“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful. But gratefulness that makes us happy.”
You don’t have to be Oprah to know…. there is a whole lot of power in the act of GRATITUDE.
Practicing gratitude can center you, help you live in the moment, enhance your relationships, help you overcome hurdles, improve your health, and motivate you to reach your goals. Showing gratitude is a great way to spread positive feelings in the world around you. When you think about it, reaching your goals starts with a single positive thought. Feeling grateful for what you have can produce the good feelings that keep you moving towards the happy life you want.
Sadly work, school, friends, family, hobbies, and daily routine can trap us into a pattern of negative thinking. It only takes one negative thought to breed more and before you know it you’re stressed, unhappy, and frustrated. Negative thinking is a sinking ship, once you are in its gonna be hard to get out of it. This downward spiral can eventually create other ailments in your life, including constant fatigue, depression, and isolation (because really, who wants to hang out with a negative person?). Believe it or not, you can reprogram your thoughts, break out of a negative funk, and generate more happiness in your life simply by FOCUSING ON THE POSITIVE. How do you start? By using the power of GRATITUDE. The easiest way to do this is by keeping a gratitude journal.
A gratitude journal is one of the best ways to retrain your brain to think positive. Research has shown that keeping a gratitude journal can have many benefits. A study done at the University of California showed that participants who kept a daily gratitude journal complained of fewer physical symptoms, felt happier and more optimistic about their lives, were better able to meet goals, and exercised more. Want to get all these benefits and THEN SOME? Here are my 5 steps towards starting a gratitude journal practice:
5 steps to creating a Gratitude Journal and Cultivating positivity in Your World.
1. Choose Your Journal. Does handwriting in a journal help you to slow down and connect with what you’re feeling? Or do you prefer the instant materialization that typing offers? Constantly on the Go? You might benefit from journaling in your Iphone /smart phone. There are plenty of gratitude and note applications that work well for the constantly moving individual (this one looks COOL!). Decide on a format that works best for your needs and preferences. Make it as easily accessible as possible and commit to using it consistently.
2. Make it a Habit. You should write in your gratitude journal every day, preferably at the same time of day. If you’d like to start your day on a positive note, write in your gratitude journal after you eat breakfast. If you want to use your gratitude journal to reflect after a long and stressful day, write in it before bed. It is important to associate your writing with other key habits, as well. Even if you don’t write at the same time, write in conjunction with the same activity. You could write in your journal on the bus ride home, after you’ve finished washing the dishes each night, or after you’re done at the gym. Writing at the same time or in correlation with the same activity helps making it a part of your routine, which will quickly make it a habit.
3. THREE TO FIVE. Every day. Decide on a goal for how many things you’d like to express gratitude for, but be sure that it is no less than three to five. Doesnt have to be long. You can write your entries in a list or go to town and write in small paragraphs, explaining why it is you are grateful for each. The key is to get in the habit of becoming aware of all the things in your life for which you have to be grateful. It may be hard to come up with three items in the beginning, but once you get in the habit, it will be easy to see more positive in all the things you do.
4. Be Specific! In the beginning,you may be tempted to list things like “I’m grateful for my health.” While this is certainly something for which to be grateful, try to be more specific and focus on exactly why you are grateful. For example, instead of saying, “I’m grateful for my husband,” you could write:
- I’m happy to have such an affectionate husband who shows me that he loves me and treats me well.
- I’m grateful to have such a handsome husband, to whom I still think is HOT. 😉
- I’m lucky to have a husband who picks up his socks, walks the dog, and makes me yummy dinners.
Instead of writing, “I’m grateful for my job,” you could write:
- I’m lucky to have a job that I enjoy and that I feel is purposeful in the world.
- I really like the people I work with every day. My co-worker Margot always makes me smile.
- I’m grateful to have a job that lets me have a flexible schedule. I can spend more time with my kids and still do the work I love!
Focus on specific, positive things, and the things you have to be grateful for will come more into focus for you.
5. Turn Negative into Positives. Transform your thoughts by finding the positive side in negative situations. Instead of dwelling on things that are not working out, try to find a positive in even the most difficult situations. For example:
- I’m sad that relationship didn’t work out, but now I have time to focus on myself and figuring out what I really want and need in a partner.
- My husband is just lost his job, but I am happy that we were able to pay rent this month. I know if I stay positive our strong relationship will help us find a solution. I know we will get through this time together.
- I don’t feel well and I’m worried about my health condition, but I’m grateful for the insight it has given me into how much I want to get out of life. Im choosing to have faith that it will get better and being nice to myself.
It takes work, but you CAN learn to focus on the positive in even the most dire situations.Though it may seem difficult and unnatural at first, keeping a gratitude journal and choosing to focus on the positive every day will help you cultivate a greater sense of happiness and optimism about your life.
We might not have the power to control everything in our lives, but we do have the power to choose our thoughts and focus them on the positive. Journaling the things you are grateful for is one of the best ways to do this and I’ve found helps create the right attitude that can transform my day. When I am grateful, I am living in the moment and I am happy for the moment. I can honestly say that when I start thinking about all of the things I’m grateful for, even a bad day can start to seem pretty good…
THIS MONTH, I challenge you to keep a daily “Journal of Gratitude”. It is such an easy, simple thing to do for yourself. Decide today that you are going to reduce negativity and get rid of the ‘don’ts,’ ‘nots’ and ‘no’s’—the negative people, the negative thoughts. Decide today to get in the habit of appreciating the little things and savoring each moment.
I believe this challenge has the power to positively change your life. And I think deep down in your gut you know it. Keeping a gratitude journal will fill your life with happiness. And we could all use a little more of that right?
I will be keeping a daily journal this month of things I am grateful for. At the end of the month I will post some my list in this space and share with you the things in this life that make me happy. I want you to join me. No, isnt an easy fitness challenge you can fit in when you are short on time. This challenge is much harder than that. This challenge requires you to sit down for a few minutes and reflect. This challenge requires you to choose a positive thought. This challenge will change your life. Create your gratitude journal using the steps above. Start today journaling the positive in your life. Let me know if you have any questions and update me on your progress. Im really excited for you to take part in this month’s challenge and I cant wait to see the positive transformation that happens.
This month’s gratitude journal challenge might not make your butt stronger…. but I can guarantee you it will make you happier. Grab a pen and a piece of paper. This month, we are getting GRATEFUL.
With love and gratitude,
Other things to Check Out This Week:
LETS DO IT!!