How To Start A Gratitude Journal (And Why You Definitely Want To)

“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” – Zig Ziglar
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When I was in college, I took a class called Positive Psychology. At 7 am every MondayWednesday and Friday, my teacher was obnoxiously happy. Rainy days, cold days, days when the Starbucks line was too long, it never mattered. He never failed to walk into class wearing a big, genuine smile. He wore yellow shirts because “it’s the happiest color.” He complimented everybody who walked into class, even if they looked like a tired zombie (hi). I remember one day specifically, I trekked through miserable, wintery mixed weather, slid my way into class and slumped in my chair. As Professor O. cheerily entered the room, I asked myself how one could be so radiantly positive on such a gloomy day. I was envious! He introduced us to something he called a “Gratitude Journal.”
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It’s really simple. The idea is to find something that you’re grateful for, every. single. day. and just write it down. It doesn’t have to be something huge, you could even just be grateful that you got to sleep in that morning, or Wawa’s $1 coffee. It could be three things, or just one each day. The point is that once you start building up pages and realizing you can be grateful for even the littlest things in life, you become generally happier. The gratitude felt while writing about these things will translate into your every day life, also making you more inclined to give back, and maybe even be mentioned in someone else’s Gratitude Journal! So, let’s create a cycle of happiness.
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“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” – Robert Brault
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There are three VERY easy steps to get your journal started-
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1. Grab a notebook- It could be simple or you could find a fun one (I ordered my journal off of Etsy for the Buddha quote). You could even decorate your journal with pictures or quotes to make it more personal to you.
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2. Write- Start by aiming for 3 things a day, but feel no pressure here. If you can only think of one thing, be grateful for that one thing! Pretty soon, your daily lists will start to grow, reaching 5 or maybe 10 things to be grateful for on a single day!
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3. Share the wealth- This is the most important step, pay it forward! Something as little as a smile in the morning or holding the door for somebody could make it into their gratitude journal piece for the day.
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If you’re feeling motivated to do more, go out and introduce the Gratitude Journal to friends, family or anybody else you feel could benefit from a little happy project!
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After keeping up with your journal for about a month, sit down and take a couple minutes to notice the change in the way you feel generally, and maybe even the way you’ve started to affect those around you. Willie Nelson said “once I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” I believe that’s one of the most real and relevant things he’s ever stated. I’ve loved the effects of my Gratitude Journal so much that I started infusing it into my life even more by placing different versions throughout my house. We even have a magnetic whiteboard on our fridge that says “Today, I am Grateful for..” and each day or night, Mike and I both jot down one thing we’re grateful for. Sometimes it’s cheesy love notes to each other, sometimes it’s silly doodles of the dog. But it always brings happiness.
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Leave a comment below if you’ve started a Gratitude Journal and how you feel after maintaining it! Or, maybe you already have a Gratitude practice and have something to add!
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Kimberly is a yoga teacher in training, a holistic health advocate, and a serious animal lover. She has found her happiness in nature and traveling, pride in compassionate living, and her passion in sharing these things with her readers. In doing this, she hopes to spread good feelings throughout the world like a big spoonful of almond butter (which she’s admittedly addicted to).
Website: www.wildflowerways.co (launching soon)
Instagram: @hellokimberlee
Twitter: @hellokimberlee