Starting a Gratitude Journal

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The last couple of weeks have been filled with losses. Some of you may have lost your jobs or your health, and we’ve all lost our ability to go about our regular routines and interact with family and friends. It’s been a tough time for all of us, emotionally and otherwise. That’s why there is no better time to redirect our focus to all that remains; all the things that we are so grateful to still have.

A gratitude journal is the perfect way to develop the gratitude mindset we so desperately need in times like these. The simple act of writing down the things we appreciate in our lives can have immeasurable benefits – better sleep, better overall health and more feelings of happiness. And, who doesn’t want that right about now? You can purchase a gratitude journal or you can use any notebook or paper to get started. Below are some ways to get the most out of your gratitude journal experience.

  1. Make regular entries. To really see the benefits of a gratitude journal, consistency is key. Some people like to start their day by listing the things they’re grateful for, while others prefer to end their night by reflecting on the things that made them happy that day. Still others like to bookend their days with morning and evening entries and some prefer to write once a week. Whatever you prefer, just make sure you’re keeping up a regular practice of journaling.
  2. Be specific. When I first started this practice using my Panda Planner, I would usually write a fairly generic list: I’m grateful for my home, my family, my health. While these are, of course, things to be grateful for, the more specific you can get, the greater the benefits you’ll experience. For example, rather than simply writing “I’m grateful for my family,” I can instead write something like, “I’m grateful for the conversation that my husband and I had at dinner. I appreciated how he made me laugh about that conference call mishap and feel more relaxed when I was feeling anxious and tense about working from home with the kids.”
  3. Keep it Short. While you may have a long list of things to add to your gratitude journal (lucky you!), try to focus on 3-5 things for each entry. This will allow you to really hone in on what makes those things so special and how they make you feel.

Do you keep a gratitude journal? If so, how has it helped you?

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