when you can easily write down at least 10 points in your gratitude journal, while some other day you feel like nothing grateful happened to you. You do not have to force yourself on those days.
Other days you might feel that you have no words to put your gratitude into a shape, and you keep on thinking about how to use gratitude in a sentence. Well, you could simply write “I am full of gratitude” and end it because it’s your journal, and it is enough if it just makes sense to you.
Research has found out that people who keep a gratitude journal are more likely to keep a positive mindset, improved self-esteem, and less stress in their life. With love and gratitude hand-in-hand, you will always find yourself in a state of euphoria and calmness.
The best thing is that once you start gratitude journaling, it becomes a habit very easily, and you no longer have to push yourself every day. When you feel depressed and blue, you just have to read back your gratitude journal, and you will surely find a way out of your sadness.
It will remind you of all the kindness, the great people, and happy incidents that happened in your life, thus be a company in your lonely hours. Simple activities such as waking up in the morning and getting a cold shower or simply sending a gratitude message to a friend will also increase your self-esteem and help you with the energy to continue your day with a big genuine smile on your face.
How to maintain a gratitude journal
Though keeping up with gratitude journaling is easy, but first, you have to start the gear and pull yourself for at least four weeks of continuous gratitude journaling. After all, the entire results are worth the push. If you are unsure on how to do gratitude practice or how could you successfully maintain a gratitude journal, then here are six points for you to follow –
1. Make sure to journal at least 15 minutes every day –
You could write anytime in your journal. However, remember to take out at least fifteen minutes from your busy schedule for this. I usually write before going to bed, and night time is the best to write in your gratitude journal after a long 24 hours of work.
If you tend to forget about journaling, keep an alarm clock set every day for fifteen minutes, or mark it in your calendar. Make it a routine in your daily chores.
For example, suppose you decide to write in your journal every night before going to sleep or every morning after waking up. In that case, you can keep your journal by your nightstand so that the last thing you notice before sleeping or the first thing you see after waking up is your gratitude journal. This will also give you the entire boost you need to start a day. It is a symbol of gratitude; thus, you will feel a sense of appreciation every time you will look at it.
2. Write at least 5 to 10 things in your gratitude journal every day –
Write as many things as you can in your gratitude journal. Aim for at least five to ten things on your list every day. Though I know it is practically impossible to find out five to ten grateful things in your life every day, in the beginning, you need to start with all the small things.
For example, if you love rain, you could just write “I’m grateful because it rained for long today and I sat on the balcony smelling petrichor,” or you could write “the rainbow in the sky after heavy rainfall made me feel happy” or anything that might not seem important to you or you have taken it as something casual.
After you have forced yourself to write in your journal for a few days, you will gradually see that it has become a habit for you. After that, you can skip a day or two or write whenever you feel right. Make bullet points while writing so that you can refer to it anytime you want, and it looks like an organized mess, something you are proud of.
3. Try to elaborate on each point and not just keep it vague –
While you are writing your five to ten points in your gratitude journal every day, try not to keep them vague. Try to explain the point in one or two sentences so that you get the same happiness you felt for the first time when you come back to them.
For example,- just don’t write, “I am grateful for having good food.” Instead, write what food made you happy and how you never thought that a portion of good food would be enough to make the rest of your day.
However, this is not compulsory for you to do every time. You can explain a point any time you wish or leave it as it is if you have no words to express the feeling. Times when you do not feel good, referring to these detailed incidents will help you relive these moments when you experienced happiness and will help you overcome your sadness now.
4. Your gratitude journal need not make sense to anyone else –
As this is your gratitude journal, you do not need to make it something pleasing to other people’s eyes. If you want to keep it simple and minimal, go for it, or if you want to decorate your gratitude journal with lots of drawings and washi-tapes, just do it.
Make it pleasing to your eyes so that you wish to get back to it every time. You can be brutally honest to it and write everything unfiltered because it is in a safe zone for your eyes only. After gratitude journaling for a year, you will be baffled as to how well it has helped you throughout the year and how better you know yourself now.
You will get clarity on what you want in your life and what needs to be cut off. You will get to know people who deserve your energy and time and people who do not deserve that. Thus make a gratitude journal that only makes sense to you and not to anyone else in the world.
5. You can fix any time of the day for your gratitude journal, as per your convenience –
Many people prefer the morning for their gratitude journaling, while many people prefer nighttime. The choice is all yours. You just need to keep aside all your worries, take out a few minutes from your life, and just focus on everything good that happened to you on that day. This way, you will realize that you are more grounded and can tackle any difficulty that life will throw upon you.
You can journal any time of the day, and you do not have to follow any rules while filling your gratitude journal. However, having a routine makes it easier. It is always advisable to take out a specific time every day from your routine for jotting down the points in your gratitude journal, but if you are not flexible with it, you can journal whenever suits you the best. The instant optimistic feeling you will have after the fifteen-minute journaling session would be beyond your imagination.
6. Your gratitude journal does not have to be structured and deep –
You can write whatever you wish, in any format, with any font. There might be days when you feel like decorating a page, while other days, you just have the strength to write down whatever comes to your mind. Your gratitude journal doesn’t have to follow a theme or have to be structured.
You do not have to fill it with deep philosophical quotes every time and make it look like a self-help book. You could just write mere incidents that made you feel thankful such as having dinner with your family or getting a good laugh with your friends.
You could write about the movie you watched today, the book that made you feel life is worth it, or even about the fact that you saw your crush in the school corridor today and how your heart did a summersault in your rib-cage. Every person is different, and everyone’s brain works differently. What seems grateful to you might not feel the same for someone else.
If you are procrastinating about starting a journal, then the right time to start a gratitude journaling is now! Grab a journal or a diary or a mere notebook and start filling it today. By the end of the month, you will feel thankful for starting a gratitude journal in the first place.