We’ve talked about why now is one of the best times to start a gratitude journal; we’ve delved deep into the benefits and beauty of gratitude; and we’ve looked at how to practise gratitude in our everyday lives. As you can see, we are very gratitude focused here at Mama Moments. I had the honour of spending the past few months designing and producing an incredibly special Mama Moments Gratitude Journal which was included in this month’s box, aptly named The Gratitude Box.
Now that you have your Gratitude Journal, you may be looking through the pages and wondering what exactly it is you’re supposed to do with it, or how this special book may help you along your gratitude journey. Well, luckily I’ve put together this post as a definitive guide on how to keep a gratitude journal!
The Definitive Guide to Keeping a Gratitude Journal
How to Keep a Gratitude Journal
In the beginning, many of us take the idea of gratitude to a large level. We think of the big things such as being grateful for our children, our partner, our home, or job. We repeat the same grateful gestures every day and think that’s pretty much how to keep a gratitude journal. But this will only bring you so far before the idea falters and being grateful in a realistic way is pushed to the background again. We are grateful but not in a specific way to make the ideas truly permeate into our psyche and make a difference in our lives.
When being grateful, it helps to focus your gratitude on something specific. Instead of saying I am grateful for my partner, pinpoint it to the reason you are grateful for them in that specific moment. Is it because they brought you a coffee in bed? Or that they took the kids out, so you had half an hour to yourself. Or that they gave you that warm, comforting hug when you needed it the most after a hard day?
When we are detailed in our thoughts, it’s easier for us to connect with the emotion surrounding the event, the person, or the moment. It’s these feelings which stir up those reactions of gratitude, ultimately making you feel happier.
Remember, when we are writing in our gratitude journal, we are looking to express and explore the emotions behind the things we are grateful for.
What Should I Write in my Gratitude Journal?
Many randomly write their thoughts down, quickly, and eagerly, in a list, ensuring they include every minor and major thing they are thankful for. It’s quite easy to run into a bad routine of journaling for the sake of it when we add in our random gratitudes.
It can be helpful to break up your ideas into areas such as relationships, opportunities, something new, something small, something big. Something important to you. By giving yourself these prompts, it can be easier to focus your ideas and search out the essential things which made a difference to you and your life today.
How to Avoid Repetition
You won’t be the first and last person who will get stuck along the way. Journaling can often become a little stilted and stifling when we find ourselves in a rut and repeat the same things over and over again.
So you have found yourself not wanting to write in your journal today because you feel like you are repeating yourself. Even worse, it’s starting to feel like a chore. How can we get out of this slump?
Before you write anything down, take a breath.
Listen to your thoughts and feel the emotion in your gut, in your chest, pounding in your heart, before you put pen to paper. Visualise what it is you are grateful for. Soon you will find the words flowing and the sentiment greater than ever before with a deep sense of love and appreciation.
Here are a few prompts to get you started:
- What songs on your favourite playlist are you currently loving?
- What hobby or adventure brings you joy?
- Who made you smile recently and why?
- How can you practise self-care today?
- What book did you read recently which you loved?
- Describe a family tradition you love
When Should I Write Down My Thoughts, and How Often?
Journaling is a commitment. If you want to get as much as possible from it, it’s important to encourage a routine whereby you write in your journal once a week, every Wednesday and Saturday, or once a day. No matter how often you write in your journal, ensure you routinely make it a practise to benefit from it.
There are two rules of thought when it comes to when we should write down our feelings.
For many, the beginning of the day is an ideal time to open your journal and write down a few thoughts. The reason we say to write in your gratitude journal at the start of the day is because when you wake up, its an opportune time to reflect and appreciate what we have. And what’s a better way to start your day than with positivity by showing how grateful you are for something. Remember, gratitude gives us a little hit of happiness and we can bring that with us throughout our day.
For others, the end of the day is a good time to think about and assess our day. Ending our day with writing down a few grateful thoughts can bring about better sleep and set us up for the following morning.
No matter when you journal, make sure it’s the right time of day for you. Continue it as a ritual with your favourite playlist on in the background, a coffee, and some quiet time.
Be sure to read over my previous blogs on how gratitude can bring you a step closer to happiness and ease stress and anxiety. I would love to hear what you think of the Mama Moments Gratitude Journal so please do get in touch!