5 Simple Steps on How to Create a Gratitude Journal And Increase Your Happiness Long-Term
Building positive emotions about your past is a key factor in your happiness today. Normally, your tendency as a human being is to focus on your past with an eye to what has gone wrong, not worked, or has been unfulfilling. However, you get more of what you focus on in life. Therefore, when you focus on negative things, you experience more negative emotions and unhappiness.
Gratitude Journaling is a strategy for training your mind to focus more on the good things and what is working well in your life. This builds more positive emotions about your past, leading you to feel happier and more fulfilled in the present. It also gives you more hope and optimism about the future. So without further ado, here are the steps you can take to begin gratitude journaling NOW to increase your happiness.
Simple Step #1
Find Your Spot. It is essential to have a quiet, reflective place to go daily. This spot could be a comfortable chair in a quiet room, a favorite place in nature, or at your favorite coffee shop or cafe. Your spot will allow you to focus and reflect on the past day.
Simple Step #2
Get a notebook or journal. This is where you will record your thoughts about gratitude. Writing down the things for which you are grateful will amplify them in your mind and provide you a record of all the blessings in your life. Whenever you need to lift your mood, you can review your journal and you will be reminded of all these good things.
Simple Step #3
Take 15 Minutes every 24 hours to reflect on the past day, noticing only the good things small or big. Use your mind’s eye to go back through your day seeing, hearing, tasting, and feeling those good moments again. If challenging or unhappy moments come to your mind, you can briefly notice them, decide what you can do to change them tomorrow, and let go of the things you can’t change while focusing only on what moves you forward.
Simple Step #4
Write in your journal at least three good things for which you are thankful. Be specific and detailed. Then, reflect on what caused them to happen. If it was something you did or have control over, then you can create these good moments again by doing more of that thing. If it was out of your control, then you can thank God again for the blessing.
Simple Step #5
Repeat this exercise daily. Through repetition, you will begin to create new neural pathways in the brain that lead to a habit of noticing the goodness in your day. After one month, review your journal and identify three major blessings in your life. This will help you to be more aware of how your life is improving and how God is working in your life.
Your Faith-Based Family Therapist…
Justin H McManus, LCSW, CAP
P.S. I would love the hear how gratitude journaling is working for you.
Contact Cornerstone Counseling of Palm Beach NOW at (561) 472-0397 or Email Team@CornerstoneCounselingPB.com to learn more about how YOU can overcome depression and anxiety.