Gratitude Journalling

Gratitude is no doubt something you are already familiar with. However are you aware of the scientific proven benefits of practicing daily gratitude?

As with so many beneficial practices, the key to journalling is continuity. Make journalling a part of you daily routine and start seeing the benefits.


If you are already in the habit of keeping a diary then this will be super easy! If you haven't kept a diary since your awkward teenage years then don't worry - this practice will start small.


To start this practice you will need a book. Of course you can use your computer for this task, but I tend to feel that for something so personal a pen and paper work best. Get yourself a nice book, maybe even a special pen just for this task.


A gratitude journal is best written at the end of every day. I find that the act of brushing my teeth before bed works as a good reminder for me to write in my journal.


Doodling can also be very therapeutic

Make yourself comfortable, take a deep breath and clear your mind. Let calm take over. Start to revisit your day, starting at the very beginning. Remind yourself of the interactions you had over the day, good and bad. Think about what you ate or didn't eat. What tasks did you complete, what didn't you do? Did you walk? Did you cry?



This practice isn't designed to be judgmental. Just as in meditation you try to watch the thoughts and memories without judging them as positive or negative. They are just things that occurred. Make sure you are true to yourself, even when you did something you feel ashamed about something that happened that day, try not to skip over things that were unpleasant.


Once you've got to the end of your day, take another breath and smile. Now think of 3 things that happened that day that you are grateful for. These do NOT have to be major things, in fact, they will usually be small, insignificant sounding things. You can always repeat things from other days. The only real rule is that there must be 3 things and they must be things you are grateful for.


Some examples may be:

  • Today was good weather for drying my laundry outside

  • I saw some cute baby ducks on my way to the shop

  • I fixed the clasp on my bag rather than having to throw it out

  • My partner made me a coffee without me asking for it

  • I paid that bill I had been putting off

  • I found a five pound note that I didn't know I had hiding in my jeans pocket

  • As I was washing up after dinner the sun shone on my face and the rest of my household were happy in another room and I had a few moments of real peace

Hopefully this gives you an idea of the scale of things you might note in a day. There may be days when it feels a real struggle to come up with anything you feel grateful for. This is when it's so important not to quit the practice of journalling. If you are struggling to think of anything positive for a particular day consider these:

  • I got out of bed

  • I made it into work

  • My mind allowed me a few moments of quiet whilst I hid in the bathroom

  • I'm still breathing

This is a practice that, with time, can really make a difference to your overall mindset. After some months in might be worth reading back over your earlier entries.


 

If gratitude is a subject that you are drawn to then, good news, there are a lot books about gratitude - it's a really hot topic!


One of my favourite youtube channels is Kurzgesagt. They mainly do a lot of clear, interesting science-based videos. They have made a great one on the subject of gratitude and the scientific research behind the benefits of practicing gratitude regularly.