Robert Emmons, a professor at University of Davis, California, helps with the following research on keeping a gratitude journal. Remember, this is nothing more than finding a way to pay attention to the good things in our lives. It’s all too easy to compare ourselves to people in better situations. We always forget about comparing what we have to those who have nothing.
As you go through this process, Emmons advises, “Be aware of your feelings and how you ‘relish’ and ‘savor’ this gift in your imagination. Take the time to be especially aware of the depth of your gratitude.” You have to understand these things in your life are gifts. That key buzzword will help you associate your current life with positive feelings.
1. FIND YOUR GRATITUDE HEADQUARTERS
Go get a specific notebook, a Google Doc, or even a stack of Post-It notes to use as your gratitude journal. Not only that, but you should also have a specific place and time when you practice gratitude. Your kitchen table in the mornings is a great start.
2. EACH DAY WRITE DOWN 1-3 THINGS YOU’RE GRATEFUL FOR
How you write down these things are extremely important, and we will continue to discuss that. But for now, focus in and think over the past few weeks. What are the people, places, things, and moments that made your day better?
3. WRITE DOWN WHY YOU ARE GRATEFUL FOR THOSE THINGS, NOT JUST WHAT THEY ARE.
For instance, you may be grateful for family. Make sure you add in that it’s because family can be there to support you or motivate you. At the very least, they created you!
4. DON’T JUST GO THROUGH THE MOTIONS
You may find yourself writing down similar things every single day, or just trying to get this task out of the way. Honestly, you might as well not bother. This gratitude exercise only works when you sit down and make a conscious decision to improve your perspective.
5. DON’T OVERDO IT
Guess what? Keep a gratitude journal every day can sometimes be counterintuitive! Our brain adapts quickly to positive recurring events. We crave novelty, which can be good and bad. If it feels better for you, just use your journal once or twice a week, and try to fill up a page.
YOUR GRATITUDE JOURNAL TEMPLATE
Here you can access to our gratitude journal template, with five essential questions to ask yourself every day, about goals, people, and improving. Simply copy and paste the following into a Google Doc, transfer the Doc we have already created for you into your Drive, or print out a couple pages. Here is a link to the template.
To be completed in the morning:
What are three things I am grateful for today and why?
What are my top three priorities for today?
Who is one person I can connect with and thank today?
To be completed in the evening:
What is one thing I could have done better today?
What are three moments today that I would like to remember?
Ready to try it? Leave a comment with just one thing you are grateful for and why!
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