I am sure you’ve heard about the positive effect of writing your gratitude diary. Maybe you even have or tried to start one… this practice is attractive, because it may meaningfully enhance our lives.
And frankly, who could not use a positive boost, especially these days, right!?
As I am a natural ‘tester’ (= ‘curious like a monkey’ ) I tried a couple times to set myself up with this promising routine, especially when I found myself in a tougher life period (you know the one about ‘a drowning man and straw’, right?:-)
So on the recommendation of the wise ones, every evening I would write a couple points, starting with the well known sentence:
‘Today I am grateful for….’
This is definitely an effective exercise to train the ‘gratitude muscles’. Many people report that after some time of exercising they experienced meaningful benefits, such as an elevated mood, mind focused in a more positive way and (sounds miraculous!) they would even start experiencing more affirmative life circumstances.
Sounds wonderful, don’t you think?
It’s just that for me this did not work very well. Somehow I had a difficulty to really own it, I really could not connect with the feeling of gratitude.
Don’t get me wrong. I knew what positives I’d experienced and was glad of course, but somehow I had difficulty to address it to something ‘unknown’ (God, Universe, Life, Essence… pick the one you prefer) as the source of my positive experience. “Who am I actually grateful for?” I guess my intellectual mind just was not able to fully get into it.
So after a couple weeks (sometimes days) I would give up my diary and kick it somewhere into the library corner.
But what recently really hooked me again was a modified version I recently heard in one podcast. The idea is exactly the same, but uses a different sentence:
‘Today I appreciate myself for…’
Now, read it again, slowly, let it really land. Can you perceive the difference the previous and this one?
For me this version really nailed the practice. There is still a grateful part and positive vibe in that sentence – yet this time I am directing the appreciation directly towards myself, my skills, capabilities, and my mind can digest this better (it’s clear here who made the thing happen, who to be grateful to). The big benefit of this formulation is self-confirmation, which gives a lovely boost to my sometimes lacking self-esteem.
I also found out that this journal is a perfect source for days when I feel down, suffer with self-doubts or when I’m going through a challenge. At that time, I simply open this little book – and immediately see a straightforward report proving, that I am actually a kinda pretty skilled and resourceful girl, who can manage much more than I think in my dark moments. Cause you know this – when we are in distress, we tend to loose the whole picture and put on our ‘grey glasses’
This journal has an amazing ability to just smash that filter to pieces in almost no time. You open it, start reading and after a couple pages you suddenly notice that there is a change in how you feel.
No magic nor something mysterious. Just clear facts. This is something the mind can accept. She will start to relax and finally make space for you and your resources to come into a spotlight and surprise you with a new insight.
Not bad for a couple minutes of your focused attention in the evening, right?
Anyways, this is the way which works for me, but this post is definitely not about saying that one option works better than the other. Because they both work very well – it’s more about which one is a better fit to you – at this time, in this situation and with your current mindset. So…
“Today I am grateful for a wonderful sunrise I watched from the top of a graceful mountain”
“Today I appreciate myself for waking up early, overcoming laziness and arriving in time to watch a wonderful sunrise”
Happy journaling and don’t forget to let me know in comment, which journaling strategy works for you! 🙂
GRATITUDE JOURNALING: HOW TO
1.Choose a journal (should be a nice design, so it motivates you) for your practice. Do not use it for anything else (this is not a space to write a shopping list when you cannot find a piece of paper!). Imagine you will create a relationship with your journal. It’s your companion, your friend, who will always have a good word for you.
2. Every evening, before you go to sleep, make 3 points (at least) according to the sentence you prefer to use. I stick with 3 as it fits me, but if you want to and feel it, you can go for more, of course.
3. Do it every day. No excuse. It takes 3 minutes. You can do it!
*Tip for creativity lovers: use colours, paint, sparkle your records, if you wish. It’s your happy space, so help it to make you happy!
+ BONUS MATH:
1 day= 3 | 1 month= around 90, | 1 year = 1.095
‘One thousand & ninety five’ (!) happy records of gratitude and appreciation. The best book ever. 🙂