Finding happiness in the big and small of every day life.
We all desire more happiness in our lives. Right? what if I told you there is happiness and goodness right in front of you? Would you believe me?
Sometimes we look for happiness outside ourselves. It might seem like our partner makes us happy or having a big home, a fancy car, a good job are things that make us happy. We may even emphasize money making us happy.
And while these things certainly bring joy at the moment, true happiness is cultivated within us, not dependent on another person, place, or thing.
Sometimes we even get into that mental loop of “if only’s”.
- If only I had more money.
- If only I had a nicer house, a nicer car, or a better job.
- If only more people liked me.
The list of “if, only’s” can become long and at times, drawn out. If we let it.
So, what if I told you there is a way to feel more abundant and increase your sense of happiness? It is a simple tool really. Maybe you have one lying around your bedroom. Maybe not. Maybe this is all new to you.
The tool? A Gratitude Journal.
Studies show that learning to slow down and be mindful aids in feeling less anxious, improves mental focus, and can even have physical benefits such as improved sleep. And in case you do not have one lying around your home, you can access one here.
Benefits of a Gratitude Journal
- Writing in a gratitude journal is like writing for happiness. As you pause to ponder the big and small wonders in your world, you may begin to feel calmer and happier. Studies indicate when we deliberately focus on gratitude, even for five minutes, as well as writing down those items we are thankful for, it improves our mood and can reduce depression. Thereby we experience more joy!
Instead of seeing life situations as “the glass half empty”, when we focus on all the abundance around us, we retrain our brains to focus on the positive aspects of life.
- When keeping a gratitude journal you may find it similar to a breathing meditation. The very act of journalling increases your mindfulness by keeping you in the present. During the day we may find ourselves overthinking or dwelling on negative emotions, keeping us distracted from the tasks at hand.
The stresses of the day are in the past and any worries you are carrying live in the future. Writing what you are grateful for brings you mindfully present. It also allows you to just “be”, letting go of emotions or thoughts you no longer need.
- That stressful drive home — gone! You are grateful to be home.
- The co-worker who gets on your nerves — also gone! You are grateful to be doing meaningful work.
- The worry over how you will make ends meet this month? — gone. You are grateful you have enough today.
Writing in a gratitude journal focuses your attention on what you do have, and I bet it is more than you think.
3. Being grateful for what you have does not mean you will ignore your problems, but it certainly aids in shifting you into a more positive perspective allowing you to deal with them more productively. Our thoughts influence our actions. The acknowledgment of things you are thankful for may help when times become more difficult or when feelings of gratitude become replaced with anger, depression, or loneliness.
Looking back through your gratitude journal provides a positive impact for it reveals all the good aspects of your life and all the things that went well. The end result is an overall feeling of happiness.
How to use a Gratitude Journal
The simple practice of implementing gratitude into your day can happen at any time, morning or night or in-between. In as little as five minutes. You can even mark it on your calendar!
Once you have decided to begin journaling, take a few minutes to sit quietly and breathe. Closing your eyes as you take a few deep breaths, focus your mind inward. Cast your thoughts back through your day, reviewing them without any attachment or judgment. Then, when you are ready, jot down three things, events, or people you feel grateful for today.
Start small if you need to, perhaps acknowledging what is in your environment. “I am grateful today for my soft bed to lay on”. Another example, you may feel grateful for your morning cup of coffee and how it helps you begin your day, alert and refreshed.
You may wish to pause for a moment to remember one person who made a difference to you or performed a kind act. Silently thank them.
Gratitude is an expression and approach to life which allows joy and peace to be your motivating force. Enjoy the pleasures of a more mindful life.