I was writing in my gratitude journal daily until the last two days. Work has been a bear and I was just too exhausted, for one thing. For another, I just wasn’t getting the benefits I was used to getting from my regular illuminated journal, where the gratitude list was a side note. It was hard to make myself write gratitudes down when I was just so exhausted. It felt like a duty rather than a release or pleasure. What was wrong?

Well, I found this article by Lousie Jensen on Tiny Buddah with “Tips for a Powerful Gratitude journal” which I believe will help me get back on track. Here the tips that I think I need from her list:

  • Don’t just go through motions. Make a decision to be consciously more grateful. This is definitely where I stumbled. I was forcing myself to look back on the day and try to remember something good. In order for this to work, I have to commit to being grateful in the morning and watch for things all day. Notice things and be grateful for them. Genuinely grateful. Acknowledge them as they happen. Taking the time to do this even when work is hectic is going to difficult, but forming the habit of looking for gratitudes will make that easier.
  • Don’t set yourself a minimum number of things to write per day.   Yep…definitely stumbled here. I set myself a goal of three things, which is what I put in my illuminated journals WHEN I FELT LIKE IT. Forcing myself to come up with three things when I wasn’t really feeling it is a big part of why my gratitude journal became a chore. If I only noticed ONE thing, or if one big thing stood out and overran other things.. then I should let it be.
  • Keep the negative out. Jensen’s comment on this tip: If you want to keep a diary to record how you feel, this can be constructive, but leave your gratitude journal as a purely positive only exercise. I also want my journal to be a record of my day, so I was inserting my frustrations about work at the top of the page. How is that a way to start a journal of positivity?! I think I can still insert stuff about my day, but rather than saying how frustrated I was, I will just record what happened. For example, I will say, “I helped a lot of customers and coworkers today, but didn’t finish my task list.” rather than complain about the interruptions while I was trying to do my work chores.

In all, Jensen lists ELEVEN tips for keeping a gratitude journal. For the full list and a little backstory on why she started her own journal and how it helped her, please read the full article “Turn Pain into Joy: 11 Tips for a Powerful Gratitude Journal” on Tiny Buddah.

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