(This post was last updated on: 01/20/2023.) I have been looking into how to start a gratitude journal in the new year. It will be one of my goals for this year. I bought a gratitude journal and can’t wait to start!
What is a Gratitude Journal?
A gratitude journal is simply a way to reflect and document one thing you are grateful for each day. It can be in a formal journal like I bought or it could easily be added into your planner each day.
By practicing gratitude daily, it helps us focus on the positive aspects of life. If you can find one good thing on even the worst days, it will help give you a positive attitude and outlook on life.
I think it helps keep things in perspective. Because on the worst day, if you can find something good that came out of that day, it will help you realize that maybe things aren’t so bad. There is something positive to look forward to the next day. And even in the worst times in our life, we can learn valuable lessons and that is something to be grateful for.
What are the Benefits of Starting a Gratitude Journal?
Well we already touched on this a bit in the previous section, but there are many benefits to starting a gratitude journal that make it worthwhile to do on a daily basis.
- Mental Health- By focusing on the positive and what you are grateful for in your life, it can help keep your mood positive and prevent feeling depression or anxiety.
- Stress Relief- The practice of journaling can relieve stress just like yoga, meditation or exercise.
- Sleep Better- By reducing your stress level and taking a moment to reflect on your day, it can result in a better night’s rest.
- Minimalist Lifestyle- By focusing on what you have, not what you don’t have, you can free up space in your life (mentally & physically) for what is most important in your life.
- Insight- Through gratitude journaling, you can gain better insight into your life, mood, purpose and why you are the way you are/ why you do the things you do.
- Empathy for Others- When you focus on what is good in your life, even on your darkest days, you can develop more empathy for others by realizing other people are also going through tough times.
- Stronger Relationships- Whether you gain more self esteem and self confidence through your daily practice of gratitude journaling or you gain more insight into healthy and toxic relationships in your life, you can build stronger relationships with yourself and those around you.
How to Start a Gratitude Journal:
When starting any new habit, take it slow and start small. Set a daily goal for yourself to take 5 minutes during your bedtime routine to write down 1-2 sentences in your gratitude journal. Most experts say it takes 20-30 days to incorporate a new habit into your daily routine. By keeping it small, you are more likely to succeed. By setting your goal too big or complicated, you will set yourself up for failure. Basically, keep it simple.
Try to commit to writing 1-2 sentences daily in your journal. Think of one thing each day to be grateful for. You don’t need to list numerous good things that happened throughout your day; just one. Some days it may seem tough to find just one good thing, so don’t stress out about trying to create a huge list every single day.
Figure out when you will have time to journal each day. I think making this part of your bedtime routine would be the easiest. But depending on your schedule, you may want to do it after dinner instead of watching tv. Or you may want to do it while you are waiting in the car pick up line at your child’s school. Whatever works best for you is what you should do.
The one thing I definitely would recommend avoiding is waiting until the next day to document in your gratitude journal. If you are thinking it would be easy to incorporate this new habit into your morning routine, I would advise against it. I think if you wait until the next morning, you will easily forget everything that happened the day before.
Do you use a daily gratitude journal? What are your best tips for using a gratitude journal? Leave your recommendations in a comment below! I love to read your feedback.
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