Creating a Gratitude Journal

IMG_3788Admittedly, keeping a consistent meditation practice has been a struggle for me. On the other hand, I’m doing an awesome job creating a gratitude journal. It was one of my new year’s resolutions (alongside meditation) and I have been writing on my journal daily, right before I sleep.

Since I’m the kind of person who thrives in structured environments, I created a set of “rules” to writing on my journal. That’s right! I know it doesn’t sound all that spiritual to follow rules when you are being grateful, but hey, whatever works to keep me on the path of being grateful, right?! It is easy for me to follow rules and a preset format, and it has worked wonders when it comes to my journal. I don’t know what sort of long-term benefit I’ll have from daily writing, but I can tell it is nice to end the day on a positive note.

So here are my set of rules for writing a gratitude journal, and I hope they encourage you to start your own. They can be only guidelines, and then, once you have the habit of keeping the journal, you can let your heart guide your writing:

1-  Write three items: I write three things and that’s it. I thought that even if I had a very discouraging day, I can still find at least 3 things to be grateful for. On the other hand, If I had a wonderful day, when 20 things pop in my mind at the same time, and I could write two whole pages of amazing events, what would happen if the next day was an awful one? It would seem like a bad day, 3 things to be grateful for, or not.

2- Don’t go for the deeper stuff: I avoid writing that I’m grateful for being healthy, having a roof over my head, or food on my table. Don’t get me wrong, I know these are really important things in life, but thankfully, I have them on a daily basis. If I wrote everyday that I’m grateful for these 3 blessings, it would sound as if my life is rather uneventful, boring even. I try to go for the small stuff that makes life fun, those fleeting moments of delight that come and go, and if I don’t keep track of them, I often forget just how amazing my life really is – and that is the reason why I’m journaling – to remind myself all the moments I should be thankful for: savoring a delicious meal at a restaurant, that glass of wine with friends, having time to step on the mat, laughing while watching a movie, the relief when my kids eat their whole meal without complaining, buying amazing yoga pants on sale, watching the sunset…Because health, food, and housing is what keeps me alive, but those small blissful moments is what I live for.

3- Freestyle: This one goes against the grain on the whole “rule” notion, but when seeking for inspiration to write, I listen to my heart. I can write one or two words, or a few sentences, anything that helps me replay in my mind the good feeling I had during the day.

4- Write right before falling asleep: I keep my journal and a pen next to my bed and write right before I fall asleep. No checking emails or Pinterest on my iPhone after that, I want to have the feeling of gratitude fresh in mind to take it with me to dreamland.

5- Be honest: If I don’t actually feel grateful for whatever happened during my day, even though I know it was good for me, I don’t add to my daily list. The journal is for me only. No one is going to read it (hopefully), so I don’t want to feel pressured to be politically correct with my feelings.

6 – When things go bad, override rule number 2: Some days are hard to swallow. It feels like the whole world conspired against me all day long. I find it very hard to put a positive note on anything. Even the “thank you for the lesson learned” won’t cut it. All I can think is “hell, the lesson didn’t need to be that hard!!!” Then I go with “thank you for being healthy, safely tucked inside my warm comfortable bed with a full belly.”

I hope you get inspired by these rules, I mean, tips and start you own gratitude journal.

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