Give Yourself a Boost
What if there was a fairly simple method to reduce your daily stress, sleep better at night, feel happier and healthier, rev up your motivation, and improve mindfulness? Happily, all you need to do to experience all of these wonderful things is write five sentences into a journal every single week. That’s it!
What’s the Secret?
You have to believe. Like Peter Pan, the magic behind gratitude journaling is that you believe. Specifically, you must believe there is much in your life to be grateful for. The key to gratitude journaling is not to discover that your life is a blessing, but to highlight the wonderful things that already happen but fail to impact you in a positive way because you don’t reflect on them deeply.
And ‘deeply’ is a key word, because each sentence is not just an item on a grocery list. It is the chance to relive them and reflect on how they affect you. When you reflect on something small, you give your mind the chance to consider why it is important, no matter how small it is. It opens your eyes to the simplicity of life’s greatest rewards, because, quite frankly, the best things are so simple it’s easy to miss many of them.
Not Just Another To-Do List Item
If you are going to give this method a try, it shouldn’t be a daily task. It should, instead, be a peaceful, weekly moment. It is a chance to go back through your week and remember a few of the ideas or special moments that caught you off-guard.
Living these moments tends to have a numbing effect, and so can reflecting on them too often. Hence only journaling once a week so that it never gets old or becomes just another task to be done without joy. Journaling is not an assignment, there are no due dates, grades, grammar, or a single right way to do it.
It’s Not Just About Being Grateful
Your mind is incredible at adapting to things. If you bought yourself a really cool gift every single day, it would lose its excitement after the first couple of weeks. And this is what happens when mysterious outcomes and amazing moments unfold around you every single day.
It is difficult to be truly grateful without giving yourself a moment to reflect on it with thought, creativity, and imagination. Suddenly that orange sunset takes on a new meaning that can bring a smile to your face throughout the next week. But any amount of positivity can eventually fizzle out, which is why if you keep your journal active weekly as opposed to daily, you will always have something fresh to look back on.
What Should Go into a Gratitude Journal
It can be an idea, observation, or a group of keywords that trigger a longer story or event that happened either recently or a long time ago. The reason a journal works is because when you write it out you take ownership. It allows you to see the words, the way you have chosen to write them, and experience that moment all over again. This is how you discover new meaning you might have missed the first time around. Here are some examples:
- Big Things: Think about the sights and sounds that took your breath away. The things that happened that completely surprised you, and the moments when you realized that you could not live without something you already have. And as the weeks pass, you can delve even deeper, by looking at the people in your life and how they ‘gift you’ with their presence.
- Small Things: Think about the simple things that make you happy. It is easy to say, “I love chocolate eclairs because they are yummy.” But there’s more to it. Maybe they remind you of something that was made for you as a kid, or a bakery you used to frequent with a loved one.
- Misinterpretations: As you consider what makes you grateful, you might begin see moments that may have initially been interpreted as negative, and gain some form of positivity such as a rainy day that triggered flowering trees, or the death of a loved one that rekindled fond memories you had long forgotten.
Connecting the Dots
Having these moments in one book allows you to flip around and discover even deeper meanings, such as certain people, places, or events that tend to elicit happiness and a sense of thankfulness. Your life can be a blessing if you choose to remember it that way – and this is one path that may lead to such a happy ending.
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