Journaling is a pastime for millions of people around the world. It comes quite naturally to those of us who value time alone, silence, and literature. I am often approached by people who don’t regularly put pen to paper, if at all, and they all say the same thing: “I wish I could journal.” I’m not sure if it’s a genuine statement or if the person is just trying to spark conversation.
As an introvert, I don’t do small talk. All past attempts have proven that I really don’t do it well. But in my awkwardness, I offer some encouragement, saying that anyone can journal if they want.
If I had a dollar for every time someone told me that they would journal but they just don’t know what to write in one if they got one, I’d probably have, oh, I’d say about…fifty dollars.
If you find yourself lumped into the category of people who just don’t know what to write, here is a great suggestion for you. You could start a gratitude journal.
What types of things can a person be grateful for?
A person can be grateful for material things, situations and circumstances, feelings, experiences…the list goes on.
What is a gratitude journal?
A gratitude journal is exactly what it sounds like. It is a journal where you write down all the things you are grateful for.
How to Start A Gratitude Journal
To start a gratitude journal, you can:
1 Jump right in and start writing a list of things you feel grateful for, or
2 Set up your pages, and then start creating segmented lists of things you feel grateful for.
If you’re a person who enjoys when things are nicely and neatly organized, you might want to set up your pages, before you begin. Page setup is all up to you. Many people do it differently, and hey, it’s yours. You will most likely be the only person looking at it, so why not make it your own, rather than following rules?
Page Setup Ideas
Below are some ideas you can use to setup your gratitude journal to be more functional and/or aesthetically pleasing. Journals are meant to keep around, so make yours as cool and interesting as possible.
1 Create Topics to write about (i.e. Life, Love, Health & Wellness, Home, Relationships, etc)
2 Leave a few pages in between sections so that your lists have room to grow
3 Design your pages.You can do this with stickers, drawings, paint, stamps, and more. This is a form of art journaling, which we will get into in another article.
4 Add tabs. This is totally optional, as is this entire list, but it could be helpful for quick reference.
5 Record the date and time at the top of the page, each time you sit down to write list items.
6 Set a timer and record the start and end time of your gratitude writing session
7 Create a theme for each time you write in your journal. (i.e. today you write about one topic (Love) and tomorrow you write about another (Learning New Things)
The point of starting a gratitude journal is to call positive things to your awareness. By engaging in this writing exercise regularly, you train your mind to focus on the positive. In fact, you may find that once you start writing, it’s hard to stop. There are plenty of things to be grateful for, if you are open to recognizing and acknowledging them.
Now that you understand what a gratitude journal is and how to create one, you might be wondering why you should consider starting this type of journal. There are several benefits of practicing gratitude, and you will reap these benefits, when you get into the habit of being grateful consistently.
3 Major Benefits of Practicing Gratitude
1 Gratitude improves physical health.
Just as you are what you eat, you are also what you think and speak. Focusing on positive things opens you up to receive physical benefits. Watch this video on how positive and negative words affect water. Did you know our bodies are made up of 70% or more of water???
2 Gratitude promotes more restful sleep.
Practicing gratitude puts you in a more positive mood, causes you to stress less, and allows you to relax and get some Zzzs that count. And honestly, who doesn’t want to sleep better through the night, and wake up feeling well rested rejuvenated?
3 Gratitude improves self-esteem.
Most people could use a self-esteem boost every now and again, and what a better way to give that boost to yourself through simply being grateful. An attitude of gratitude uplifts you and everyone around you.
I hope you’re ready to dive in now and to start practicing gratitude for your own good and for the sake of everyone who comes in contact with you. Enjoy your journey of journaling about gratitude. You deserve all that comes from looking for the positive.
Author of The Mask and Creator of The Write Mind Studio
Andriea Denise is an author, educator, a philanthropist, singer/songwriter, and the founder of The Write Mind Studio. She is passionate about helping people to become the best versions of themselves and to live the lives they actively create.