Every year about this time, when the leaves change and the weather cools, I think about the Thanksgiving holiday. And then my thoughts turn to gratitude and the simple act of writing down the things for which I’m grateful.
There’s no shortage of “gratitude journals” in bookstores and even quite a few online apps, some with inspirational quotes to keep us focused on the things in life for which we’re truly thankful. For most of us, a simple spiral notebook works just fine.
If you’ve tried keeping a gratitude journal and failed, here are a few tips to reinvigorate the effort and keep you racking up those psychological rewards, compliments of The Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life…
- Don’t just write a list of things that you’re grateful for and expect miracles. Make a conscious decision to become happier and more grateful.
- Elaborate. Write about fewer things, but dig deeper into them.
- Get personal. Writing about being grateful for a person may have more impact that writing about gratefulness for a thing (like blue skies!).
- What if? Writing about what if your life wasn’t blessed with something or someone takes more courage than writing about obvious blessings. The greater effort can provide a great reward.
- Write less. If you write daily, take a break. Try writing only once or twice a week for awhile and see if the emotional benefits have a greater happiness payout. Studies show that they do—so it’s worth a try.
The point of keeping a gratitude journal is to help us to pay more attention to the good things in life and never to take them for granted. It can help us call on those good feelings of happiness in the bad times, when we need them most. Good journalling!