A daily gratitude journal can be an awesome tool for anyone who wants a happier, more fulfilled life. The simple act of giving thanks in writing for even the smallest pleasures can lighten the dark days. When life runs smoothly, making a note of things we enjoy enhances our happiness.
As an old French proverb reminds us, ‘Gratitude is the heart’s memory’.
What is a gratitude journal?
A gratitude journal is simply a notebook in which you write a list of the things you are thankful for. If you want to develop this habit, choose a time each day, like before bed or when you first wake.
An ordinary notebook works well. But something that sounds as wonderful as ‘a gratitude journal’ probably demands a bit more attention. As well as that, a shopping expedition to buy a beautiful notebook provides an opportunity for pleasure and fun.
Choose a pretty notebook with paper that feels good to write on, as well as a pen that feels good. Lined pages are fine, or choose blank ones if you like to illustrate and add colour (or simply to doodle).
At the beginning of this year, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit and turned our world upside-down, I wrote a blog about self-nurturing, which I chose as my word of the year. Keeping a daily record of what gave me pleasure featured on the list.
On and off throughout my adult life, I’ve made a habit of noting the things for which I’m grateful. Mostly I’ve stuck to my plan, but occasionally let it lapse. Looking back, I recognise that the times when my life seemed happiest were the times I kept a gratitude journal and wrote in it every night.
What are some of the benefits?
As Sarah Ban Breathnach says in her book, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, a gratitude journal can be transformative.
- Life is never perfect and can actually be quite a rough journey. When we acknowledge what works well we find we can survive and even surmount the difficulties.
- The good things in our lives blossom and flourish when we notice and remark on thema
- Being grateful sets in motion the ancient spiritual law: the more you are grateful for, the more you will receive to be grateful for.
- The more you write, the more you’ll uncover details to enjoy and savour.
- As you progress, you’ll find you have become happier and more content. You may even find yourself more creative and your life more abundant.
What to write about
This an exercise where anything goes. Literally everything that gives pleasure, hope, joy can be included. Sometimes, the entries in my gratitude journal amaze me and fill me with joy.
This week I’ve noted with great joy that my granddaughter, her husband and their three children will be in Perth again on Friday! From Texas! After eighteen months! How wonderful is that, even if I will not see them for weeks because of isolation.
I’ve also written this week about meals and outings with special people, as well as family fun.
Often, there seems little new or exciting to comment on. So I write about my gratitude for my husband, my health, our warm, comfortable home, our families and the food in the fridge.
I highly recommend this simple habit.