If you ask me, the most effective way to achieve long-term happiness is by being constantly reminded of all there is to be thankful for! And once you start recognizing what means the most to you, the better everything becomes (or at least your perception of your life improves). Though you can add to your gratitude journal as often as you would like, I try to write in my personal journal daily. Each night before I go to bed, I take twenty minutes to myself to think about two things per day that I am thankful for. I’ll even add little blurbs about my day, and a few of the highlights of my day. I’ve learned that even when I’ve had the worst day ever, there are always bits of good sprinkled somewhere without and my journal helps me highlight these. Try to keep from repeating what you’re thankful for too often, or writing your journal may seem repetitive!
However, over time it will become more difficult to think of things you’re thankful for (but really that’s the best part!). Consider a few of these gratitude journal idea prompts when starting your gratitude journal, they’ll keep your journal fresh and pleasant thoughts churning!
You know, the basic material items in your life that you could not live without. Anything goes when it comes to this category (and really, anything goes for all of these) so feel free to write about that life-changing hairspray and that favorite mascara. I suppose the roof over your head could fit somewhere within this category, too.
The Basics Extended…
Now it’s really time to delve into all of your belongings to find the things that mean the most to you. Did you read a poem that changed your life? Mention it in the journal. A favorite song that always picks you up when you’re feeling terrible? Put it in the journal!
You’re really the coolest person that you know, so write about it! Are you thankful for your determination? Or your ability to withstand or thrive in poor circumstances? While it might be awkward for you to write about yourself in such a capacity at first, but don’t worry– it’ll quickly feel really good. And it should! These are the perfect pages to look back on whenever you’re feeling particularly hard on yourself.
Now, take a look at your abilities. Naturally, things like the ability to hear, see, taste, touch, and smell may come to mind. But after mentioning all of those, take a good look at the abilities that are unique to you as an individual. For example, your ability to come home after a long day at work and still spend quality time with the kids or cook an amazing meal for your family.
What would life be if we couldn’t all go through it together? Include a section in your gratitude journal about the people in your life that you are especially thankful for. Make sure that you write why you are grateful for these people because it may come in handy if they accidentally make you mad. 😉
A few more tips for gratitude journaling…
1. Write as often as you want. It’ll seem like a chore if you overextend yourself to do something that should be therapeutic!
2. Bring it with you! You never know when something will happen that’s worth writing about, keep prepared by bringing your journal along with you!
3. Vocalize your gratitude! You know what they say: it’s not enough just to write about it. You have to do it (do they actually even say that? I doubt it…). After you’ve written about someone in your gratitude journal, make a special effort to show your appreciation for them the next time you see them.