November 7, 2018

How To Keep A Gratitude Journal (And Feel Happier Every Day!)

Announcing the Ink+Volt Gratitude Journal + a how-to guide.

Gratitude might just be the cure, for anything.

Studies have shown that gratitude is one of the only ways to measurably improve your happiness. The benefits of gratitude on your physical and mental are seriously never-ending, it seems.

One attitude, feeling, act that is so versatile, free of charge, and fairly simple to do. Studies show those who practice gratitude and thankfulness have lower rates of depression, experience positive moods, optimism about the future, sleep better and experience other positive physical benefits, and that these benefits last over time.

Are you ready to make gratitude a part of your everyday life? We are thrilled to announce the launch of our latest product to help you do just that and feel happier every day:

Ready to start a gratitude journaling practice? There are many ways to incorporate gratitude into your life and a gratitude journal is one of the best ways to do it. Here is how to make it easy and rewarding.

Pick the option that works best for you

Memorializing thoughts and ideas on paper moves them from the realm of the obscure and uncertain into the more concrete. That’s why, when it comes to your gratitude journal, finding the vessel that will work for you is so important; it will hold onto all that you are grateful for and become a treasured keepsake.

For some people, a small, lined notebook is just enough, informal, and free flowing. Or maybe you want a bound book with exercises and prompts to keep you inspired and engaged, and to keep your memories beautiful.

If you prefer a gratitude specific journal, search for one that fits your style and lifestyle. Gratitude journals are great options if you desire prompts, quotes, or need inspiration and they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Consider the variety of options available, such as those that:

There are also gratitude apps out there:

  • Grateful, A Gratitude Journal from treebetty, which gives you reminders and flexibility; it will provide you with a daily prompt, but you have the option to change the prompt or write your own.
  • My Gratitude Journal from Happy Tapper includes rewards for writing, reminders for when you don’t, and emojis that “capture the spirit of the day.”
  • 365 Gratitude: Diary, Journal from Grateful Community utilizes daily prompts and allows you to add photos, accumulate points, and do it in a community setting.

Establish a gratitude journal rhythm

No matter what you choose to write in or on, what you write is the most important. Here is a simple guide to getting your gratitude practice started:

1. Create a ritual or schedule to write what you are grateful for, a routine and habit that you incorporate into your life. It could be once a day at a certain time (before bed or in the morning) or simply once a week.

Don’t push yourself to write perfectly or be hard on yourself if you don’t. The quality and the experience writing in your gratitude journal is more important than the quantity. However, you do want to prioritize your practice. If you find yourself skipping it regularly, you may need to work harder to make it a part of your life. It’s a balancing act.

2. Choose a time and place you have privacy, quiet, and time to think so you can be present and in the moment. Many people like to write in their gratitude journal right before bed as a way to wind down from the day.

3. Use a format that works for you or consider changing it up on different days:

  • A list/bullet point format with one or two-word entries
  • A journal entry, focusing on one event, question, or prompt in detail

And keep these general rules of thumb in mind:

  • Be as specific as you can in writing what you are grateful for, using details to get at the “why” – the reason why you are grateful for that person or thing.
  • Think deeply about what you’re grateful for rather than trying to write about many things. It’s not about making an exhaustive list.
  • Try to be creative and think of new things you’re grateful for, rather than repeating the same things every day. You may surprise yourself with what you feel gratitude for!
  • Rather than dwelling on or avoiding negative things completely, try including hard situations that had a positive outcome like a lesson learned. You can also try imagining your life without a person or thing as a way to focus on what you have rather than what you may be missing.
  • Don’t rush through the process!
  • Don’t stick to one format if you don’t want to! Doodling, using different colored pens, or trying different writing styles can keep it interesting.

4. Think about what you are grateful and thankful for. A simple list of 3-5 things you’re thankful for each day (or every few days) could be based on:

  • Experiences
  • Material items
  • Intangibles such as memorable moments and what you felt, witnessed, tasted, heard, etc., or surprises

You can then take each of these broader categories and go a little deeper. Try the following:

Think of a thing or an object in a general, vague way that you are grateful for and then drill down into more specific details.

For example, let’s say you are feeling grateful for a delicious meal you had.

From a big picture level, you’re thankful that you have food and the food satisfied your hunger. But it could also signify:

  • nutrients that will fuel and support your body (a focus on the ingredients)
  • that you are able to provide for yourself/family
  • the fact that you know how to cook or enjoy cooking (thankful for a skill and the joy it brings)
  • passing down a tradition
  • creating family/bonding time with others (focus on the impact it has on others you love)
What skill, rather than a tangible thing, are you grateful for?

Then extend it further and further down in more detail in the same way as above. A skilled painter may be thankful for the work they produce, but more specifically thankful for the person(s) who taught them how to paint, for the tools they have to develop or practice that skill, etc.

Who are you thankful for in your life?

What has a person done for you, how have they positively impacted your life, how have they shaped you into the person you are, what could you not have done without them?

It could be something small, such as a single interaction with a stranger, like a repeated interaction with your bus driver/mailman/barista. Or it could be a significant relationship that you have with a parent, partner or friend. On different days you could think about the numerous people that you come in contact with daily, seasonally, or those from your past.

Use the Three Good Things from Greater Good in Action.

Write three good things that happened today in detail, why they happened, and how it made you feel.

Think of simple things that made you smile, laugh, or feel at peace.

The excitement in your child’s eyes while you played with them before work, a bird building a nest, pictures your friend shared, the hat that shielded your eyes from the sun, the smell of lavender or flowers on your walk after dinner.

Reflect on what you love about yourself, your abilities, or you creations.

A skill, knowledge, and physical strength are easy to overlook and take for granted during daily routines. What things can you do that make your life better or happier every day?

Gratitude is simple: let Ink+Volt help!

It doesn’t have to be complex, use significant amounts of time or money, and you don’t have to overthink it. Want to make gratitude a bigger part of your life? Get your Ink+Volt Gratitude Journal today and make gratitude a beautiful, simple part of your everyday life.

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