Gratitude improves our existence. There is no argument there. Gratitude helps us sleep better at night, cope during difficult times, and leads to better overall health. Practicing gratitude and writing in a gratitude journal each day is one way to ensure we reap the benefits of gratitude. If you already have a gratitude habit, adding a writing element will fit seamlessly into your routine. If you aren’t in the habit of expressing gratitude, let’s learn how to do so through journaling and what better time to begin than Thanksgiving, a holiday built upon gratitude. We’ll cover techniques that will both fit into the busiest of schedules and those with a little more time to devote to gratitude journaling.
Journaling our gratitude is another way to solidify the gratitude habit loop we are trying to employ. Remember, a habit has three parts: the cue, the routine, and the reward. The cue for gratitude journaling should be something that happens every single day. Maybe you always wake up and drink a cup of coffee. You could use the coffee brewing aroma as your cue to open your gratitude journal and begin your day’s entry. The routine is the act of your journaling, which we will talk about a bit more, and the reward can be enjoying a freshly brewed cup of coffee or the feeling that washes over you after you internalize what it means to be grateful, even for the little things in this life. So long as you clearly define your cue, remember to employ your routine, and follow up with a reward, eventually your habit loop will begin to emerge on its own.
Let’s circle back to our routine: journaling. Journaling doesn’t imply that you need to sit down with a pen and a notebook every night and scrawl for hours, unloading everything that happened in your mind and in reality that day. There are many ways to journal and certainly a technique that can work for everyone, even the busiest among us. If you aren’t keen on the idea of journaling or you don’t think you have enough time, start by bullet journaling. Simply jot down a few bullet points of gratitude each day. It’s as simple as that. If you’re really pressed for time you could write down three words, that’s it, just three words! That alone would constitute as a gratitude journal and a gratitude habit so long as you are consistent and add an entry each day.
If you are intrigued by the idea of a gratitude journal and would like to make it an enjoyable piece of each day, you can choose a pretty journal, pick out a cozy seat, and set the mood for journaling. Light a candle, pour a glass of wine or brew a cup of tea. Play a favorite song. Even if you only plan to write a few sentences about each grateful moment of your day, setting the vibe for your routine acts as part of the cue. Soon enough, you will look forward to the moment in your day when you put on your slippers, curl up on the couch, and pull out your journal. It’s more than just the act of writing, it’s about the mood it evokes. In this case, setting the vibe of your journaling session is also partly acting as a reward.
When you consciously choose to craft special moments in your day, you will soon begin to crave those cues and then act on them. You will look forward to the reward of feeling grateful and blessed in your life. Starting a gratitude journal doesn’t have to take time out of your day if you don’t want it to. It can be as simple as a note in your phone where you type out a few points of gratitude each day. It can also be a new part of your daily routine that does take time, time for you to enjoy the present moment and soak in the goodness of your day. The choice is yours, but either way, you will be improving your overall existence by solidifying a gratitude habit. Happy Thanksgiving, we’re grateful for you taking the time to read this message.