How to Create a Positive Daily Ritual with a Gratitude Journal
The simplest, most effective thing you can do every day to be happy is to spend a few minutes practicing gratitude. Consistently shifting your focus to the positive can dramatically improve your happiness throughout life. As humans, we have the capacity to choose what we want to focus on. It’s true – when life seems like a never-ending shit-storm, if you are calm and still inside, you will be able to handle all of the craziness with authority.
What is gratitude?
Gratitude is derived from the Latin word, dē gratiā, which means grace, gratefulness, or graciousness. It is essentially the experience of counting one’s blessings – it embodies the phrase, “Thank you.” It is the warm-feeling you get when you genuinely smile at someone who shared an act of kindness with you. It is good stuff.
Some scientists claim that gratitude is a magic pill for happiness. Feeling gratitude influences parts of your brain associated with the neurotransmitter dopamine, a chemical responsible for creating new learning pathways and mediating pleasure within the brain. Which means, when you practice gratitude on a daily basis, you will open the door for better, more happy days. Cool, right?
Benefits of recording gratitude each day
Writing your gratitude each day brings lots of good things your way, including:
Here’s how you can establish a successful daily routine by feeling and celebrating gratitude.
1. Make or buy a gratitude journal
A great way to practice gratitude is to create (or buy) a gratitude journal. A gratitude journal gives you a place where you can write down the positive things in your life. Doing so will help you stay focused on the good around you.
One you have the journal, keep it and a pen next to your bed. Place your journal/notebook within an arm’s reach of you. Let it be the first impulse when you wake up and the final impulse before going to sleep.
2. Create a ritual
The beginning and end of the day is a perfect time to think, evaluate and correct course. Creating a positive daily ritual in which you reflect on gratitude (at least) twice a day will help you establish a positive pattern of thinking and acting. Writing in a gratitude journal everyday allows you to push past resistance. This act gives you the opportunity to grow and stay resilient during difficult times and challenges.
Commit to writing in your journal twice a day – once when you wake up and once when you go to bed. Commit to this even when 1. you are feeling tired, 2. you have a headache, 3. you are feeling lazy, 4. you have an early morning tomorrow, 4. you just had an argument with a family member.
Life won’t always be smooth sailing. It is important that you write even when you feel sleepy or cranky. Learn how to push past resistance and stick with your goals and commitments because the habits you create now have the potential for reaping ginormous rewards for you later on.
It won’t always be easy, but the more you practice, the easier it will get. Through discipline and commitment, the ritual/process will get easier and easier as time passes. Just do your best now.
3. Write twice a day
I like following the format of the Five-Minute-Journal, which looks like this:
Components of a gratitude journal can include morning and evening prompts.
Morning prompts give you an opportunity to set a positive tone and intention for the rest of the day. They may include:
- Today’s date
- Three things I am grateful for
- What would make today great?
- Daily affirmation (a statement of what I want in my life)
Evening prompts help you assess and evaluate your day and help you plan how you can improve your tomorrow. It gives you prompts that ask you to reflect on the good that happened during your day, ensuring that you end your day on a positive note. Prompts may include:
- Three amazing things that happened today
- How could I have made today better?
Start a new ritual today
If you aren’t already writing in a gratitude journal, start today! Commit to practicing gratitude every day this week – first thing in the morning and once before bed.
If you are reading this post in the morning, start with the morning prompts listed above. If you are reading this in the evening, write three things that went well today (and why they went well). These things do not have to be significant events – they can be as simple as a smile or the act of enjoying a moment of relaxation. Don’t forget to reflect on how you could have made today better.
What three things are you feeling grateful for today?
You may be surprised at the positivity that may come your way after consistently shifting your focus to the positive.
- Give it a try and share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below this post!
- What are three things you are grateful for today?
I look forward to hearing your responses. xo
When she is not helping others to slay fat, build muscle, and live amazing lives, Jennifer can be found exploring the outdoors with her dogs, cooking, traveling and playing/coaching lacrosse. She also enjoys reading and writing about food culture, history and the science of human movement.