Focus on the joy
I used to spend much of my time counting down the days until the weekend. I was always looking forward to the next big thing, event or holiday. This all changed when I simplified my life, stopped buying unnecessary stuff and learnt to be present. Over time, I noticed my gratitude for the simple everyday moments grew.
I began to reflect at the end of each day, focusing on my achievements and the things that made me happy. The practice became a time to give thanks to the people and moments of joy and to consider what worked well and what didn’t.
So, today I’m sharing some of the benefits I’ve found from keeping a gratitude journal. A gratitude practice doesn’t need to consist of writing, you could simply take the time to mindfully reflect or share your thoughts with another person. Do what works best for you.
The benefits of keeping a gratitude journal
1. It helps us to appreciate our lives just as they are
Gratitude has been shown to have many benefits in terms of our happiness, health, life satisfaction and the way we relate to others. Keeping a gratitude journal can increase our long-term wellbeing by as much as 10%! (source)
Being grateful is a wonderful feeling. It helps us to appreciate what we already have and enjoy our lives just the way they are. There’s no better time to be grateful than in the present moment because happiness is not a destination.
2. It enables us to become more mindful
Taking a moment to consider the things we’re grateful for can stop us moving through life on autopilot. This may sound like a simple concept but when we stop dwelling on the past or thinking about the future, we will undoubtedly be more present. Enjoying the moment rather than rushing to get to the next thing is a calmer and more mindful way to live.
3. It encourages us to see the glass half full
Life will always be filled with challenges, but by taking the time to actively seek out the joy we can approach the difficult times more positively. Even on the tougher days, there will always be a glimmer of joy – the beauty of nature, a message from a friend, a calming cup of tea and so on. By taking the time to actively celebrate these small everyday moments we’re less likely to be consumed by our troubles.
4. It helps us to identify what makes us happy
Keeping a gratitude journal can enable us to establish what makes us happy and identify if any themes are emerging. Happiness triggers may be as simple as going for a walk or relaxing with a good book, once we’re aware of what makes us feel happy and content, we can ensure there’s an abundance of it!
5. It provides a daily moment of calm
Many of us live busy lives with limited time to relax and reflect, by keeping a gratitude journal, we can create a positive daily habit giving ourselves some self-care. This is especially beneficial if we spend our time helping others because it gives us a moment to connect with how we’re feeling. And in this fast-paced world, a daily moment of solitude is a wonderful thing.
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