About six weeks ago I posted about my plan to keep a gratitude journal. It was born out of a realisation that I had been a little bit grumbly lately. Also I had read in one or two places of the benefits of keeping a gratitude journal and decided to give it a go. I’m a keen journal keeper and have been for many years, so I’m interested in different forms of journaling and never adverse to trying something new.
So how did I get on?
‘Okay’ is my fairly underwhelming answer.
I knew when I started it, it would need to be easy to keep, not too time consuming, or a repetition of things I had already written about in my regular journal.
I managed this by keeping to a bullet point format. At the top of each page I wrote the date and ‘Today I am grateful for…..’ I then listed 3 things I was grateful for that day. I didn’t go into great detail and sometimes it was barely more than a couple of words. This meant I was able to maintain it every day. (well almost, I didn’t take it on holiday with me, as I already had my weighty travel journal).
It seems to me that the most obvious time to write in a gratitude journal is at the end of the day. To ensure it became a habit I kept it on my bedside table with my regular journal. Interestingly I rarely struggled for things to be grateful for. Even on very normal or even frustrating work days I could always find things to say ‘Thank you’ for.
One of the most positive things for me was reading back over the last week or month and realising how much I have to be thankful for. At the time those things may have seemed very small, but when put together collectively serve as a useful reminder of how many things in life I take for granted and how many of those things I can be grateful for. Over the last month I have been grateful for a Saturday with no alarm clock; waterproof trousers on an especially wet cycle ride home from work, and the new Rick Astley song which makes me smile every time I hear it. ( I make no apology for this, have you heard it, its marvellous!).
Will I continue?
I think so yes. Well certainly until the end of the year or maybe until my journal is full. This is a particularly lovely journal after all, (see pic at top of page!) and I don’t want to leave it with lots of unused pages.
Writing has always been an important part of how I express myself, and process things, so in a sense this is simply an extension of that. When something is written it is somehow more tangible and real. I like that.
It’s also a good discipline. It is so easy to take things for granted and barely give them a thought. Taking time to really think and concentrate on what I should be thankful for has been a good exercise. The platitude ‘I have so much to be grateful for’ began to resonate and become more than simply a platitude. I also found it was a good way to focus on what I wanted to thank God for at the end of each day. So maybe that in itself is reason enough to continue.
Is a gratitude journal something you keep or have thought about keeping? I would love to know your thoughts.
Images, Changing Pages