Una's Blog

24
May

70 Gratitude journal

graphic-6by Una Hearne.

Keeping a gratitude journal is one of those deceptively simple practices which can have real and profound effects in your life.

I’ve written and spoken many times about the importance of refocusing our attention from the negative to the positive. This is so that we balance our natural negative bias and also so that we focus our attention and effort on what we want to create in our lives, and not on what we don’t want.

The reason it’s important to think of it as a practice is that it needs to be a regular habit to have the deepest effect. Our thinking is mostly automatic – and this is necessary just to get through life. Awareness of what we are thinking and the ability to refocus, is a highly rewarding life skill worth developing. A gratitude journal is one practical way of developing this skill which makes the adjustment in our thinking easy to achieve over time.

The idea is to get yourself a notebook and pen (or technological equivalent) and pick a time of the day that will work for you to take a few minutes out. Record at least three good things you noticed that day (or yesterday if you do it in the morning, or that week if you don’t have time to do it daily). I recommend daily. It can be anything – big or small, shared or personal to you. Maybe you did something you are proud of, maybe you shared a smile or a laugh with someone, a tender moment, a success, something you learned, something delicious you ate, anything at all that made you feel good or happy.

I find with this practice that, over time, the list lengthens. It’s like noticing the good stuff programmes your brain to notice more good things. You become amazed with the number of great things that happen every day and you are not normally conscious of. You begin to appreciate that it really is the little things that matter. Or rather, that the little things are really the big things.

I want to make it clear that all of the positive thinking practices and tools are not cures for clinical depression or anxiety. Sometimes for some people it just isn’t possible to refocus effectively on a bad day. And that’s ok. The fact is though, this type of practice cannot do any harm and can have a genuine and significant effect even if you are not in a good place.

A gratitude journal is a simple practical way for anyone to increase their level of happiness. It is particularly effective when you are going through tough times when it is most difficult to feel positive and optimistic. By proving to yourself that good things happen every day you can build your own positivity and resilience no matter what is going on.

Don’t take my word for this, try it out for yourself, I dare you!

 

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