One of the magical benefits of journaling is it can transform the way you feel. Writing out your thoughts and feelings alchemises the energy into something different. You might feel less cluttered and chaotic; you might create clarity or spark curiosity. You may also feel inspired or empowered.
And if you practice gratitude journaling, you’ll almost certainly feel more positive, abundant and joyful. Let’s explore why…
What is gratitude journaling?
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” ― Melody Beattie
Gratitude journaling is the art of noticing and appreciating what’s in your life NOW.
Gratitude is a perspective shift; an intentional act that inspires you to notice abundance rather than scarcity. In the process, you direct your attention to identifying what you do have instead of what you perceive to be missing. In turn, gratitude can change your life – without changing anything at all!
As well as an art, gratitude is an elevated feeling that ranks #1 on Abraham-Hicks’ Emotional Guidance Scale.
- Positive Expectation/Belief
- Overwhelm (feeling overwhelmed)
“Gratitude will shift you to a higher frequency, and you will attract much better things.” – Rhonda Byrne
Why practice gratitude journaling?
Gratitude can change how you feel in a heartbeat.
When you choose to be grateful, it can help dissolve any negative feelings. When you feel thankful, you can’t feel angry, frustrated, or hateful – because these opposing energies cannot coexist. In this way, the intention to be grateful helps alchemise and dissolve feelings that don’t feel great.
Gratitude also changes what you see. It’s like putting on a new pair of glasses, choosing to look at life through a new lens, a lens where suddenly you’re surrounded by abundance everywhere. Gratitude activates a positive mindset too, which inspires you to feel more elevated and optimistic about how life might unfold. If you know you’re supported, you worry less. This feeling of optimism inspires you to think bigger in your quest to live your best life.
Gratitude is also a powerful way to sink deeply into the now.
It’s easy to be distracted as you move through life. In turn, we don’t notice what’s present in the moment, and therefore, we can’t see the blessings in front of our eyes.
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.”
― Eckhart Tolle.
When you pause and be grateful, you plunge yourself deeply present in the moment. This is so powerful because the now is the only time that’s real. The past is simply memories; the future is hopes and visions. In comparison, the present is where your physical body exists, where your emotions bubble up from, and where you’re empowered to take action.
In this way, you can use gratitude to cultivate a deeper relationship with life, a choice that can have far-reaching consequences.
Who can you feel grateful for?
The simple answer is anything and everything! One of the best ways I’ve been able to elevate my own gratitude practice is to lower the bar. Let me explain…
It’s easy to feel grateful for the big things in life. We know to feel grateful when something with magnitude happens. However, those big moments are often few and far between. Sometimes we wait a long time for those to happen.
If we only know how to appreciate the big things, it’s harder to make gratitude a way of life or to be a grateful person. In turn, you miss out on the benefits of sparking regular appreciation as an elevated emotion.
However, if you ‘lower the bar’ and allow yourself to feel grateful for the small things, suddenly, there’s always something to be thankful for. For example, the sunset, the look of love in your partner’s eyes, the hug from your child, how paper feels between your fingers, a magnificent tree, a beautiful flower meadow, sand between your toes, or the wind rushing through your hair.
Gratitude makes life richer. In the words of Robert Brault, “Enjoy the little things for one day, you may look back and realize that they were the big things.”
How to practice gratitude.
Simply put, you simply notice and acknowledge. It’s a two-part practice of acknowledging something and then feeling the appreciation.
You can practice gratitude by making lists. Lists are powerful because they inspire us to notice even more things to appreciate. For example:
1. 10 life lessons you’re grateful to have learned.
2. 10 people you’re thankful to have in your life.
3. 10 things you love and appreciate about yourself.
You can also answer question prompts. Here are 25 to explore.
1. Create a list of at least 20 examples that prove you are lucky. Dig deeper: How does it feel to reflect on your list?
2. What do you feel most grateful for in your life right now, and why
3. Make a list of reasons why you’re grateful to be YOU.
4. Become aware of the privileges you have because of who you are. How can you elevate your appreciation of them?
5. What’s been the highlight of your day, and why?
6. Write a love letter to your physical body.
7. How did someone you care about surprise you recently? How does it feel to know there are people in your life who love and appreciate you this much?
8. What is good in your life right now? See how long you can make your list.
9. What’s a possession in your life that makes your life easier. How does it feel to own this item?
10. What three people can you feel grateful for today. Dig deeper: Write each of these people an appreciation letter explaining in detail how they’ve touched your life.
11. What book had the most significant impact on your life? What changed for you after you read it?
12. What mistake or failure can you feel grateful for now that you have the benefit of hindsight? What became possible because you didn’t get what you desired at first?
13. What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received, and why did it touch you so much?
14. How did life inspire you today?
15. What’s magical in your life that you usually overlook? Take some time to appreciate how your life elevated because you can access this magic.
16. What freedoms are you grateful to enjoy. How do these freedoms enhance your life?
17. Make a list of all the things you don’t have to worry about because of your life. Notice how this list makes you feel.
18. What unexpected opportunities showed up in your life over the past 12 months? How did your life evolve as a result of these?
19. Why are you grateful for your home?
20. Drawing upon specific examples, when have you been grateful for your senses this week?
21. What’s a significant lesson you learned from your career that’s changed your life for the better?
22. Make a list of at least ten things you have in your life now that you didn’t have five years ago. Notice how your list makes you feel.
23. What’s your favourite hobby? Explore how it feels to get to enjoy this activity and how it’s enriched your life.
24. What’s the best random act of kindness you’ve ever received, and why?
25. Write about a fear you’re grateful you were able to overcome. How is your life enhanced as a result?
When to practice gratitude.
I recommend you practice gratitude daily. Make it a ritual that you weave into your morning and evening routines. The overwhelming benefit of daily practice is that gratitude will become an intuitive part of who you are. No longer will you have to prompt yourself. Instead, you’ll do it automatically.
Where to practice gratitude.
Your journal, of course!!
Your journal is an amazing place to turn to because it creates a reference point. When you write something down, you make your inner thoughts tangible and visible in the outside world. In turn, you can reflect back and, over time, see how your gratitude experience is changing who you are and how you interact with life.
How will you incorporate a practice of gratitude into your life? I hope this article has inspired you to use your journal as a tool that can elevate how you feel.