After I decided to switch careers, I spent several months job searching and feeling bad for myself losing my positive outlook on life. Then, a friend suggested that I start a gratitude journal to help me put things into perspective. Having a gratitude journal helped me get out of my funk and restored my positive attitude. Sometimes it’s easy to focus on what we don’t have instead of appreciating what we do have. A gratitude journal is a great way to start shifting your focus back to positivity. Here are some tips on how to start one:
Decide what type of journal you want to use.
You can write in an actual journal or maintain an online journal. Choose the format that works best for you and go from there. Apps like Evernote and Color Note are great online options that sync across devices and platforms.
Decide how often you want to write in your journal.
Some people write in their gratitude journal everyday while others write in their journal once or twice a week. I started off doing it once a day and then gradually shifted to about once or twice a week. For me, the most important thing is to reflect and not necessarily the frequency. Start by asking yourself what things you are most grateful for. They can be big, small, major, minor, or anywhere in between.
Write in paragraphs, lists or both.
Depending on your mood or your comfort level, you may decide to write in long paragraphs or use a bullet-point list. Don’t feel that you have to commit to a certain format. Do what comes natural to you! Don’t overthink it.
There will be days or even weeks when you don’t feel like writing or that it’s hard to find something to be grateful for. Don’t give up! The more you write, the easier it will get it. Also, remember that appreciating the small things is just as important as appreciating the big things in life. If you are feeling upset, frustrated, or defeated, that is the perfect time to write in your gratitude journal. It will force you to alter your perspective and see beyond your current situations and circumstances, and to take stock of all the positive things going on in your life.
No matter what, just keep writing!