We’re just about halfway through this 31 day writing challenge and I am so happy to have had the opportunity to jump on in on this one! I have to say coming up with ideas and making the time to write every night is grueling but equally rewarding. I’m so grateful that so far I’ve been able to keep up with it!
Speaking of gratitude, Autumn is a perfect time to start taking stock of the blessings in your life. The year is winding down to a close, and we have the first opportunity during the year to kind of gain a little bit of a perspective on all the good things we’ve been graced with.
Many people actually have said that keeping track of your blessings can actually change your brain chemistry and have a lasting and positive effect on your emotional, physical and psychological well-being. One of the most popular ways of doing this is by getting yourself a journal (like this one or this other one) and writing them down.
I’ve seen a lot of families I know start this with their kids too, I think it’s a great idea to have them keep their blessings in mind.
But if you’re a bit apprehensive about the time commitment, have never been very good at journaling, or just want some tips on getting started and keeping at it I’ve come up with some helpful tips!
How to start (and stick to) a Gratitude Journal (with some memes thrown in):
1.) Establish a minimum– If you start off trying to write every day after having never written every day you’re going to feel pressured rushed and overwhelmed. Instead, start with doing a weekly reflection. Add it to your morning tea time or your going to bed ritual, some time that’s already allocated YOU time. This will make establishing the habit so much easier.
2.) Shoot for 21 entries to start– They say it takes 21 days to establish a new habit since you’ll be starting off only doing once a week shoot for 21 entries instead. It’s just enough time for you transition from something being a novelty to something becoming routine.
3.) Go for quality not quantity– Even if your entry is just one item, make that item something very meaningful. You don’t just want to go through the motions, you really want to take some time to consider your blessings and enjoy that feeling of gratitude as you write. Short meaningful entries will be much more rewarding to you in the long run than entries packed full of shallow thoughts.
4.) Elaborate– Anyone can write a list of things that they’re grateful for, have a nice big yawn and go to bed. If you want to create lasting change in your life the way to do it is to describe why, how, or for what reason you are grateful for that particular thing you’ve chosen to give gratitude for.
5.) Try to Change it Up– Are there certain things you will be thankful for every day (like breathing…definitely thankful for that…)? Absolutely. Should you constantly repeat the same things?…probably not. Try to come up with at least one to two new things to be grateful for each time you write.
6.) Engage your other senses– Press your favorite flowers in your journal pages, paste in concert tickets to that band you loved, photos, prayer cards, whatever you can think of that you can fit in the pages and don’t be afraid to get creative. Let your gratitude journal be full of precious things, it doesn’t have to be just writing alone.
7.) Be a little counter-intuitive– If you’re struggling to get a little deeper with your gratitude gut check, try to imagine what your life would be like without that particular blessing, and describe those changes it would have in your life. That can be very helpful.
8.) Focus on People– We already know how much we just LOVE our physical belongings. Just try to wrench a person’s smartphone away from them (Hint: it gets scary real quick). But it’s even more meaningful to focus on special people in your life, and experiences in addition to being grateful for just material objects.
9.) Stay Positive– We all have days where we get a little sassy, maybe even a little passive aggressive when we’re forced to think about our blessings when we’re in a bad mood. It might be hard sometimes but try to keep your journal filled with pure and true positive entries and save the sassiness for when you wear the sassy pants.
Do you keep a gratitude journal? Thinking of starting? Any other things you’d want to add to this list? Let me know in the comments section below!