How Keeping a ‘Gratitude Journal’ Makes for a Happier Life
Whether a loved one has died recently, or you are still healing from a loss that occurred years ago, you know sometimes it is hard to find happiness when dealing with grief. You’ve always been told to “count your blessings,” but that can seem impossible when you’re overcome with negative emotions. Although it may be hard to focus on what you have to be grateful for, taking the time and making the effort to start a gratitude journal can be so beneficial. It can sound especially daunting to someone with a busy schedule; another thing to remember to do every day! But we believe you will find it is well worth your time. Here are some of the positive things that can come from the regular practice of writing down what you are grateful for:
- It lowers your stress levels so you may feel calmer when it’s time to settle in for the night.
- It helps you become more self-aware, noticing how the little day-to-day experiences make you feel.
- It allows you to focus on what is really important so you can gain a new perspective and clarity on what you want to have more of in your life.
- When you are feeling down, you have the ability to read your previous entries and remind yourself that you are surrounded by love and have so many good things in your life. This is one of the reasons that the physical record is important. Don’t just do the exercise in your head!
For this to really be beneficial, you should aim to write in your gratitude journal on a nightly basis. Try to make it a routine – carve out 10 to 15 minutes every night to reflect on the day. You can even set a reminder on your phone or calendar if you think it will help. If you can’t commit to once a day, try once a week. Make a commitment to yourself and be sure to honor it. Aim to write 5 to 10 things down in your journal, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself; go for quality over quantity.
Your entries don’t have to be deep or profound; maybe you are thankful for the delicious breakfast you had or the good book you just started. Just try to be specific. That way, it is easier to focus on why you are grateful for those things. Consider sharing your reflections with your family and friends. If you are grateful for someone’s friendship, let them know! You may just inspire them to think about their own gratitude. The most important thing is to reflect on the people, events, experiences, and things that brightened your day, and relive those warm emotions all over again. Especially on the hard days.
Please know we are always available for any help or guidance that you may have! Thanks for reading and take care.
-The Staab Family