When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. - Lao Tzu
I had been faithful and consistent with writing a gratitude journal for years! Then life got busy. My schedule overwhelmed me. I still opened my journal some nights, but my ritual of writing down things I was grateful for every day started slipping away.
During that time I had gained lots of success, started Pure Placid, accumulated more responsibility, more possessions : everything had grown exponentially except my happiness, my joy. How is it possible that I had no time to feel the joy of these successes? I was definitely stretched in many directions and too busy doing things. But, I was busy back then too, I just made gratitude a priority then. I went through the day looking for things to be grateful for, and something always showed up!
As I have been growing Pure Placid I was so focused on the difficulty of the climb that I lost sight of just being grateful for simply having a mountain to climb. It was then that I started seeking things to be grateful for again and so much showed up.
Today I am still crazy busy. But it is different now, I am journaling and whenever there’s a grateful moment, I note it. I am happier. I feel like I am living a better life. I cannot express how important I find gratitude to be in my life. I truly believe it is the key to living your best life. I believe that you generate more goodness for yourself when you are aware of all that you have.
I hope you start writing all the wonderful things that are in your life. Here are some pointers.
- Don’t just go through the motions. Decide to be happier, more grateful and then start to journal. If you are consciously involved and not just doing a task it will work better. Don’t hurry through this as if it were just another item on your to-do list. This way, gratitude journaling is really different from merely listing a bunch of pleasant things in one’s life
- Go for depth over breadth. Elaborating in detail about a particular thing for which you’re grateful carries more benefits than a superficial list of many things.
- Get personal. Focusing on people to whom you are grateful has more of an impact than focusing on things for which you are grateful.
- Try subtraction, not just addition. One effective way of stimulating gratitude is to reflect on what your life would be like without certain blessings, rather than just tallying up all those good things.
- Savor surprises. Try to record events that were unexpected or surprising, as these tend to elicit stronger levels of gratitude.
Keeping a gratitude journal—or perhaps the entire experience of gratitude—is really about forcing ourselves to pay attention to the good things in life we’d otherwise take for granted.
There is no one right way to do it. There’s no evidence that journaling at the start of the day is any more effective than journaling before you go to bed, for instance. You don’t need to buy a fancy personal journal to record your entries in, or worry about spelling or grammar. The important thing is to establish the habit of paying attention to gratitude-inspiring events.
The queen of the gratitude journal, Oprah Winfrey says,“Being grateful all the time isn’t easy. But it’s when you least feel thankful that you are most in need of what gratitude can give you: perspective. Gratitude can transform any situation. It alters your vibration, moving you from negative energy to positive. It’s the quickest, easiest most powerful way to effect change in your life.”