“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say thank you?”– William Arthur Ward
Why is it that he gets to go on exotic vacations while I have to stay at home? Why does she have such flawless skin while mine is all blemished? Why does he have a fancy car while all I have is a crappy old car?
It’s all too easy to whine about what we don’t have, but are we thankful for everything else we do have?
The small things that we take for granted every day might be everything someone else is praying for. There’s a homeless person on the street who wishes he could live in a house like yours. A visually impaired girl, desperately desiring to at the least see her own face. And a guy on the sidewalk hoping he could own that car you call crappy!
Only when we reflect on all the things we already have, do we realize that we are actually living a very abundant life! You attract what you think. The more we focus on the good, the more bountiful our life will become. If we keep sulking about the things we don’t have, that is what we are ultimately attracting. MEAGERNESS & DEARTH!
That is why gratitude journals are so important. They help us develop a sense of satisfaction in life by shifting our focus to what is there rather than what isn’t.
So, what exactly is a gratitude journal?
Wikipedia puts it simply as,
“A gratitude journal is a diary of things for which one is grateful.“
That is the simplest definition of gratitude journals, and it is also all that is required. Just as the name implies, it is writing down things you are grateful for in a journal. You can include anything and everything that you want to express thankfulness to.
And why is it so important?
So, if you haven’t already made up your mind to keep a gratitude journal, let me share some fantastic benefits of having one with you!
1. It Makes you a Happier Person.
Having gratitude journals, as I mentioned, increases satisfaction. When you stop comparing your life to others, you are filled with positivity, and your self-esteem gradually shoots up. Overall, it aids in the development of a much more positive outlook on life. In the long run, this makes you a much happier person.
2. Reduces the stress induced by materialistic wants.
The desire for more is a rat race you do not want to be a part of. You’ll never be able to get over your craving for newer things. When you learn to appreciate what you already have, you’ll be able to curb your desires to a greater extent. This dissociation from the cycle of lusts and wants makes you a more relaxed person.
3. Improves your physical and mental health.
According to several studies, expressing gratitude can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. It enhances your mood and makes you more optimistic.
It has also been found to significantly boost immunity. Thus reducing the risk of diseases. Once you begin to practice gratitude regularly, your body will eventually be free of physical tension, stiffness, and knots.
4. It improves your sleep.
Writing down in your gratitude journal just before heading to bed can do wonders for your sleep. As you fill your thoughts with all the positives of the day, you are less likely to stay awake pondering about unnecessary problems and apprehensions. This ensures that you have a good night’s sleep and that you wake up feeling refreshed and energized the next day.
5. It helps you become the best version of yourself.
Gratitude journals can help you improve yourself in every way. It increases your enthusiasm for life in general. People who practice thankfulness are more likely to help others better their lives. You will become a more compassionate and kinder person. Wouldn’t the world be a much more beautiful place if more people practiced gratitude? Where we help one another in becoming the best versions of ourselves.
So, here’s the big question. How Do You Start a Gratitude Journal?
I’m guessing you’ve grasped the importance of keeping gratitude journals by now. So, let me share with you a few pointers about how you can start one. But before I begin, there is one thing I want you to keep in mind at all times. There is no right or wrong way to keep a gratitude journal! These are only a few pointers to help you get started. And as you become more familiar with journaling, you will develop your own style that is unique to you and suits you.
1. Keep things simple.
Your journal does not have to be very fancy! Just a simple notebook. And you’re ready to go!
P.S. If you enjoy keeping a fancy diary, by all means, do so. Whatever it is that brings you joy.
I recommend writing on paper rather than typing on a phone because it feels really much nicer, and I prefer to limit my phone usage. However, if that is your preference, there are numerous digital journaling apps available out there! Presently, Reflectly: Diary, Gratitude journal & Mood Tracker, and Three Good Things are a few such apps.
2. Find your frequency.
You do you! You can journal daily, three times a week, twice a week, or even once a week! Every individual is unique. Gratitude journaling should be something you enjoy doing rather than something you have to do out of compulsion.
Find the frequency that works best for you. Once you’ve made a decision, make sure you stick to it!
3. Consistency is everything!
The magic word here is CONSISTENCY! Don’t give up after a week. Try it for at least a month or two before you begin seeing results.
It is preferable to set aside a specific time to write in your journal, say after dinner? Or any time that works well for you. This is simply to ensure that journaling becomes a habit and that you don’t forget to do it!
4. Specificity in your Gratitude Journals is essential.
The more specific you are in your writing, the better. Instead of writing down 25 vague, short sentences, it would be more meaningful to write 5 specific things.
As an example, “I am thankful that I woke up this morning feeling energized and in good health. I am grateful for this gift of life that the universe has bestowed upon me.”
is far better than,
“I am grateful for this life.”
5. Begin with the basics
Having to write in a journal regularly may seem daunting at first. So, at times you may feel like you have nothing to write about. That’s OK. Give yourself some time.
Find the simple things that are right within sniffing distance! Like your family, your life, food, and even your clothes are things you can be thankful for!
6. People, the universe, and you!
Apart from material possessions, there are three things for which you should be grateful.
1. Thank everyone in your life for helping you in times of need or for simply being there for you. I like to think of animals as people as well! After all, my dog deserves appreciation for all the unconditional love he has shown me! Right? Don’t worry, kitties, I remember you too.❤
2. Thank the universe for all of the blessings it has bestowed upon you. Being alive is a gift in and of itself! Your loved ones’ and your own health are a gift! The air you breathe, the water you drink, and the soil you walk on are all gifts for which you should be grateful!
3. Finally, but still, equally importantly, express gratitude to yourself! It may sound strange, but it is necessary! You deserve a pat on the back for believing in yourself, working to improve yourself, and, most importantly, learning to be grateful!
To conclude this post, I’d like to share another William Arthur Ward quote with you:
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it!”-William Arthur Ward
So, whether in your gratitude journals or in person, don’t forget to express gratitude!