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 for 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 deeper, 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.