So much happens in a single day (and not to mention an entire week). It’s easy to get swept up in all the busyness and miss the beautiful little moments. Keeping a gratitude journal can help you capture all those moments. This journal is used to write down your accomplishments of the week and is super beneficial for your mind. Today, we want to share a few tips for keeping a gratitude journal.
What is a Gratitude Journal?
Gratitude journaling is the regular practice of writing down the things you are grateful for. This reflection time is meant to help you recognize the positives in your life that you may have missed in the moment. With time, you’ll begin to spot these little joys even when you’re facing a challenging situation.
How you write in your gratitude journal is entirely up to you. Some people prefer to create bulleted lists while others delve into their thoughts with long entries. People also commonly think of this exercise as writing down three good things. If you’re new to gratitude journaling, this could be a great goal to have—write down three things about your week that brought you happiness (big or small).
Keeping a gratitude journal lifts your spirits and improves your mental health in several ways. If you’re not sure you should invest your time in gratitude journaling, check out these impressive benefits:
- Deeper and longer sleep
- Greater happiness
- An ability to see the meaning of events in your life
- A new perspective on challenging life situations
Tips for Keeping a Gratitude Journal
The benefits of gratitude journaling can only be enjoyed if this exercise is done in a certain way. Don’t panic: there aren’t a lot of rules to follow. There’s still plenty of flexibility to make this practice work for you. Research has shown that you’ll have greater success with keeping a gratitude journal by following these steps.
Write Only Once A Week.
It’s a great practice to point out the good in your life, but you can burn yourself out if you journal too often (such as every day). Plus, studies have shown that people who experienced the most happiness after journaling only wrote once or twice a week. If they did it more than that (such as three times a week or every day), they stopped having the same reaction to the good things. It’s actually best for your mind to reflect back on several events at once and be surprised by the simple things that brought you joy.
We mentioned earlier that you can write a bulleted list of things you are grateful for. And this is still true. But if you take this route, make sure you still give plenty of detail. We feel the most grateful when we understand why a particular thing or person made us happy in the moment. It may also be helpful to note where you were or what you were doing when that good thing or person brightened your day.
Write What Your Life Would Be Like Without That Blessing.
Make the little joys even bigger by reflecting on what your life would have been like without that blessing.
Don’t Forget People.
Perhaps one day was exceptionally bright because a specific person in your life made it better. Did your best friend give you a call out of the blue on her lunch break? Did your spouse deliver your favorite meal to your office? Did a stranger at the grocery store let you have the last shopping basket? Sometimes it’s the little things people do for you that put a smile on your face. Be sure to note this in your journal.
How a Gratitude Journal Enhances Your Yoga Practice
Journaling on the things that inspire gratitude not only improves your mental health, but it can also have positive effects on your yoga practice. How? Keeping a gratitude journal on your yoga practice can encourage you to keep going by tracking your progression, stumbles, and triumphs. A gratitude journal is a great place to mark all the times you practiced yoga, even when you didn’t feel like it, and how practicing anyway changed the way you felt.
If you’re participating in a yoga challenge, such as Health Yoga Life’s 30-Day Spring into Yoga Challenge, a gratitude journal can motivate you to complete all 30 days. At the end of the week, you can reflect on your experience practicing yoga every single day. Maybe it was hard, but how did you feel at the end of class? Note that in your journal. You may see some surprising results.
All too often, we get caught up in the hustle-and-bustle of life and become focused on the negative. We begin to think that nothing has gone our way in a long time. Keeping a gratitude journal can remind you of all the little moments throughout your week that made it brighter. Focusing on what makes you grateful can significantly impact your mental and emotional health. Follow our tips for keeping a gratitude journal and watch how it transforms your life and maybe even your yoga practice!