Tips on Keeping a Gratitude Journal
What do you think about before bed? Studies have shown that what you focus on before you turn in can affect your overall stress level and promote a greater sense of calm at night. So about a month ago, after a few sleepless nights and at the suggestion of a friend, I decided to test these findings for myself and start a gratitude journal. Instead of focusing on my never-ending list of things to do, each evening before bed I acknowledged and wrote down 5 things that made me feel happy/grateful. At first doing this seemed a little forced or unnatural. But that feeling quickly dissipated as I started to get into it and challenge myself to write down more—even on “challenging” days. It’s not surprising that I have consistently had a better nights’ sleep and have woken up feeling more refreshed since I started.
Hence this post and my desire to share some of my best practices for making this work.
- For starters, find a pretty notebook that inspires you to fill it. And yes…I recommend writing things down rather than typing them in. There’s something about the “old school” act of writing things down that allows us to better retain information.
- Commit to doing this on a consistent basis. I recommend nightly or every other night so that you can quickly make this a habit. I know that it’s easy to let things slide, especially the things we do for ourselves. So go ahead and schedule the time in your calendar, as you would any other important appointment or event.
- Try not to judge or filer what you write down. Instead list the first things that come to mind without worrying if they are “worthy.” From a delicious cup of coffee to a stranger saying “excuse me” to the opportunity to leave your desk at lunch, if something small or large brought you joy, it’s worthy.
- Even on a rough day, try to come up with at least 5 things to acknowledge. The very act of you looking for the good in people or everyday things and occurrences will put you in a more positive frame of mind.
- In addition to looking at everything and everyone around you, don’t forget to be grateful for yourself, your health and your abilities. Funny how we sometimes forget about ourselves!
A gratitude journal offers you an uplifting and consistent reminder of the people, experiences and things in your life that make you happy. So why not take a few minutes each evening and give a gratitude journal a try? And who knows…one of the things you may be grateful for is a better night’s sleep…not to mention this post!