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Why Your Gratitude Journal Isn’t Making You Grateful

Gratitude journals are wonderful and I love them and use them daily, but it’s not going to give you a heart of thankfulness without this one missing piece.

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I love writing things down (especially in my favorite ultra fine colored pens!). I journal everything I possibly can and I am a list person through and through. It helps me to process through situations and become more self-aware, and others-aware. I also get so much satisfaction from checking things off of a to-do list!

Confession – sometimes I write things I already did on my list just so I can check them off.

I am a huge proponent of gratitude journals. When I ran the 30-Day Gratitude Challenge last November, I even wrote a post telling you why you should keep one, too.

Gratitude journals are wonderful and I love them and use them daily, but it's not going to give you a heart of thankfulness without this one missing piece.

A Gratitude Journal Alone Is Not Enough

Writing in your gratitude journal alone is not enough. A thankful heart comes from being able to feel it, too. 

If the purpose of writing down five things you are grateful for every day was simply that, then it would be enough to just put your pen to paper. After number five, you could check that task off of your list and be done with it.

Cultivating a true heart of thankfulness goes deeper than mere words.Gratitude journals are wonderful and I love them and use them daily, but it's not going to give you a heart of thankfulness without this one missing piece.

The purpose of writing down those things you are grateful for is to feel them. Relive those moments in vivid detail.

Replay that compliment someone told you or that smile your child gave you that lit up the room and warmed your heart.

What was going on around you? How did it make you feel?  

Savor the moment in all of your senses – the words, the emotions, the scents, the sounds.

About three years ago, I was in church with my family. My niece was 3 at the time and I was holding her in my arms while we were all standing up singing a hymn. At one point, she wrapped her arms around me and nuzzled her head into the nook of my neck. I remember everything from that moment – the bellowing organ, the feel of her skin, the smell of her hair, and especially how my heart was just bursting with love for that sweet girl and how thankful I was to be her aunt. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve thought of that moment since that day and it never ceases to bring a smile to my face and warmth to my heart.

The more details you can remember, the better you will be able to solidify that moment in your memory, and the greater gratitude you will feel. And learning to do that regularly will change your life.

The more often you are able to relive those wonderful moments, the more you will experience a heart, and a life, overflowing with thankfulness.

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