I started writing a gratitude journal about a year ago and the process has had a truly positive influence on my life. Gratitude is nothing new, of course, but until I made the conscious decision to think about and acknowledge the things I was grateful for, these little gems of positivity used to go unnoticed.
So often we get swept along by the daily grind and forget what we hold most dear. Writing a gratitude journal refocuses your attention; it allows you to shut out the noise and realise what motivates you, what makes you happy, and what is truly important.
Gratitude is a wonderful way to feel more positive. Being thankful and appreciative of what you already have can lead to long term happiness. It can also help you live a more authentic and purposeful life.
Your list doesn’t have to be grandiose; you can be grateful for anything. From your loved ones to a kind word from a stranger, having time to read a good book or enjoying a home cooked meal with your partner. Write down anything that makes you feel happy, centred, complete.
These are a few things I’ve learnt by writing a gratitude journal.
Gratitude is an antidote to negativity
Arianna Huffington is a strong believer in the power of gratitude. Writing in her book Thrive, she said: “Gratitude works its magic by serving as an antidote to negative emotions. It’s like white blood cells for the soul, protecting us from cynicism, entitlement, anger, and resignation.”
Since becoming obsessive grateful I’ve learnt to let go of a lot of negative emotions, I’ve learnt to accept things that I cannot influence, and appreciate those things that I can change for the better. It’s made me more content with my life, it’s helped me understand what genuinely matters, and its given me greater strength and motivation to make my life the best it can be.
You learn a lot about yourself
At first writing a gratitude list can be quite a strange process. It feels unnatural to analyse what it is that makes you happy on a daily basis. Even if you’re feeling low, encouraging yourself to find something you’re grateful for (even if it’s as simple as getting up that morning) will improve your mood and outlook on life. By discovering what make you grateful you will learn a lot about who you really are.
So often we neglect our own feelings, wants and desires and replace them with those society places upon us. We’re all supposed to aspire to a big house, a good job and a nice car, but perhaps the thing that makes you truly happy is travelling, starting an independent business or spending more time with your family. By knowing what makes you happy, you can start to influence your own happiness for the better.
It helps you appreciate the little things in life
We live in a world where perfectionism is made to feel achievable. Everyday we’re confronted with Instagram and Facebook posts of celebrities leading ‘perfect’ lives, of friends holidaying, buying new things and getting great promotions. No wonder we find it hard to remember that everybody puts their best foot forward on social media; rarely do you see posts about a daily commute, overdrawn bank balances or a supermarket shop. We imagine that everyone is ‘nailing it’ and can be left feeling deflated and downtrodden.
Since writing a gratitude journal I’ve learnt to appreciate the little things in life. We can’t always be on holiday or doing something amazing, nobody’s life is perfect. However, we can make the day-to-day more enjoyable by being grateful for what we have around us. You may be grateful for your morning coffee, for the sun shining, for the first snowdrops of spring. By writing a gratitude journal I’ve started to look out for things I’m grateful for and it’s amazing how it changes your perspective entirely.