The Practice of Gratitude Journaling
When was the last time you thought about gratitude? When life gets busy, our attitude of gratitude might not come as quickly, but what if you focus, just for one month on writing down everything that fills you with appreciation? When you pay more attention to the feelings and emotions related to gratitude, you can inspire positive feelings, improve social interactions, and put things in perspective.
Writing things down can help us see things a bit more clearly and reinforce the happy thoughts we are thinking. When we write what we are grateful for down on a sheet of paper, we are consciously noting what brings joy to our lives. A gratitude journal is a compilation, diary, or notebook of things for which one is grateful. Gratitude or thankfulness journals are often used by those who choose to focus on the positive things in their lives. Gratitude is defined as a feeling of appreciation or thanks, and studies in the field of positive psychology show that it works.
A USC study showed neuroscientists that when our brains feel gratitude, the areas responsible for feelings of reward, moral reasoning, fairness, and economic decision making (to name a few) are activated. The study also indicated that those who habitually practice the act of gratitude could be more empathetic to themselves and others.
Focus on everything you’re grateful for in your life, and it becomes easier to manifest and create more of it. There will be things that you may want less of, but when you put pen to paper and make a list of everything you have, it can help you to feel appreciative of the things that are going well.
When any situation arises, you have a choice. You can focus on the positives and attract positivity, or you can choose to focus on the negative, bringing more of those negative thoughts into action. Experiencing all emotions is healthy, but the practice of gratitude can help you to turn a challenging situation around.
Ready for your first journal prompt? What are you thankful for? Your family, friends, pets? Your yoga practice, health, knowledge, freedom? Get more in-depth. Can you come up with a specific sentence about why you are thankful for a particular person, place, feeling, or thing? Be precise and write it down; that way, it’s easier to spark those warm feelings of thanks. You can do this exercise again and again, and each time take note of how you feel afterward. When you write in your journal, remember to speak about yourself and others with kindness. Kind words have an impact, and when you practice showing love and thanks, you will attract more of it.
About the Author: Kara Willingham discovered the benefits of yoga, meditation, and regular practice in 2013. After embarking upon her first retreat and taking the time to listen to her body, she simply fell in love. Over the years, Kara has immersed herself in the world of yoga and enjoys how her practice is ever-changing and always growing. Kara finds joy in teaching yoga, building relationships within her community, and sharing her passion for wellness with others.