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If someone were to ask you what you were grateful for, could you instantly rattle off a few things, or would you have to think about it? Recalling the simple moments in your day that bring you joy can be difficult if days are hectic, stressful, or distracting. Still, jotting down the things you’re grateful for every day only takes a few minutes, and it can help you realize the things you love about life.
But recalling what makes you happy isn’t the only reason you should be keeping a gratitude journal. The other reason is to develop a more positive mindset. Research shows that when you generate positive thoughts, your brain produces more serotonin, which leads to a feeling of well-being. With higher serotonin levels, you will find that you’re less stressed, less anxious, and more focused throughout the day – all things Brain Forest Centers advocates for. So, here are our tips for starting your next gratitude journal.
Choose a Journal
Starting a gratitude journal all begins with picking out your journal. Look for something that appeals to your style and has lines you know you’ll enjoy writing on. You can also decide between a physical book or a digital platform, such as a blog or Medium account. If you plan on taking it with you to work, to school, or wherever you may go, then you might want to try something smaller. But if you plan on keeping it at home, then size may not matter so much to you. Finding a journal that speaks to you will help set the foundation for gratitude journaling.
Focus on the Benefits
When you start a new habit, it’s essential to know precisely why you’re doing it. Keeping a gratitude journal should be for yourself and no one else. Understanding the meaning and benefits behind why you’re keeping your journal will help make developing the habit easier. You should also find enjoyment in writing in your journal. When it feels like a chore, you’re less likely to accomplish your journaling day after day. Instead, focus on the positive benefits like a greater sense of calm, less stress, and a brighter outlook on life.
Set Aside Time
For something like a gratitude journal to work, you must be committed to setting aside 10-15 minutes out of your day. This small, simple task can help clear all the clutter from your mind, improve your neuroplasticity, and improve your outlook on life. But none of that will happen if you’re sporadic in your journaling practices or don’t give yourself enough time to reflect. So, either set aside time in the morning when you wake up or let it be the last thing you do before going to sleep.
Look Up Ideas
When you’re just starting, knowing what to write about can feel overwhelming. Usually, the lack of ideas or prompts is when newbies give up. However, there are plenty of platforms where you can search for ideas and keep a list of things you want to write about in your gratitude journal. Scan through Instagram or Pinterest for ideas or spend some time brainstorming ideas on your own. Here are some to get you started:
- Write about something you’re looking forward to.
- Write a Thank You note to yourself.
- Write about something in your life that you have now that you didn’t have a year or three years ago.
- Reflect on a past mistake and what you learned from it.
- List three things that made you smile this week.
Be Open & Honest
Your gratitude journal is where you can dump your innermost thoughts and feelings, so it’s essential to be open and honest. This openness and honesty with yourself will allow you the space to dive deeper into who you are as a person. Even if you hide parts of yourself or the little pleasures from others, being open and honest with your thoughts will allow more healing and self-awareness. Honesty can also help you identify things you don’t like about yourself and give you space to map how you want to make changes. Use your gratitude journal to dive into your life and who you are.
More Gratitude for a Better Attitude
Gratitude journaling is excellent for people who struggle with their mental health. In addition to our neurofeedback therapy, the experts at Brain Forest Centers recommend you keep a journal. This will aid in your therapy and is an excellent resource for you to read back through as you navigate your treatments. To learn more about how neurofeedback can help you with depression, anxiety, and peak performance, call us at (317) 288-9828.