22nd November 2018
A lot of people still struggle with the idea of gratitude journals, seeing them as a waste of time and ‘woowoo nonsense’
In December 2017 I was given a Gratitude diary and I decided to use it for the whole year. Every evening I wrote down 3 things I was grateful for that day. And, being truthful, to begin with it felt like a bit of a chore finding time every evening to think about three things to write down.
Here is an example of an entry at the start of keeping the diary. The focus is on the major events from the day
My 3 grateful things for Boxing Day – Today I am grateful for a day where I can relax. Today I am grateful for for going out for a run. Today I am grateful for going on a family walk.
Over time I realised that I was starting to notice small things and thinking ‘that will be good for my gratitude diary’
For example, I drive the same way every day to work. One day I noticed some daffodils growing at the verge which I had not seen before. I noticed the colours of trees, leaves, sunsets, and I started to see shapes and colours that I had previously not noticed at all.
I started to notice what I was eating, smells and tastes and gradually my diary entries started to change.
By the end of May my entry was – Today I am grateful for a delicious white chocolate milkshake that was beautiful to look at, ice cold and tasted amazingly creamy. Today I am grateful for being able to sit in the sunshine and write a new meditation where the focus is on love using the colours around me within my meditation. Today I am grateful for the red and pink colours of the flowers by the traffic lights on my way home.
You might think that this is all a bit of new age nonsense, but if we have had a busy day at work or are sitting in a queue of traffic, often we don’t notice what is around us but go over all the negative events of the day, or feel angry that we are held up. If we start to really see our surroundings, it helps us to remove some of the negativity and is actually a mindful action.
As with everything, the more you do it, the more it becomes a normal part of your day and it became part of my nightly routine to complete my gratitude diary.
Other uses for Gratitude Diaries:
If you are struggling with a relationship with a colleague, family member or someone you have regular contact with, then every day write down two or three small things you have noticed in that day that are positive about that person. You will be surprised at how you have become used to only seeing negative things about that person and that you have to retrain your mind to see positive things.
If you are struggling at work, note down two or three small things in the day that went well.
You don’t have to buy a special Gratitude book or diary. Use whatever you feel comfortable with. You can jot ideas down on your phone, tablet or notepad.
This is a free way of retraining your mind to reframe negative thoughts into positive thoughts and to be more mindful about noticing what is around you.
Try keeping a gratitude diary for a month and remember it is the small things you are noticing, not the large obvious things.
Let me know how you get on.