This year I’ve been keeping a Daily Gratitude Journal. Nearly every day I’ve written down at least 1 thing I was grateful for on that particular day. On the few days I have missed I have completed the list the following day. Most days I write down 3 things.
This is not my first experience of keeping a daily gratitude journal – I’ve developed the practice over the last 20 years or so. I’ve not always been consistent in my approach and I have fallen off the wagon several times. And yet I always come back to it…sitting down (usually at night, in bed, before I go to sleep) and taking time to think back over my day and highlight and record the things I am most grateful for.
Some of the entries are repeated a lot. Some are silly, some fun and some hold deep meaning to me.
Benefits of keeping my Daily Gratitude Journal
- I feel happier overall
- Helps me find the silver lining
- Helps me not take things for granted
- Keeps a record of daily life when I haven’t documented it in any other way
- Really fun to read back – especially from years ago
- Has become part of my bedtime ritual and helps signal that it’s time for rest
- Helps me see progress when I read it back over time
When Daily Gratitude Has Kept Me Sane
The following are snippets from a gratitude log I kept in the notes app on my phone during May 2016. This was our last full month in New Zealand before moving back to the UK. It was a crazy-filled month – we were packing belongings for shipping, selling our car, leaving our jobs, and our dog (who was coming with us) had cancer. Every night when I crawled into bed I was exhausted and stressed. Taking the time to find one thing each day that I was thankful for kept me focused on the positive.
May 3rd 2016: We got our flights booked and paid for today. Yay. Leave 2nd June, arrive 1 month today on 3rd June. Scary and exciting.
May 10th 2016 (written on the 11th): We were all absolutely exhausted so went to bed early. I was in bed at 830pm and asleep by 930pm. Just what we all needed.
May 25th 2016: My boys. I love them so much. All 3 of them. I am looking forward to some time out when this crazy time has passed to all hang out together and enjoy each other’s company.
May 31st 2016: Wow, the end of May. 31 days. Huge, life changing days. It’s been emotional and we got through it. The belongings left today. We are camping in a pretty empty house right now. Crazy. I’m glad I’ve kept up the daily gratitude log. It’s helped keep me sane. Much love xxx
My tips for keeping a Daily Gratitude Journal
- Start small – aim to write one thing each day this week…if that works try the whole month and then consider making it a daily ritual in 2018
- Use a dedicated diary and keep it somewhere you will see it
- Or integrate it into a planner you already use to help you remember
- If you’re not a fan of pen and paper use your notes app on your phone (or find an app!)
- Set a daily reminder
- Use the reminder as a ritual starting point to think back on your day
- Try not to see it as a chore. It shouldn’t be one extra thing you have to do before bed but something you look forward to
- When you’re having a bad day have a read through past entries
- Try to list at least one thing EVERY day even if you’re having a really bad day
- If you struggle with ideas use a prompt each day (there are specific journals available that list a question each day)
- Try to come up with something different each day. If you’re grateful for a certain person in your life and they appear a lot on your daily list – list a different reason why they feature each day
- See this as a snapshot of your life. It will be fun to look back on in years to come
- If documenting gratitude at bedtime doesn’t work for you – try a different time of day – when you first wake up or at lunch time
If you’re not already keeping a Daily Gratitude Journal, why not start today? It feels great to know that when I say goodbye to this year I have a whole year-worth of gratitude that I can look back on in years to come.
If you already keep a gratitude journal I’d love to hear more about it. What are the benefits for you? Please leave a comment below or drop me a line.
Taking it Further
Gratitude is one of the prompts in my Find Your Happy journalling workbook. The workbook contains twenty one journalling prompts to help you find more happiness in your everyday. Each prompt is designed to take 10 minutes or less and will leave you with the warm fuzzies!