Gratitude journals can be a bit of a hit-and-miss when it comes to actually making a difference to how you feel. They generally come without instruction, or very minimal instructions, that are quite often self-explanatory. For example – Every night before bed, write a list of all the things that you’re grateful for today.
There’s a problem with that. How do you choose what is worthy of going on this list, especially if it’s supposed to change how you feel?
The truth is that there is no right or wrong answer. You’re allowed to be grateful for things that other people wouldn’t put on their list. This is your list, not theirs.
How Gratitude Journals Start
When I first started out my gratitude journal, I realised that I was generally coming up with bigger picture things. Things like;
- my home
- my job
- my income
- my relationship with my wife
- my family, etc.
The problem I found was that I was repeating a lot of the same things every other day, and the repetition was watering down my gratitude. I was feeling less grateful for these things each time I listed them.
So, I changed my approach. In fact, I was in a situation where I needed to change my process because I was consistently feeling ungrateful for a few days back-to-back, and I wasn't going to let the feeling persist.
Amongst the other things that I do to keep my mind balanced, I started to ask myself, "What seemingly bad thing did I experience today that I can be grateful for?"
Or another way to ask that is...
"What lesson can I be grateful for from today's challenges?" Notice how that question immediately takes the sting out of the challenge?
We require both challenge and support to help us grow. I know you don't believe me, but look at a challenge or obstacle you faced in your past and ask yourself how you grew from it. I'm willing to bet that you grew significantly as a direct result of that experience. It's those experiences that we initially believe are breaking our spirit that are actually strengthening it.
Think about it. A steel blade needs to be dragged against a hard stone for it to sharpen; otherwise, it will stay blunt forever.
So with that in mind, what challenges have you come up against that you can be grateful for? Keep asking yourself until you find an answer and when you do write it down.
That's the key to a powerful gratitude journal. Looking in ordinary places for gratitude, even if it's something small, can hold more value than a list of 50 different big picture things.
The more grateful you are for the things you have, the more you receive to be grateful for. That includes your challenges.
That is a goldmine right there and essentially sums up the law of attraction - without the fluff.
So start your list today and add to it every day. If all you can come up with is one thing, just write that one thing. It all adds up over time. Just like 5-cent pieces, they all add up to riches.