After years of writing my thoughts and feelings in a journal, I heard about the benefits of practising gratitude. Having already established a routine, I decided to add on a small list of things I was grateful for at the end of my daily entry.
I’ve been doing this for some months now and have no interest in stopping. The process has been beneficial in a number of ways and I think gratitude itself is an interesting topic to explore. I aim to share the positives that can be found in performing this simple task and its impact on general wellbeing.
The definition of gratitude…
Gratitude is to be thankful and appreciative towards something and acknowledging its effects. In my own view, it’s about being mindful of the “good” around you, especially that which is out of your control.
I prefer to write just before going to bed. I find that this helps in getting any thoughts, worries and future plans out of my head and onto a page. If possible, I aim to finish on an upbeat note. Then, I make a small list of three things I am grateful for. To keep variety, I particularly choose something that had affected me the same day as my entry. It’s also helpful to write out why I’m grateful as it enables deeper thought.
A Feeling of Calm
The process of writing before bed is relaxing as it gives me the opportunity to unwind without the use of a screen. It provides structure to the evening and therefore allows for some quiet time to myself.
Relating each point to an affect from the day is a natural form of reflection. This creates a stronger connection to oneself and in stepping back, avoids feelings of being over-whelmed.
In finding the positives of the day and focusing on them, it’s an easy way to boost my mood. The difficulties become far less significant.
Taking the time out in the day to practise this increases awareness of the smaller moments. The relaxation provides the space to be present and check in with myself and my surroundings.
Often, I will strip back to the basics. Not all that long ago, I watched an environmental documentary about communities where clean water just wasn’t available to them. I instantly felt so grateful for that access.
To bring this in more regularly I find it especially powerful to relate to a negative experience of the day and contemplate how it could have been worse. For example, if I’ve been cooped in my flat all day and haven’t been able to get out I might write:
“Despite having to stay in, I’m grateful that I feel safe in my home and that I didn’t have to spend that time totally alone.”
There are so many benefits to be found from practising gratitude in this way; I would encourage anyone to try it out. It doesn’t have to be a daily occurrence, even once a week would make a difference I’m sure.
Since beginning my lists, I have become more aware of my privileges simply by taking the time out to reflect. I value that greatly as it not only aids general wellbeing but encourages self-growth too.
What do you think?
Don’t be shy – let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Writing in a gratitude journal has been really rewarding and I would love to hear if that’s something you are doing or are thinking of doing in the future. Let me know if you have any other benefits too!