Today is the first day of my 30-Day Gratitude Challenge (if you haven’t joined yet, come on over!), and keeping a gratitude journal is such an important part of focusing on thankfulness!
There are no hard and fast rules for keeping a gratitude journal. The most important part is that you are taking the time to record those all of those things you are grateful for consistently.
1. Writing it down makes it more real.
It’s one (wonderful) thing to feel grateful in the moment. But when you take the time to write it down, it’s almost like you are making that memory more concrete.
If you keep an electronic journal (like in a Word document or in an app on your phone), it will definitely still benefit you, but a paper and pen is the best way to go!
2. You can use them as a reminder in your down times.
I am terrible at remembering things when I don’t write them down, from people’s birthdays to chores I need to get done. Even the blessings that have made the biggest impact on me just escape my mind after the moment has passed, so having a hard copy reminder of those things is like having a yearbook of thankfulness.
On those days when gratitude is harder to come by, I flip through those pages and remember, and it always brightens my mood and reminds me of God’s faithfulness in my life.
3. It changes your thought process.
When you are consistently journaling all of the things that you are grateful for, it becomes an intentional part of your day. Instead of just waiting for those blessings to fall in your lap, you are on the lookout for them throughout your day.
Over time, it changes the way you think and that thankfulness starts to come easier and easier because you have trained your mind to look for gratitude everywhere.
4. It brings sweeter sleep.
You are free to write in your journal anytime you’d like, but I highly recommend journaling at bedtime. When it’s time to wind down at night, often, your thoughts fly around jumping from worry to worry, dwelling on “what ifs”, overthinking, and creating worst case scenarios.
If you end your day with even just a few minutes of thinking over the things you are grateful for, you are redirecting your thoughts away from worry and toward thankfulness. It helps you to fall asleep easier, lower your stress, and give you sweeter dreams.
5. It gives you more contentment.
It is so easy to constantly wish your life were different. I’ll be happier when I have a husband, when I get that promotion, when I have a baby, when I lose 30 pounds, or when I can buy a house… And if you are only focusing on those things that you are wanting but don’t have, you are going to feel pretty disappointed.
Writing down all of those things you are grateful for helps you shift your eyes off from dwelling on what you don’t have an on to appreciating all the blessings you do have.