Gratitude Journal

Scheduling fail: I definitely should have written and posted this in time to go up last Wednesday, so that it would go live right before American Thanksgiving. In my defense, we Canadians celebrated our Thanksgiving back in October, so I kind of forgot about the American one (sorry Americans, I still love you!).

Anyway, scheduling aside, this Wellness Wednesday is all about gratitude journaling.

I used to incorporate gratitude into my bullet journal. However,there were a couple reasons that wasn’t really working for me anymore. The first is that I like to do my gratitude journaling in bed, right before I turn off the lights to go to sleep. I found that having my bullet journal on my bedside table meant that I was going to sleep thinking about all of the various things I needed to do for work, thereby taking away the feeling of blissful gratitude that I was trying to cultivate at the end of my day. Secondly, I’ve recently been using my bullet journal more so as a place for work to-do lists and meeting notes (I’ve been using a different system for everything else, blog post coming soon!), so it’s been living in my office.

For a while, i just kind of stopped doing anything gratitude-wise. Big mistake: for such a small act, it makes a marked difference in my level of happiness. There’s something so rewarding about being able to look back, even on the worst day ever, and manage to find a few things (big or small) that you’re grateful for.

Because my solution for most things is a trip to Indigo, I picked up a cute new notebook that can live in my nightstand and be completely dedicated to gratitude.

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Every night (ok, most nights; I’m still trying to fully rebuild the habit), I take a few minutes to think of at least three things that I’m grateful for. I try to make them specific to that day. Some days it’s really easy (“I spent the whole day with Mom and Dad!”), others not so much (“…my boss yelled at me less than yesterday…?” <shrug>). Regardless, I always manage to find at least three things, even if they’re pretty small (“the cat spent the evening purring on my lap”). It really helps change your mindset so that you’re not discounting the good things in your day–which is really important for people like me who suffer from depression and might be more apt to amplify the negative parts of the day.

For days that I really have a hard time finding positives, I have a list of permanent gratitude at the front of my journal:

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These are the things that I’m always grateful for, but sometimes need to be reminded of when things aren’t going well and my brain wants me to focus on the negatives. I actually think this is the part of the journal that helps me the most. Objectively, I’m pretty fortunate… I just sometimes need to be reminded of it.

I have a similar list of things in Google Keep, along with photos:

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This is a really helpful way to get the gratitude journal feeling when I’m not at home. The photos also help improve things a lot quicker because I’m a very visual person (and come on, who can be sad looking at that kitty face!). Thinking about it now, I actually might print them and put them in my gratitude journal.

Have you ever tried gratitude journaling? I’d love to hear any tips and tricks that you have!

2 Thoughts

  1. I super heart this. I’ve been listing off gratitude items in my bullet journal for the past year. As the way I’ve used my personal bullet journal has evolved, I find the gratitude logs taking up more and more space–it’s definitely the most important part of my journal (here’s what it looks like, if you’re interested: https://photos.app.goo.gl/urUF8KqWNKrIAJYQ2). Like you, some days I have so much to be thankful for, and practically fill up the space. Other days, it’s just a few items. I love the idea of an “always grateful for” list. I’m going to add that in!

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    1. Oh, and my family has also adopted a gratitude practice. Every Saturday (when we’re all at home and together) we eat breakfast together, and we each come up with three things we’re grateful for from the week, and write them down in our family gratitude journal. It’s really been neat seeing the kids come up with things to be thankful for, and it’ll be something we can reflect on as a family at the end of the year.

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