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5 Tips for Starting a Gratitude Journal

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gratitude journal Kat/Flickr

I’ve written about the many benefits of journaling before, and if you have not yet started a journaling practice, the holidays are a wonderful time to begin. This is a time of year when we are often already reflective of our lives. During the holidays, we stop and remember the ways in which we are blessed, the positives and negatives we have experienced throughout the year, and the people who have touched our lives for better or for worse. Instead of simply reflecting and allowing those insights to pass, it would benefit you to write them down.

Here are some tips for starting a gratitude journal:

1. Find a journal that makes you want to pick it up and fill its pages.

You can purchase a simple lined journal or even make one from a stack of stapled blank paper. But consider investing in a journal bound of beautiful material, in your favorite color, or adorned with an inspirational saying that speaks to your heart.

2. Set aside time to write in your gratitude journal each day.

Like making time for meditation, yoga and other restorative practices, creating a special time for journaling each day helps give the act weight and importance in your life. Start your day writing thoughts of gratitude while you are sipping your morning tea or end your day remembering all you have to be grateful for by writing in your gratitude journal just before bedtime.

3. Not sure where to start? Start with lists.

If you find yourself at a loss for words, try easing into your journaling practice by writing one to five things that you are grateful for each day. These can be simple one-word answers or full sentences.

4. Write without editing.

When you first start, you might hesitate and doubt the way the thoughts in your head will come out on paper. This gratitude journal is not about perfection; remember that no one else will see this except for you. Write freely, without editing your words, without fixing punctuation or spelling. By writing without editing, you are allowing your subconscious to rise into consciousness. By doing this, you are becoming more aware of your authentic self and your true values in life.

5. Use your gratitude journal as a guide.

Sometimes, we find ourselves stuck in life, unable to move forward or make tough decisions. A gratitude journal can help ground you, and remind you of the things and people that are truly important to you. Take time once a week to look back over your words. What were you most grateful for? What challenges turned into positive situations that resulted in gratitude?

In life, empathy, kindness, and gratitude go hand in hand. Fostering a deep sense of gratitude can help give you a wonderful perspective on life, one that includes giving thanks well beyond the holidays.

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