Thanksgiving is quickly coming upon us, and many people take this time of year to reflect the on the things they are thankful for. I would encourage you to take your thanksgiving one step further, by writing it down in a journal. Read on for three ways to set yourself up for success in gratitude journaling:
1. You don't have to write everyday to reap the benefits.
You've done it before, gone out and bought a fresh, new journal with the best of intentions to write everyday. Well, now that journal, with only three entries, is squashed under a pile of books somewhere gathering dust. And you are left feeling like you failed. Well, the great thing about having a gratitude journal is that you don't have to write everyday. Feeling freer? In fact, some say it might be better not to write in it everyday. So get yourself a journal, start today, and know it's okay if you don't write tomorrow!
2. Pair it with something you already do daily.
To get in the habit of gratitude journaling, use happiness author Gretchen Rubin's strategy of pairing. This means you pair your journaling with a habit you already do each day. Pair you gratitude journaling with your morning cup of coffee or put it by your bed and do it at night, right after you set your alarm for the next morning. Journaling the things your are thankful for doesn't have to take much of your time. But by developing this habit for a few minutes a few times a week, you are investing in your wellness.
3. Reread old entries.
When we remember something, we can evoke the same feelings we experienced when the event was actually happening. So, by rereading your gratitude entries, you can fondly look back on the things you were grateful for and conjure up those positive vibes. Maybe last winter you were thankful for your ocean view, so close your eyes and visualize the waves lapping the shore and hear the seagulls calls. Feel those positive emotions all over again. Your gratitude journal gives you direct access into many positive emotions, so open it up when your having a down day. Reliving those happy moments will give you all the more reason to continue the habit.
If you have never had a gratitude journal before, now is the perfect time to start reaping the benefits. Remember, don't get discouraged if you don't write everyday, pair it with a current habit, and be sure to reread old entries every once in a while for a happiness boost. Leave your own tips about what works for you in the comments below!