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Why is is that being grateful can change your life? For me, I was inspired to start writing a gratitude journal by one of my mentors – being told that it would lower stress levels, and bring about a greater sense of calm before sleep. Bonus, I thought. But I remained unconvinced that being grateful can change your life.
What I found out straight away
What I didn’t fully anticipate is that although writing down positive events from the day and being consciously grateful for all the wonderful blessings in my life would bring give me the ability to focus on what is truly important; it also served as an antidote to negative (and useless) emotions like anger, jealousy, a sense of not being enough, cynicism, etc.
For me, that is the true magic of practicing deliberate gratitude. Your heart can’t feel negative emotions if its bursting with positive ones – they just can’t live together. Imagine the quality of sleep you get when all dark thoughts are firmly boxed away for the night? When those niggles are tucked away for another day? It’s a thing of beauty and so easy to do.
What kind of journal?
For my first journal, I found it easier to buy a kind of formatted one – so I got ‘The 6-Minute Diary” from Amazon. Very simple and helped me guide my thoughts. And 6 minutes is really all it takes to feel more peaceful, thankful, calm, and in touch with yourself before sleep – WOWZERS! who knew?
My top tips:
- Plan to make it a regular thing before bed – the more your journal consistently the more profound it is (it doesn’t have to be every single day, but several times a week)
- Leave 10-15 minutes of peaceful and tranquil time and have it by the side of your bed, ready with a pen, light, etc.
- The list of things you are grateful for doesn’t have to be deep – it can be something simple and straightforward – like the roof over my head, family…
- On days when you feel sad or stressed, read back through your journal, it really helps.
- You can write as few or as many things as you want – I usually aim for 5-10 but sometimes its 20 and sometimes its 3.
- Your journal is for your eyes only, a great place to explore how you really feel about people, topics, issues, etc.
- At the beginning a guided journal may be helpful but later on you can just buy pretty notebooks that are a thing of beauty.
- There is no wrong or right way to journal; enjoy the process.
If you would like any more advice or help on gratitude journaling, please feel free to reach out to me on my contact page. Any thoughts or comments on this post, I would love to hear them.
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