This week I’d like to talk about gratitude journals. I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal for a while now, and I’ve even encouraged my kids to start one too, which is just the cutest thing ever! Alright, they get a biscuit at the end if they can think of three things they’re grateful for that day. But I figure a little bribery is just setting them up for good habits of positive thinking and recognising and giving thanks for the little things in life.
We have so many negative thoughts swirling round in our mind that half the time we don’t even know what we’re telling ourselves. It’s just automatic. To write down what we’re grateful for or happy about starts putting positive thoughts back into our head and eventually creates a new habit; a new way of thinking. It can be the simplest of things. I often write down things I’m grateful for, nice things people have done for me, nice things I’ve done for others, things that have made me happy. It’s a good reference to look back on at a later date when the world seems like such a horrible place, as a reminder that actually it’s not. That person that let you out at a junction when you could see people getting impatient behind you and your anxiety levels were going through the roof might just have changed your whole day for the better. Acknowledge it!
I like to write ten things I’m grateful for every morning. As soon as I wake up I grab a cup of tea and I start listing on my phone. It only takes a couple of minutes, but it just sets me up for the day. But you may prefer to write things at night, maybe just before you go to bed and go to bed with happy memories of that day. Or you could even write your list first thing and add to it at bedtime or re-read it before you go to sleep. Whatever works best for you.
I do often say things I’m grateful for out loud on the way to work while I’m driving. I challenge myself to see how far I can drive on the same monotonous journey whilst giving thanks. Even if I’m clutching at straws saying thanks for the fact I own a car, the fact I can afford petrol, the fact my car is running without needing repairs. In reality they are all things we should be grateful for. I can be very competitive in an attempt to beat where I got to the day before, even if it is only to outdo myself. But if you try and fit it in wherever it best fits your schedule you’ll soon find it just becomes this amazingly uplifting habit.
Today I had a killer migraine. My worst yet. I could have gone to bed cursing the fact I’d lost a day of my life, been in so much pain, left my house in a mess and missed the chance to see my kids take part in activities at their school fair. Instead my gratitude journal read:-
Today I am grateful for:-
- Finally being migraine free. I feel fantastic and ready to cleanse my body and appreciate my migraine-free time. I am also grateful for the moments my little girls massaged my head or brushed my hair in an attempt to make me feel better.
- My husband for taking the girls to the school fair when I was too ill to get out of bed even though he was supposed to be working from home today and will have to catch up on all that work tonight.
- Finding my motivation to blog and come up with some creative ideas.
- That first wanting of food after a period of being sick. Food never tasted so good.
- My mum for helping me and taking my youngest when I couldn’t cope with the noise any more, even though she had my nephews too and she’s having the girls tomorrow.
Now the reality of my day was that my husband was not at all pleased that I was ill and had actually made me feel very guilty for messing up his day by inconveniently having a migraine. But the point of this is that he did still take the girls to the fair, and for that I am grateful. That is the memory of today I want to acknowledge and remember. Not anything negative that was said before that!
So you can see from that how easy it is to find even just 5 things to be grateful for on what turned out to be a day of sickness. And I have literally not even got out of my bed all day!
I like to also end my gratitude journal for the day with a positive affirmation. I don’t know why, I just started doing it as a little extra thing to do. And it felt a good time to do it when I was feeling so positive. So I often write little things like ‘I am hopeful’, ‘I am adventurous’, ‘I am moving in positive directions with my life’. And these affirmations are often linked to the things I’ve been grateful for that day, so I find them easy to think of at that moment. You may want to do something more with those affirmation than just write them. You may want to meditate on them, create some art work with them, say them repeatedly before you go to sleep, or even do yoga moves as you repeat them. Whatever feels good for you is the way to go! But if you’re going to think of a quick affirmation to sum up your day it is the perfect time to be inspired!
I just use my phone to quickly list, but there are lots of purposely written gratitude journals out there. Let me know if you already use one, which one you have chosen and why!
Happy gratitude journaling!!!!