I first started journaling about two years ago. Actually, the first day that I started writing on the internet was also the first day that I started writing in a journal.
All of my earlier blog posts were first written down in my journal. I would wake up, get dressed for the day, and would then go sit at a coffee shop for an hour before work each day where I would just simply write what I was feeling and the thoughts that were passing through my mind.
There was something about journaling that was freeing for me. I first started writing my thoughts down in a word document on my computer, but I could never quite seem to get my thoughts out as clearly as I was wanting to. Keeping a journal forced me to slow down, to concentrate solely on the words that I was writing, and made it so I wasn’t distracted by opening up the internet and getting distracted by all of the different popups.
Journaling was one of the things that saved my life. I know how dramatic that may sound, but it’s the truth. While it was not the sole change that I made to improve my life, daily journaling was one of the easiest changes that I implemented into my life, and it also just so happened to create one of the greatest impacts on my life as well. It gave me an outlet that I so desperately needed to express myself. Without it, I fear that would I would still be bottling my thoughts and emotions up inside of me.
Keeping A Gratitude Journal
In seeing the many benefits that daily journaling had on my life, I wanted to find ways to continue to see growth and expand on the newfound happiness that I was experiencing. After some research, I decided to not only keep a daily journal but a gratitude journal as well.
The thing that I like the most about keeping a gratitude journal is how simple and easy it is. You get to decide how short or long that list is, what the list entails, and how much detail you want to go into with it. There is no one right way to use a gratitude journal, only whatever way is going to benefit you the most.
Every morning when I wake up, the first thing that I do is write down five things that I am grateful for. Not only is it a good way for me to reflect on past experiences and how blessed I am in life, but it also helps me to create and establish a positive state of mind as I go into a new day.
We have all been told at some point or another that we must have “woken up on the wrong side of the bed.” At least I know that I have.
But have you ever taken a moment to dissect what that actually means? Why are we being told that we must have woken up on the wrong side of the bed at 3 o’clock in the afternoon? It’s because whatever mood we wake up with and prioritize in the morning is generally the mood that we carry with us throughout the remainder of the day.
Keeping a gratitude journal is another one of the small changes that I have made to my life that has allowed me to place positive thoughts at the forefront of my mind first thing in the morning. In doing so, I have noticed that my mood tends to remain more positive throughout the course of the day despite the obstacles and challenges that I may encounter. It’s not to say that these obstacles and challenges don’t alter my mood, but I approach them with a different mindset, one that allows me to still see the good in the world around me.
Advance Your Happiness
If you are looking for ways to advance your happiness, I strongly recommend starting out with a gratitude journal. It doesn’t have to be a certain layout either. It can include anything and everything that you want to include in it.
Every morning when you wake up, simply write down the things that you are most grateful for. Before you go to bed, reflect on that list and even add to it if you desire to do so. There is seriously no limit. It is your journal to use however you see fit.
Regardless of how you choose to use your gratitude journal, the point of having one is so that you can reflect on how fortunate you are. Sometimes we get so caught up in the daily rush of life that we forget to acknowledge all that we are already fortunate enough to have in life. Keeping a gratitude journal will help us to slow down and focus on how fortunate we truly are.
I am a firm believer that happiness doesn’t stem from having more in life, but rather being grateful for what we already have.
I would often find myself getting so caught up in the pursuit of wanting all of the latest and greatest luxuries of life, that I forgot to enjoy and be thankful for the life that I already had. It wasn’t until I slowed down and learned to appreciate all that I already had in life that I was able to find a sense of stillness and happiness. I didn’t need more to be happy. I just needed to learn to be grateful for what I already had.
What I Am Most Grateful For
When it comes to reflecting on what I am most grateful for in life, I tend to follow a pattern. While I don’t write down the same exact thing each and every day, there are a few areas of my life that I always include as I find them to be the most important ones.
Here are some of the things that I am most grateful for. Maybe they will help to inspire you to reflect on the things that you are grateful for as well.
I am grateful for Jesus because He died for me. He created the earth that I live on and I know that He will always love me as His child.
Without my family, not only would I not be the man that I am today, but I also wouldn’t be alive today. My family has helped to save my life on many occasions. Had it not have been for the love and care that my family showed to me when I was going through my darkest days, I fear that I would have given up on both myself and on life.
This goes for both my physical and mental health. There was a time where I was obese, and there was also a time where my depression consumed my every thought. Do I still experience struggles with my physical and mental health? Absolutely! But I am in a better spot than I was previously and I know that I am continuing to progress in the right direction each and every day.
This doesn’t mean that there aren’t some days where I struggle to find the motivation to go to work, but that doesn’t negate the fact that I am incredibly grateful for the job that I have. Not only do I enjoy what I do and the people that I work with, but I get to help others achieve their goals and just so happen to get paid for it.
The Blessing of A New Day
Every day is a blessing. No matter what may have happened the previous day, I try to make it a priority of mine to be grateful for each day that I wake up in the morning because I know there will be a time where that day won’t come.
In reflecting on the things that I am most grateful for, I noted that money and possessions are not mentioned. I did mention the fact that I was grateful for my job, but what’s more important than the paycheck that I receive is the meaning and value that I find in my work. The paycheck is only an added bonus.
You don’t need money or possessions in order to advance your happiness. Instead of allowing external factors to control your happiness or perception of life, start to look from within and listen to your heart. Write down what your heart is grateful for and find happiness from within. Your heart knows what is best for you, so listen to it and let it guide you towards a better and happier life.