Journeying towards a “Gratitude Attitude” isn’t something that I thought would make a big difference in my life. In fact, I just didn’t think about practicing being grateful all that much. This year, one of my major goals is to utilize a daily journal where I write down at least one thing I am grateful for each and every day. The reason for this shift in thinking was a result of reading a few online articles, watching YouTube videos of different planner girls and myself wanting to establish a “Miracle Morning” routine.
A Forbes article published a while back has compiled a few reasons why practicing gratitude is actually good for you - with scientific studies to back up their claims. You should check it out if you want the nitty gritty details, but in summary, there are seven ways that developing a practice of gratitude will help you:
-Enhance empathy, decreased desire to seek revenge
-Better quality sleep
-Improve self esteem
-Increase mental strength, overcome trauma
Being someone with a scientific (educational) background, I wanted to test this out and see if the claims are true. First, I needed to set myself up with a system and make writing a little bit each day something I can keep up with (and remember). I purchased a dated A5 size week on two pages, horizontal diary from the local Walmart/Target-esque store and set to work by removing all non essential papers, like the month on two pages spreads, transportation and postal address pages, and other miscellaneous pages - I just wanted to keep it simple.
Then, I got started with three simple guidelines for my practice:
1. Put it where you can see it.
I’m the type of person who can forget about something if it is not directly in front of me (or someone is calling/emailing/IM-ing me for something to be done). “Outta sight, outta mind” is pretty much the tagline of my life. Since I want to make my gratitude practice an integral part of each day, I place my notebook where I can see it every day. It serves as a friendly reminder for me to write in it when I sit down at my desk.
2. Be mindful and observant in daily encounters.
The stresses of daily life can sometimes make us forget about appreciating small things like the aroma of coffee first thing in the morning, or the soothing music they play on some elevators. I noticed that when I sat down to write, it actually slowed down the pace of my life - even just for a few minutes - and I was able to reflect, enjoy, and feel lifted from a few things that happened in my day. I noticed that I got more excited for the day’s special activities or plans if I wrote at the start of the day, while I was able to review and rejoice at something wonderful that had already happened if I wrote at the end of the day. It doesn’t matter when you write - just make sure that you are trying to mentally note things that you are grateful for each day and actually take the time to write them down.
3. Decorate it! Have fun with developing a gratitude attitude.
If you have a lot of washi tape, colorful pens and stickers like I do, I think it makes the entire process of writing down your gratitude attitudes more fun if you can also make it pretty. I use a lot of washi tape to decorate the top (and sometimes bottom) of my weeks - it started as a way to utilize some of the tape I had accumulating in my collection, but now, as I flip through the month - it looks really pleasing to the eye! I also use a Pringo portable photo printing machine to add a few real-life photos here and there. It will be nice to flip through a year of gratefulness and remind myself of the good things and small wins each day of the year.
Do you keep a gratitude journal? Or is there another way you practice gratitude in your life? Please share it with us in the comments below! We’d love some feedback on this blog series so far - the theme this month was “Choose To Begin”, and you can find the other posts here: