I’ve always felt of gratitude as a gift that keeps on giving. If you’ve been around the Making Time Blog for a while, then you know that I’m a big proponent of gratitude. There are so many ways to express your gratitude; but sometimes you want to do something a little different. Or you may be wondering if you’re getting all of the benefits that you can from your daily ritual. Well, have no fear, there are several things you can do to get the most out of your gratitude journaling. Read on for three simple ways to receive the maximum benefits from your journaling practice.
Consider Different Formats
When many people think of journaling, they think of it as writing sentences about their feelings. But this isn’t the only format you can journal in, and the truth is, it may not be the most effective for you. Consider changing up your journaling format, or better yet, try doing more than one thing in your journaling and use a variety of formats. If you don’t want to just write, get creative! You can try one of these other formats for your gratitude journaling:
To write your gratitude journal as a list, you can pick a particular topic (such as a person, place or thing) and then list out what it is that makes you grateful about it.
One of the easiest ways to diagram about your gratitude is to create a mind map. For your gratitude mind map, you put the focus of your gratitude in the middle of the mind map and the branches of your map are the reasons why you’re grateful for whatever you’ve placed in the middle of your mind map. You can have sub-branches that delve deeper into why you’re grateful.
To put your gratitude in a table, use your merge and center skills and put the item, person or place that is the focus of your gratitude in that center box. The first column should list what you’re grateful for about that item or person and the second column should list why you’re grateful. For example, if you’re grateful for the morning, that is what you’d put in the center box. In the first column you could list sunrises as one of the things that make you grateful for mornings and next to sunrises in the second column, you’d list beautiful colors as what makes you grateful for morning sunrises and so on.
If you’re skilled at drawing, why not sketch what you’re grateful for including the reasons why. Although you can and should use any layout that appeals to you, one idea is drawing the thing that you’re grateful for in the upper left hand corner of your page and then drawing the reasons why you’re grateful for that thing on the rest of the page. You could also use one color for the thing that you’re grateful for and using other colors for the reasons why.
In gratitude journaling, most people usually write about all the things or people they’re grateful for in their lives. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this because it helps you to appreciate the great things that you’ve been given. But it’s just as important that you don’t forget to be thankful for the most significant person in your life - you!
There’s nothing wrong with writing out a few things you like about yourself each day as you journal. After all, no one knows you the way you do! And there’s nothing wrong with a little self-love! The great thing about this is that it gives you the opportunity each day to reflect on how your day went and over time you get to watch your transformation as you become a better version of yourself.
Use Those Lessons Learned
As you definitely know, no one’s life is perfect, and when you gratitude journal, there may be days where you feel like it’s hard to think of something to be grateful for because you’ve had a bad day, or made significant mistakes that you’re embarrassed by. But you know what, it’s okay, and even something you can be thankful for.
Instead of approaching mistakes as setbacks, include them in your gratitude journal as lessons that you’re grateful for the opportunity to learn. And see what you can learn from them. This will help keep you from making the same mistakes again.
Wherever you are in your gratitude journaling journey, you’re definitely benefiting from it. After all, your gratitude journal is a safe space for you to express everything you are grateful for without any outside judgment. So don’t be afraid to mix it up.
Let’s talk – what techniques are you going to use to change up your gratitude journal? Let me know in the comments section.
Cassandra Martin-Himmons is a trainer, wellness coach and consultant who believes in empowering her clients and providing the tools that they need to make positive changes in their lives to manage their stress and increase their self-care. In her spare time, she enjoys papercrafting, volunteering and travel. Connect with her on Instagram or Linked/In