This piece is part of a month-long Wanderlust and YOGANONYMOUS series about the power of journaling.
We should endeavor to become indebted to gratitude in 2016.
Because becoming indebted to gratitude empowers us to find the endless ways our journeys are enhanced. How do we mindfully bring consistent gratitude to our lives? Create a gratitude journal.
What is a gratitude journal?
A gratitude journal is what we make of it. I started my gratitude journal during a 21-day meditation experience guided by spiritual guru Deepak Chopra and positive lifestyle icon Oprah Winfrey.
To better understand ourselves and express gratitude, we had to record our answers to three questions:
- What inspires me today?
- What brings me joy today?
- What am I most grateful for today?
Each day we were to find something new to answer each question, and express gratitude for what we uncovered.
After this experience I did not stop. Two years later and my gratitude journal has become part of my life. A gratitude journal doesn’t have to take shape in the form of three questions. It could be a collection of impressions, ideas, or thoughts.
Who will a gratitude journal benefit? Us and everyone and everything connected to us.
When should we do it? Now.
There are seven tremendous benefits to starting a gratitude journal.
7 Benefits of Creating a Gratitude Journal
You'll become more mindful.
Having a running story or train of thought in our heads is often a sign that we are not in the present moment. By stopping and counting our blessings we can be brought back to the now. Michael A. Singer’s book, The Untethered Soul, challenges readers to ask the question: “Where am I?” The answer is always: “Here.” Asking that question slows us down and allows us to look up and see what is around us—and it makes us find an unlimited amount of things for our gratitude list!
You'll relieve stress and gain balance.
Anytime I have found myself sinking from the story in my head, I realize I am off balance. I am spending more time complaining than I am showing gratitude. The scales always must be tipped in favor of gratitude! Instantly, I pull out my handy Evernote app, and begin writing. After I am done, typically I’m leaping for joy inside, often forgetting whatever story had me down prior.
You'll find joy in the small things.
In starting my gratitude journal it was amazing to me all of the little things I noted that brought me joy. The breath in my lungs. My heart beating. My pinky toe. A flower. Tiny particles reflecting the sun’s glow through my window. A bead of sweat dripping from my brow as I hold warrior pose. It has become a like a neat, endless Easter egg hunt of finding all of the little things to gather joy from.
You'll attract new things and people to be grateful for.
When we love life, life loves us back. The more we appreciate life, the more it appreciates us. My little serendipitous egg hunt not only began to show me what I already had, I began to notice neat circumstances and people to keep my list going. Give it a shot. The list never runs out.
You'll feel a sense of accomplishment.
An unintended consequence of creating my gratitude journal was the sense of success I felt with each item I added to the list. Complaining can make us feel like failures. Expressing gratitude makes us feel the complete opposite—a definite confidence booster.
You'll become a giver.
Because I felt more accomplished in my life, it made me more open to give time and resources to others. It could be as simple as a smile. When we feel as though there is an infinite supply, we don't allow ourselves to hoard what we have. We open our hearts to share with others.
You'll gain a sense of interconnectedness with all things.
With a sense of mindfulness, peace, joy, attraction, accomplishment, and charity, we connect to all that is good in the world. We recognize that life is bigger than us, or any temporary negative sensations we may feel. We grow infinitely taller, stronger, and more purposeful.
Starting a gratitude journal doesn’t have to be an elaborate, structured opus. From answering questions, to sketching, to taking pictures, and more it is up to us to find our bliss where we are, and express it however speaks to us.
What are you grateful for? Share in the comments below.
Photo via iStock