Gratitude journaling is a beautiful way to remind yourself of all that you are thankful for. It is a great way to remind ourselves that we are truly blessed and fortunate – no matter how tough things may feel sometimes. This is part 3 of our de-stress series and is certainly one of my favourite ways to reshape your view of your world.
Why is it important to shift your perception?
For those of you that have been following our de-stress blog series, you’ve heard me talk about the importance of perception before. It’s such an important idea that I’m going to reemphasize it once more. The more you hear it, the more you can start taking control. Your perception of the events in your life, of yourself, and of the people you surround yourself with determines not just how you feel every day but it also determines what kind of world you live in. That’s right, your perception is strong enough to alter the reality you live in. If day in and day out your default thinking is negative, more negative situations will continue to present themselves because that is what you are primed to accept as true. If you look at the world as a beautiful place that always provides for you then more good will continue to come your way. This concept can even be seen at a chemical level in our body because our perception can determine which hormones/chemicals we produce in response to our environment. If see the world as stressful, then stress hormones are produced. If we see the world as lovely, then positive feel-good hormones are released. So, this is more than just a concept about how to live your life, it is a biological fact. Happiness is in reach. Love can always be all around you. You are in control. It all comes down to being willing to start taking one small step at a time (never too much at once to overwhelm), and being forgiving to yourself when you fall back into old habits.
Perception is everything. “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re right” Henry Ford.
Gratitude Journals – A step in the right perception.
Writing a gratitude journal is a wonderful way to start painting your world with positive colours. The concept is super simple. Here’s how you do it:
Pick a time of day – one that you can keep consistent like first thing in the morning or right before you go to bed. Write down three to five things that you are grateful for. It is that simple. That’s it, that’s all, you are done!
How much of a difference can this make in your life? This simple task can make a world of a difference to you. How? By writing down what you are grateful for you are adapting an attitude of gratitude. An attitude of gratitude means that you are appreciating the world around you, appreciating the small things that you have been blessed with, and are recognizing that no matter what is going on in your life there are always positives to be thankful for. Doing a gratitude journal in the morning, right when you wake up can be great because it starts the day with a smile, and for the rest of the day I am thankful. I am thankful for all of the small things that come my way. I also enjoy doing it before bed because it helps me reflect on my day. It helps me look back and realize that there were lots of small moments that I can appreciate. Do which ever feels right for you.
Gratitude helps raise your vibration. If your perception is one of gratitude you will start to attract more things in your life that you can be grateful for. Your eyes begin to open to all of the beautiful things around you that you may mistake for mundane or may take for granted when not practicing an attitude of gratitude. So go ahead, and give it a try, appreciate your world and watch things shift around you.
Do I have to write it down?
Yes – Write down what you are grateful for at least for a month to start. Writing it down helps to make the thoughts more real for you and will help you build habit. By writing down what you are grateful for, you get to think, see, and practice gratitude. This allows you to really absorb your words. If after a month you trust yourself to stay consistent and want to try saying things you are grateful for in your head or out loud instead, go for it as long as you hold yourself accountable! If you decide to go this route, link thinking of what you are grateful for with a daily activity like a morning shower or morning coffee. Gratitude journaling works best because it helps to create a long term habit so you don’t slip back into old ways – writing down what you are grateful for is a wonderful way to make sure you don’t forget to take time to appreciate. I keep my journal right beside my bed.
Do I have to do it every day?
No – If doing a gratitude journal every day feels like an overwhelming commitment, choose a number of days that you are comfortable with. The point here is to help you adopt an attitude of gratitude. If every day feels like a chore to you, then do it in a way you can enjoy. You should be able to take solace in this activity. Use it as a time to calm yourself, find peace, feel love and be comfortably alone with yourself and your thoughts. If every day doesn’t work for you, here are some ideas of how to time it: Every week day, every other day, a select three or four times a week. I would suggest nothing less than three or four times a week – it needs to be enough that you will remember you are making gratitude a goal of yours and frequent enough to help change your thinking. My challenge to you would be to give it a solid try – aim for 5-7 days if possible for one month. Feel the difference!
If I miss a day, I make a point of saying thanks in my head because I love the way showing gratitude makes me feel. It can turn a blah day around in a second so I also repeat what I am grateful for when I find myself stressed to help pull me out of it.
What if I can’t think of anything to say?
When you start writing a gratitude journal you may find yourself reaching for things to say because you forget how much around you there is to really appreciate. That is okay. It takes practice. Don’t be afraid to repeat some of the things you said on previous days if you need to. This is not meant to stress you out. It will slowly open your world. Try for one new thing each day if you can. You can be grateful for literally anything around you!
Here are some examples of what I have been grateful for in the past month:
I am grateful for my loving family. I am grateful that I have friends who I care about like family. I am grateful that I woke up in a warm bed this morning. I am grateful for the food I eat to nourish my body. I am grateful that I have clean water to drink. I am grateful that I can take a warm shower. I am grateful that a stranger held the elevator an extra second for me today. I am grateful for the smiles I got from strangers on my way to work today. I am grateful for my health. I am grateful for everyone who reads this journal. I am grateful to be able to share how much this means to me in a blog. I am grateful for the pen and paper I have to write a journal in. I am grateful for the sun. I grateful to hear the birds sing. I am grateful for this time spent reflecting on how blessed my world is.
The list goes on and on. There is nothing to big or too small for gratitude.
Give it a try and watch your world change! Let us know what you think.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
With deep appreciation and gratitude,