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Daily Gratitude Journaling and other Notebook Exercises for a Healthier State of Mind

Too often we’re continually striving for the next thing, the thing we perceive to be better, the thing that we tell ourselves is going to make our lives more fulfilled. Then when we attain that thing, the feeling of being fulfilled is fleeting and we quickly move our attention onto something else.

One way we can try to break this cycle and focus on the things that really make a difference to our lives is with a Daily Gratitude Journal. Here, we unfold the basics of daily gratitude journaling to help you get started.

What is Daily Gratitude Journaling?

It’s a daily activity in which you write down a list of things that you’re grateful have happened that day.

What are the benefits?

The first, great thing is that it has been shown to lower levels of stress and increase one’s sense of calm. But it can also help you gain some more perspective on your life. By writing about what you’re grateful for that day, you can find a greater understanding of the things you really hold to be important and learn to focus on those, rather than the things that don’t really matter.

Some tips to help you get started

  • Make it part of your schedule and do it at the same time every day. Try 15 minutes before bed.

  • Some days you might want to rush out ten things, other days maybe less, but we think 3 is a nice number to always aim for.

  • Start by writing the words ‘Today I was grateful for...’ It will help focus your mind on the task.

  • Think small – and smile big. You might think that you’re not grateful for anything that day, that everything was awful and you have nothing to write down. But these are the occasions when daily gratitude journaling is most helpful. Was the sun shining? Did the supermarket have your favourite ice-cream in stock? Did someone smile at you? Did you smile at someone? Look for the little things that really make a difference to how you feel.

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What other mindfulness practices could you do in a notebook?

Morning pages

First thing in the morning, when you’re still a little dazed from sleep, write 3 full pages in your notebook of whatever comes to mind. It doesn’t matter what you write, just let a stream of consciousness flow onto the page. You might find it clears your mind and makes you more creative for the rest of the day.

Spring journal

Few things can keep us grounded and remind us what’s important like the beauty found in the cycles of the natural world. When spring emerges, it’s the perfect time to remind ourselves of this and focus on it in a more fulfilling way. Start a daily journal where you note all the flowers that start blooming and shoots that start appearing in your garden or your local parks.

Emotional colour squares

This is a very quick and more visual way of keeping tabs on your emotions. In your diary or planner, draw a little blank square on each day. At the end of the day fill in that square in a colour that you feel represents the emotion you felt that day. When you look back at it, you will hopefully have a stronger sense of your emotional triggers and be able to control them better in the future.

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If you’re still unsure as to why keeping a journal could benefit you, we’ve noted 5 Stress Relieving Benefits of Keeping A Mindfulness Journal.