Create Your Personal Gratitude Journal



“Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.” – Randy Pausch

Do you make resolutions? What is on your list? Have you thought about approaching your resolutions in a different way to achieve a lasting impact in your life? Cultivating a daily practice of gratitude is mindful practice to not only help your perspective, but tilt how you might think about your resolutions.

More often, by February, resolutions fall behind and there is a tendency to slip into old behavior patterns. Abandoning these “must-do’s”  leads to defeatist thinking and may lead to not feeling enough. Change your approach by creating your own personal gratitude journal.

Here are some simple tips to help cultivate this practice:

1. Make a mental note of when you feel particularly happy: These moments do not have be big. It can be anything from landing that much-needed promotion at work, a bouquet of flowers on your dining table or a hug from your daughter. By paying attention to these feelings, when it comes time to write it down, you won’t be scratching your head to try to figure out a particularly good moment.

2. Find a journal you love: It’s perfectly fine to splurge a little for your gratitude journal. Depending on your preference, buy a journal that reflects your personality. It’s a place of welcome, so make certain your journal respects this feeling.

3. Note the negative with the positive: Some days you might find it impossible to note a place of gratitude, but don’t abandon the practice. Instead, take those not-so-good moments and attempt to find the silver lining. This process might not be easy, but the key is to build momentum toward appreciating life’s good and bad moments. It isn’t going to happen overnight, so take small steps toward making gratitude your default attitude when things don’t necessarily go your way.

4. Don’t shy away from the deep: The journal shouldn’t necessarily be a record of what happened during the day. Attempt to pair events with your emotions. Be willing to explore whatever emotion you feel. Remember, this journal is yours. You have the freedom to embrace how you feel on the page without worrying if someone will judge your emotions.

5. Make it habit: Building gratitude requires practice: Try to write in your journal everyday. You may want to start the day with recording your places of gratitude or you may opt to write at the end of the day noting places where you felt particularly grateful. If your journal isn’t always accessible, note it on your phone, with a reminder to jot it down in your pages when you get home.

6. Express gratitude with what feels right: Sometimes you don’t want to use words to express your gratitude, but might choose to doodle, paint or color. There aren’t any right or wrong ways to jot down how you feel. Explore your creative side in your journal.

Do you have any suggestions on keys to keeping a gratitude journal? We would love to hear from you. 

Image: Gratitude Journal by Abby Cameron via Flickr.

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Rudri Patel
Rudri Bhatt Patel is a former attorney turned freelancer writer. Prior to attending law school, she graduated with an M.A. in English with an emphasis in creative writing. She is the managing editor for The First Day and her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Brain, Child, The Huffington Post, The Review, Review Role, Reboot, The Mid and elsewhere. She writes her personal musings on her blog, Being Rudri, and is currently working on a memoir that explores Hindu culture, grief and appreciating life’s ordinary graces. She enjoys reading, writing and running. Rudri has lived in the Valley since 2009 with her husband and daughter (9). You can find Rudri on Twitter, Facebook and Being Rudri.