In my blog, Increase Gratitude in 6 Ways to Feel Less Stressed, I mentioned keeping a gratitude journal. In this blog, I share my 9 top tips to make it work for you. This will give you easy ways to make keeping a gratitude journal a habit. This can have a huge impact on your ability to be more optimistic and feel less stressed and worried.
Choose Your Gratitude Journal Method
It might be that you like to write and feel more in flow when you pick up a pen and a nice notebook as your gratitude journal. If you prefer typing you might use a suitable APP or the notes APP on your computer. It doesn’t matter too much as there is not one right way to keep a gratitude journal. Just make sure it is something you are happy with.
Choose How to Record in Your Gratitude Journal
Once you have decided where to record, you can choose how to record. Some people write in sentences whilst others keep a bullet-pointed list. The key here is that the where and how should suit you. This is something you want to become a regular habit so make sure it is an enjoyable process for you.
Choose Your Time
Once you have decided your format, it is important to decide when you are going to record your gratitude. The evening is one time to write with gratitude as it provides a positive way to end the day. Sitting down last thing at night and reflecting on the wonders of your day makes you fall asleep feeling good. You may find that it has a positive effect on your sleep patterns too. You are also helping to train your subconscious mind to find more positive in your life.
You can also record gratitude in the morning so that you start the day filled with positive thoughts. Again, by focusing on the positive, you will find that your mind notices more positives as you go through the day.
Make it a Routine
Once you have chosen your time of day, the key now is to be consistent. As with any new routine, it can be hard at first to make it happen every day. Try to be consistent then you will find that after about month, you will miss it if you don’t do it.
When you are starting out, you can trick your mind into taking on the new routine. You can leave the journal on your pillow or where you know you are going to be last thing at night. You can also put a reminder in your phone or set an alarm. Push on through the first few weeks and soon it will be part of your normal daily routine.
Decide How Many Things to Record in Your Gratitude Journal
Set yourself a goal for how many things you are going to write about and stick to it. You can write in a bullet-pointed list, in sentences or in paragraphs, it is up to you. Make sure you are consistent as this is key in setting up a new routine. I write between about 5/6 things each day.
When I first started my gratitude journal, I was quite general in what I wrote about. I wrote about the things that I had all the time like my health and a roof over my head. It is good to be grateful for those things but remember, that the aim is to rewire your brain for gratitude. It is almost like you are tuning in your gratitude radar. When you have to look for new things every day, you become more alert throughout the day.
Say Why …
If you are writing your gratitude in sentences, try writing ‘because’ on the end of the sentence. Say ‘why’ you are grateful for that thing. An example of this might be: I am grateful that I found a parking space today because it meant I got to my meeting on time.
Focus on Things You Would Like to Improve
If you have an area of your life that you are working on try focusing your gratitude on that area. This could be a relationship, job, home or any area of your life. Try noticing and recording the good things about that area. Focus on what you appreciate rather than homing in on the things which you do not like. It is amazing how this can change how you feel about that relationship or area of your life.
Use Your Gratitude Journal to Raise Your Self-Esteem
We are often not very good at noticing the good qualities in ourselves. When growing up, we are not encouraged to praise ourselves for the fear of becoming ‘Big Headed’. But, the ability to see the good in ourselves raises our self-esteem and makes us nicer people to be around. People with high self-esteem tend to be successful in most aspects of their lives.
Your gratitude journal can be a vital tool to raise your self-esteem. Make at least one of your gratitudes about you and notice how this improves how you feel about yourself. For example, ‘I am grateful for my motivation today because I wrote a new blog and sorted all my email’
Get Started with Your Gratitude Journal and Feel More Positive
If you apply the advice in this blog you will be able to get started with recording gratitude. You will start to feel the benefits of noticing the world around you in a more positive way. If you are struggling with stress and tend to see the world in a negative way, I can help. Hypnotherapy can re-program your mind to be more positive. Then you can relate to the world with less stress and help raise your self-esteem.