This is a short response to a good article I read about Gratitude Journaling.
Few things that I would like to point to out to anyone who thinks of start doing it OR has abandoned it (like I did a couple of months ago) and is looking for a way back.
First things first – I strongly suggest you read the article Gratitude Journaling for Cynics
You will find extensive description what it is, how to do it and ready to use templates. Everything you need to begin today.
What is gratitude journaling?
Gratitude journaling is the simple practice of writing down things for which you are grateful. It can be done on your laptop, smartphone, notebook, napkin, sticky note… It really does not matter as long as you write down the things you are thankful for.
Why doing it?
The sole purpose of this ritual is to focus your whole being on the positive aspects of your life. To remind yourself that what you are and what you have now can vanish any moment
By what you have now, the emphasis is not on the personal belongings, but more broadly – your family, your friends, your health…
Don’t do it every day!
Gratitude journaling should be a thoughtful and mindful to experience the positive effect of it. The problem is, in my opinion, when you push to make this practice a habit. This is when there is a risk to become mindless activity, such as brushing your teeth. You don’t think too much of doing it, because the result expected is clean teeth. It is external to your mind and attitude towards life. But the purpose of journaling is internal, it is in the way you think and see the world. Thus, it needs to be done mindfully and NOT as a habit or a daily routine.
How often and when to do it?
My approach is somewhat more reactive to the external world instead of routinely journaling. Every second around us something awful is happening and our usual reaction is “Oh god… this is horrible”, “I can’t believe this is happening” … We see people in worst condition than us – mentally, physically, economically. People suffer because of millions of reasons.
The moment I catch myself feeling bad or sorry about something that happened to someone, this is when I do the gratitude journaling. For example, I see a devastated person because of the loss of close relative – I stop, and write down just 1 sentence – “I am grateful, that everyone I care are healthy and alive”. At this point, the effect of gratitude journaling arguably is the strongest. The sight of our peoples’ reaction to their lost usually leads to the realization that you still have it. We often tend to take everything for granted, but even the ability to walk, see, hear and talk can cause immense discomfort. Realizing that you have it and someone does not, makes you appreciate and value it more. Writing it down simply confirms the realization and helps you see the better side of your life.