One of the most rewarding habits you need to cultivate for the coming year is to maintain a gratitude diary. Although it may sound trivial, it is unbelievable as to how this habit can change your life for better for ever!Author of the book Thrive , Arianna Huffington notes “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.”
Gratitude diary or journal is a place where you note down each day all the things, big or small, material or abstract, significant or insignificant that you possess and enjoy.
Often we are constantly thinking about things that are lacking or absent in our life instead of focusing on what we already have. In fact, what we miss or resent not having may really not be something that will give us happiness. Even after getting what we wanted, we may still be unhappy pushing ourselves into a vicious cycle of dissatisfaction and sorrow.
Taking time to reflect on what we already have and make us feel happy can help gain a more clear perspective regarding what we should aim for in life . For e.g. you may realize that getting a fatter salary package is not what will really make you happier but rather a picnic with your family to the beach gives you immense joy.
“According to a study by researchers from the University of Minnesota and the University of Florida, having participants write down a list of positive events at the close of a day — and why the events made them happy — lowered their self-reported stress levels and gave them a greater sense of calm at night.”
7 Benefits derived from writing a gratitude journal / diary
- Feel good about yourself
- Always feel positive and vibrant
- Gain perspective on reality
- Gain clarity over what we really want
- Increases self awareness
- Provides a non-judgmental space for letting out feelings
- Can uplift your mood on bad days
How to maintain a gratitude journal
- Write in the journal first thing in the morning or last thing at night. Set reminders for the same for 21 days up until it becomes a habit
- Keep the gratitude journal next to your bed
- Do not intend to write too many things each day but at least 5 points. Somedays you may have many more or too few
- Don’t think of writing elaborate sentences, even simple one liners should be enough e.g. I laughed with my friend over a silly joke. Writing elaborate sentences does promote creativity and provides useful insights
- Write about abstract thoughts and feelings e.g. relationship with spouse, time spent with friends, family and children, joy of sharing, etc
- Write about material possessions e.g. House, Clothes, shoes, etc but also note whether they are more important than abstract feelings
- Be grateful for normal physical attributes such as sight, hearing, walking, grasping, etc
- Think about your special talents and skills such as singing, dancing, painting, public speaking, listening, etc
- List down all the good people in your life who make a positive impact
Gratitude diary is one of the most powerful instruments that can take you closer to discovering the true PURPOSE OF YOUR EXISTENCE! Achieving that state of bliss is not attached with any material possessions and the sooner we realize this, each and every moment of life will be enriched.
Today , pick a nice diary and a pen and start writing . Jump start the New Year with this life-changing habit.