The journal is the writer’s greatest way of self-expression. Whether you keep a tiny moleskine in your pocket, or a glittery pink binder full of your most private thoughts under your bed; for all the imagination and excellence contained in your most intimate pages, there is one thing you’re all missing: gratitude.
I was 30 when a mentor recommended treating my depression by writing down three things every day that I was grateful for. I despised the idea, as most angsty teenagers despise anything an adult ‘suggests’, but ended up trying it one day when I was bored in class. The result was immediate, I couldn’t believe it. My mind filled with happy thoughts and hopes instantaneously, and it lasted for much of the day. Fast forward to now, and I’m redesigning the idea of a gratitude journal to encompass more than just three things.
I’ve gathered a mish-mash of ideas over time and have been steadily implementing them into my own journal everyday.
DISCLAIMER: I now use the daily greatness journal which already has predefined questions to ask. You can get your copy HERE, however, if you want to create your own journal, Here’s how:
1. The Daily Full-Page Gratitude
What would make today great?List three things, each gets it’s own line.
(Ex) If I create a new work connection; If I I get to spend extra time with my significant other; If I feel relaxed instead of stressed all day. Amazing things that happened today:Again, three things that each get it’s own line.
(Ex) Watched an inspiring TedTalk, Made a really tasty and healthy lunch; Enjoyed some alone time where I got to read my favourite book. Gratitude:List three things you are grateful for.
(Ex) For discovering my love of Arbonne Essentials Herbal Tea; For my wonderful team members and their support; For the recovery of someone ill in my family. Affirmation:This is where you should devote at least two lines to self love. Everyday write something different, to remind yourself how incredible and special you are. It can be in first or third person, whichever you like most!
(Ex) You have so much ahead of you, so soon. See your potential, and let yourself have every little bit of happiness that you deserve.How I could’ve made today better:Here is a reflection on the things you did that day that didn’t really work out. Devote a few lines to writing down not necessarily the negatives of your day, but ways you could have gone about them differently.
(Ex) I tried to make a different protein shake for breakfast but it turns out I don’t like using frozen raspberries; I argued with someone when I shouldn’t have and it caused me stress; I should have gotten more fresh air and gone for walks today, etc. You can be as specific and detailed as you want, and that’s often the best part! A gratitude journal is still an exercise in creativity. The first entry is to be written in the morning (as soon as possible), and the rest when your day is coming to a close. You’ll even find that writing your gratitude or amazing things as they happen doesn’t really work out, because more amazing things will top them as the day progresses! Another exercise in gratitude comes from realising that everything you do is important and a reflection on who you are. This next list can be done from time to time, as often as you please, to help you realise that even when you think you’re doing nothing (or haven’t achieved as much as you’d hoped), you are always a buzzing beacon of self-expression and uniqueness. TIP: This can also be used to keep track of your work habits and moods. If you find that a particular habit you’re trying to break happens to come up whenever you’re seated at your desk for long conference calls, now you know, and it’s easier to break.
2. The List of Perpetual Indulgence
I am currently…
Description is key here, it’s an exercise in imagination and reality. I used to this one mostly for the times when I was sitting on the couch watching TV, bored out of my mind, but it would work well for commuting on the train or any dull moments that seem to slow down your day. I start writing, and all of a sudden I remember that I’m not a couch potato, I’m a person wearing a striped dress and pink slippers daydreaming about the Santa Monica Pier and listening to My Top Songs 2019 playlist. Not so boring and simple now, huh? Even if you may be thinking, feeling, or wanting something negative, getting it all down in this form will help to blow off some steam without ranting about it – that usually just cements the feeling.
A Final Thought
Daily gratitude is a gift to yourself, so everyday don’t forget to keep on giving. Everybody’s self love tank needs a little refilling now and then.
Do you have a journal or gratitude practice that you’d like to share? Let us know!