4 Steps for Establishing a Gratitude Journal Habit
By Amber Page
Writing in a gratitude journal has a ton of mental and physical health benefits. You'll feel happier and less stressed. You'll have a greater sense of self-esteem. You'll even sleep better!
But like any good habit, establishing a gratitude journaling practice takes time and effort. Follow these steps and you'll be well on your way to creating a lasting routine.
Decide What You'll Use as Your Gratitude Journal
You could use a simple spiral notebook. Or write in the notes segment of your daily planner. Or go shopping for a pretty journal that inspires you to want to write. It doesn't matter what you choose, as long as it's something you can see yourself using consistently.
Choose a Time to Journal
To reap the maximum benefits of gratitude journaling, you should plan to spend at least 10 to 15 minutes each day writing about the things you feel thankful for.
When can you carve time out of your schedule to devote to your journal? Many people choose to write as part of their bedtime routine. After all, thinking about positive things is a great way to ensure happy dreams.
But you could also journal as part of your morning routine, during your lunch break at work, or while waiting to pick up your kids from school or extracurricular activities. Just make sure you choose a time that you can easily stick to.
Use Writing Prompts to Motivate Yourself
There's nothing more intimidating than a blank page -- especially when you're trying a new kind of writing.
Writing prompts can be a big help. For instance, you could write about something your partner did for you that made you happy, something you have that you're thankful for, something nice you've done for someone else, or even write yourself a thank you note.
For more inspiration, check out this list of gratitude journal writing prompts.
Regularly Evaluate Your Progress
Gratitude journaling will have a positive effect on your life -- but you might not realize how much of an impact it really has. Every month or so, do a mental check-in with yourself. Are you feeling more positive? Has your sleep improved? Are you having an easier time dealing with the stressors in your life? Are there any tweaks you need to make to your routine?
Taking the time to evaluate your gratitude journaling practice will help you appreciate how helpful it is -- and make it easier to keep going when life gets busy.
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