5 Steps to Creating a Gratitude Journal

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An Entry a Day Keeps Bad Thoughts Away

Chances are, you have plenty to be grateful for, it can just sometimes be hard to focus on the positive when there is so much hard stuff going on around us. Taking the time to recognize the good things in our lives is an incredibly powerful practice that can dramatically change your perspective, making you happier and healthier.

Here are 5 practical steps to help get you started in this healthy habit:

1. Choose & Personalize Your Journal

What works best for you? Do you find that handwriting in a journal helps you slow down and connect with what you’re feeling? Or do you prefer the instant materialization that typing offers?  Whatever works for you, add your personal touch to it.

  • Attach or paste photos that make you happy on the cover or on random pages
  • Draw photos that depict your positive feelings about the things for which you are grateful
  • Write inspirational quotes or mantras in the margins
  • Notate special anniversaries and write about why you are grateful for those events and people

2. Be Consistent

You should write in your gratitude journal every day, and preferably at the same time of day. If you’d like to start your day on a positive note, write in your gratitude journal after you eat breakfast. If you want to use your gratitude journal to reflect after a long and stressful day, write in your journal just before you go to bed.

3. Write at Least 3 to 5 Things

Decide on a goal for how many things you’d like to express gratitude for each day, but be sure that it is no less than three to five. The key is to get in the habit of becoming aware of all the things in your life for which you have to be grateful.

4. Be as Specific as You Can

In the beginning, it may be hard to find things for which to be grateful, and you may be tempted to list things like “I’m grateful for my health.” While this is certainly something for which to be grateful, try to be more specific and focus on exactly why you are grateful.

5. Turn Negatives Into Positives

Help really transform your thoughts by finding the positive side of negative situations. Instead of dwelling on things that are not working out – maybe a failed relationship, or financial hardships, or health problems – try to find a positive in those situations.

Information adapted from an article on PositivelyPresent.com.

Tell us how keeping a journal has changed your life! Share your story in the comments below.

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