Brace yourselves, I’m about to go all Oprah on you.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of gratitude journals. Basically, a gratitude journal is a written record of the things you’re thankful for in your life.
I first heard about gratitude journals on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and Oprah has been endorsing them for years. Sure, Oprah can seem preachy at times, but I think she’s got it right that saying thank you for our blessings can greatly improve our happiness.
But isn’t keeping a gratitude journal kind of new-agey? What’s next, wearing strands of beads and chanting under the full moon?
(On a side note, I would totally dress up like a deranged hippie and go chanting in the woods with you. Seriously, call me.)
OK, yes, keeping a journal is a little hokey, but I’m asking you to get over yourself and do it anyway. I’ve kept a gratitude journal on and off for years, and it’s nice to reflect on what made me smile on a particular day. I remember that sweet thing Chris did for me or that day the geese took over the parking lot.
When I focus on all the good things in my life, I’m more likely to be satisfied with what I already have. Sorry, iPad, but I don’t really need you.
What kind of gratitude journal will you start? Here are some ideas:
Low-Tech Gratitude Journals
- Use a Thank You Jar to hold slips of paper with your thank yous. This is a great project for families or roommates. If you have a page-a-day calendar, write your item on the day’s page, rip it off, and tuck it in the jar.
- Write down what you’re grateful for on colored notecards and store them in a recipe card box.
- Pass a notebook back and forth with your friends and each take turns listing what makes you happy.
- Jot down one thing that made you smile in each date box on your wall calendar.
- Be like Oprah and buy yourself a fancy journal at the bookstore—you’re worth it!
High-Tech Gratitude Journals
- Team up with a friend or family member and text each other one thing you’re grateful for before you go to bed every night.
- Keep a running list on your blog.
- Take a photograph of one thing that you’re thankful for each day and display the pictures on your blog, Facebook, or photo-sharing site.
- Create a simple journal using Word or Evernote.
Remember, a gratitude journal is supposed to make you happy, but it won’t do that if you stress out about writing in it every day. Jot it down when you think of something, whether that’s every day, every week, or every month.
Like my big orange gratitude journal? Chris gave me it for Christmas a few years back, and I love it. It has prompts like, “write 3 things that went well today and why they went well” and “describe one of the happiest days of your life” and other quotes about gratitude.
What does your gratitude journal look like (or will look like)?
What are you thankful for today?
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