Gratitude is something I believe we should all be thinking about every day. However, that is easier said than done!
In this world, it is easy to feel surrounded by negativity. It’s in the news. It’s plastered all over our social media. Literally, everywhere you look, negativity is nearby rearing its ugly head.
Think about this for a minute! When was the last time you went somewhere to get groceries or gas and the cashier tells you they aren’t having the best day because of one circumstance or another? I bet you were almost able to pinpoint this happening to you sometime in the last couple of weeks. You can turn this around too. Think about the last time you vented all of your frustrations to the nice lady ringing through your groceries at the market. Again, you can probably pinpoint this happening in the past couple of weeks. I personally did this last week myself!
Now, I want to stress that this is unavoidable, and no one should feel bad if they are having a bad day! No one is perfect, and nobody’s life is perfect! There will be days that you wake up, feeling like the most positive person in the world. But through the course of the day, and one roadblock after another, you are left feeling hopeless, drained and defeated.
What I am trying to stress is that the negativity you feel is a normal part of life! It is easy to find the negativity, and it is easy to dwell on it. This leaves us feeling down or depressed. So how do we get out of this slump?
Focusing on the positive aspects of our life and identifying gratitude takes hard work and mindfulness. This can be challenging, but I am here to show you how to get started! In this article, I will show you how and where I reflect on what I am grateful for, my writing techniques, and how to develop the habit of practicing gratitude every day!
What Is A Gratitude Journal?
Deciding to focus on gratitude is just one part of the process. Now you need to set yourself up for success! One important element of being more mindful of what we are grateful for is the ability to write it down.
Many studies have shown that the simple act of writing things down by hand can improve your memory. This article from the Huffington Post outlines some studies that have been done regarding this topic.
By taking the time to write down what you are grateful for, or the positive things that happened to you that day, you are more likely to remember it and think about it often.
There are some different ways or places you can log your daily gratitude!
While some have opted to use a gratitude jar, most tend to keep a gratitude journal. Simply put, this is a notebook where you can write daily entries of gratitude similar to a diary entry.
As someone who uses a Bullet Journal daily, I have included my gratitude journal within my Bullet Journal which is what I am here to show you!
How To Include A Gratitude Journal Within Your Bullet Journal!
If this is your first time hearing the term Bullet Journal, please check out my How To Start A Bullet Journal series! It goes in-depth into how the system works and will get you started with your first few layouts!
If you already use a Bullet Journal or are in the process of setting one up, it is very easy to incorporate gratitude!
Your gratitude journal will make up a collection within your Bullet Journal. However, there are other unique ways you can incorporate it into the spreads you already likely use to!
Creating A Gratitude Collection
A gratitude collection will be a series of pages dedicated solely to expressing gratitude. While there are many different layout options, I am going to focus on my favorite two in this article!
1. A Gratitude Log
This simple layout involves writing out the days of the month and leaving one or two lines of space to record your gratitude.
2. A Gratitude Board
is layout is treated more like a board within your pages where you can add your gratitude. These boards can be very minimalist in design, or very artistic!
Incorporating Gratitude Into Existing Layouts
Personally, I struggle to remember to flip around in my Bullet Journal daily looking for all the different collections I need to fill out on a daily basis. By incorporating these things into your monthly, weekly or daily layouts can be extremely helpful if you too struggle with this!
Adding Gratitude To Your Monthly Layout
There are many ways in which you can include your gratitude log in your monthly layout! This is a great way to remember to fill it daily!
If you tend to lean towards a more minimalist monthly log layout and like to keep everything in one place, then you could section off a part of your monthly layout for your gratitude.
Adding Gratitude To Your Weekly Or Daily Layouts
If you don’t refer to your monthly layouts very often, then you may consider adding gratitude to your weekly layouts. Since you open your journal to these layouts often (hopefully almost daily), then it will be really easy to remember to fill in your gratitude for the day!
Incorporating Gratitude Into Your Daily Routine
Whenever you are developing a new habit, it is important to set a routine. Over time, this will become muscle memory and you won’t have to constantly remind yourself to take the time to reflect on your day. In the meantime, you need to set the best practice to ensure you are being mindful of this every day.
I highly recommend incorporating this into your existing daily routine, more specifically your evening routine. If you don’t have a daily routine, check out my article on adding a daily routine to your Bullet Journal!
The best time to reflect is going to be in the evening. It is important to be able to wrap up your day by finding the positive events or moments that happened throughout the day. By writing these little moments down, you are being mindful of those positive things.
To give you an idea of what my evening routine is, I have included it here. Of course, your times may be different just depending on your sleep schedule, but this will give you an outline.
9:15 pm: Make tomorrow’s lunches
9:30 pm: Put on pajama’s, and wash my face
9:40 pm: Plan out the following day in my Bullet Journal – this includes my to-do lists, events, appointments, and priority tasks
9:50 pm: Reflect on my day, and write what I am grateful for that day.
10:00 pm: Read a book
10:30 pm: Lights out!
What Should You Write?
The final step to being mindful of what you are grateful for is learning how to write it down. Again, this step is extremely important, and I don’t want you to skip this step. Even if you don’t want to use a gratitude journal or bullet journal, make sure you write it down somewhere! This could be in the notes app of your phone!
Here, I am going to share with you how I personally record gratitude, and why I find this method so effective.
The Bullet Point Method
After several months of experimenting, I have found the bullet point method to be the most effective.
Personally, when I think of gratitude, I solely want to think about the little moments that made me happy on a certain day. I don’t need to know the other events that took place or the events that lead up to a certain moment. I just want to envoke a feeling around a small moment of the day.
A bullet point list contains limited to no detail at all. They are meant to highlight certain points. Some examples of this would be;
- The smell of mom’s apple pie.
- The spring melt.
- The first bird sighting of the season.
These bullet points do not provide a lot of details, but when you look back on them, they will trigger a memory. You may find they aren’t even from that exact day, but a time you remember fondly.
- Perhaps you came home from a rough day at school, but when you got home, you were welcomed by the smell of a freshly baked apple pie.
- You had a bad day at work, so you decided to take a walk in the park. While you were walking around reflecting on your day, a bird chirping in a nearby tree catches your attention. Soon you have forgotten about the crummy day you just had.
By recording the highlights, you are focusing on the positive elements, and putting the negative circumstances behind you.
Positive thinking is harder to achieve but creates more powerful memories. Make this a priority, and you will soon find it gets easier to find the things you are grateful for every day.
Do you have a gratitude journal, or do you plan to start one? Do you have a different writing technique? Let me know in the comments below! I love to hear what works for you, as we are not all the same.
Until next time!