A gratitude journal is simply an ongoing list of things that you are thankful for. The idea is that you write down two or three things each and every day that are blessings in your life. Whether you are grateful for getting a raise or for having a roof over your head, there are countless things you can be grateful for on a daily basis. And the benefits of keeping a gratitude journal are absolutely incredible.
You can keep your gratitude journal in your bullet journal, a dedicated notebook, on a wall of sticky notes, on a dry erase board, on a computer file, etc…. it doesn’t matter where it is as long as you do it regularly. I like integrating my gratitude journal into my bullet journal, which I keep in my Leuchtturm 1917.
Why Keep a Gratitude Journal?
Being thankful for the many wonderful things in your life alters your perspective. Often, we revert to a negative point of view because we don’t have what we want, we’re frustrated with our families or bosses, we haven’t achieved that goal yet. While it’s okay to be irritated at the many irritations in life, this negativity needs to be balanced with positive vibes. If not, you will generally find yourself being a pessimist or grumpy. If you alter it slightly by thinking up three things you are grateful for every day, you will start to see that there are great parts of your life too and internalize that positivity.
I’ve got a cold? I’m thankful that I have access to medicine to make me feel better.
My dog keeps chewing on the coffee table? I’m thankful that she had no potty accidents today.
My boss is a jerk? I’m thankful that my workday flew by today and I didn’t have chat with her.
You can find a silver lining on anything if you just look. And this will gradually move you away from being a complainer, and no one likes a complainer. If you stop complaining, you will find that you don’t think about things in a negative light as much, and you will be a bit cheerier than before. It’s a subtle but wonderful change.
How Do You Set Up a Gratitude Journal?
There are several ways you can do it. You can make these as simple or as decorative as you’d like. I prefer a pretty header with plain ol’ handwriting as the daily gratitude entry.
I personally like to set mine up in my Monthly planner and keep it as one big list. I have fun experimenting with a variety of pens and colors to create a theme or feel each month. In my old Ecosystem journal, I was prone to using my Prismacolor pens and my Pilot Varsity fountain pen set for the pop of color that I craved and Micron pens for the writing of the main body.
The monthly list in your planner or bullet journal works well if you remember to write in it every day, but if you don’t like doing the big month-long spreads, then there are other options. If you prefer four weekly spreads over a large monthly spread, you can add a place on the page for a few lines of writing for each day. Or you could go directly to the dailies and write two or three things in your daily entry. You can separate this section of your daily with a box, border, different colored pen, or cursive. I recently started using my Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen to write my daily entries for my log because I find that it feels more purposeful and sincere to me when written with a fountain pen. If you like the colorful route, I’d suggest the Staedtler Triplus Fineliner pen set. You will love using these dependable pens every day, and the colors are bold and crisp.
It Really is That Simple
Just set aside room somewhere and remember to complete it every day and you will find it filling up in no time! I like to read through mine when I reach the end of a month and smile over the funny little things that made me happy on certain days. Many times I am thankful simply for beautiful mild weather, or the transition of the seasons. Sometimes it’s an accomplishment, sometimes its avoiding an unpleasant thing, or sometimes it’s just having a nice moment with Jon. Sometimes it’s Game of Thrones. Ok, so every Sunday I’m thankful for Game of Thrones.
Give the gratitude log a try for a week and I promise you’ll like it. Reflecting on the best part of the day always makes me feel a little lighter when I go to bed at night. I feel like even if the day was crap, it wasn’t all crap. And that’s sometimes just the thing you need to make your heart smile.