Fact: Happiness does not come naturally.
We humans have a natural tendency to slide into negativity. We often overemphasize the negative and downplay the positive in our lives.
Why? Because our brains are not designed to make us happy. They are designed to make us survive. That’s why we have a tendency to worry, fear and be in ‘alert’ mode – the so called ‘fight or flight’ response of our reptilian brain.
Unless we make a conscious decision to focus on life’s blessings rather than on life’s shortcomings, it is easy to fall into a trap of negative spiralling thoughts.
We need to work at feeling joyful and harmonious. To escape from our mind’s default mode of fear and worry requires a choice. And it requires action.
What is the most powerful tool to escape your mind’s fearful and worrisome thoughts?
Think of gratitude as the most wonderful seed for achieving happiness – for living a joyful and successful life.
Every day you get to choose to nurture this precious seed… or to simply ignore it.
When you nurture this seed, you consciously choose to be happy. You train your mind, little by little, to focus on what’s important to live a harmonious and joyful life.
A powerful and simple way to nurture this seed is to start a gratitude journal.
What are the benefits of gratitude journaling?
- By putting out positive energy, you’ll attract positive energy and happiness back. You become a magnet for more blessings and abundance.
- Gratitude will put you in a positive frame of mind. One positive thought prompts other positive thoughts or recalls pleasant memories.
- You will develop the habit of thinking quality thoughts. Positive and negative emotions can not occupy your mind at the same time. One or the other must dominate. You’ll condition your mind to think in terms of what is possible, rather than what is missing.
- You will take control over what you give your energy to. Negativity will no longer take power from you. Focusing on negative things, people or situations, naturally drains your precious energy. However, when you put in daily effort to think and write what you are grateful for, and focus on what’s going right in your life, you’ll consciously raise your life’s energy. You will feel more productive, focused and revitalized.
How to Get Started with Gratitude Journaling
Here are some simple tips to help you incorporate gratitude into your daily routine.
Find your personal motivation
Do you want to feel less stressed? Do you want to feel happier on a daily basis? Do you want to increase the positive energy in your life? Do you want to feel calmer at night? Do you want to manifest more positive outcomes? Do you want to take charge of your own happiness?
I decided to start gratitude journaling as a spiritual practice. It has allowed me to pause and reflect for a few minutes every day. It keeps me connected to a Higher Power, which brings me peace of mind.
Everyone has a different motivation to start a habit, because we are all at different stages of our lives. Whether you want to feel better emotionally, spiritually, or physically, you need to find your main motivation.
To create a new habit and to avoid resistance, it is important at the beginning that the new behaviour is as easy as breathing. Grab a simple notebook, and write once a day – one thing you are grateful for. Make it simple and easy. Just one thing.
Connect gratitude journaling to an existing habit
Do you have a cup of coffee every morning? Do you read before bed time? You might already do these things as part of your daily routine. What difference would 2 minutes make, during one of these routines, to write one thing you are grateful for? Choose a time that works best for you.
Some days will be easier than other days to write in your gratitude journal
When something wonderful happens, or you have a good day, it will seem effortless to write in your gratitude journal. But what about those days that don’t go right? When pessimism and negativity dominate your thoughts, your vision gets blurry. Decisions and actions are not aligned for your highest good. It is tempting to give up journaling all together.
However, it is in the midst of adversity when a gratitude journal can help you put things in perspective. A gratitude journal can help you to see the blessing in disguise of any situation. Whatever is going on in your life, realizing that your “glass is half full”, rather than “half empty”, will equip you to be more resilient when going through negative life events. Gratitude gives a broader perspective. Gratitude allows you to look at, look in, and look through any difficult situation, until you perceive the truth.
Gratitude can literally transform your life.
You don’t believe me? You don’t have to. Just try it for yourself. You only need a pen, paper, and a decision to start.
I challenge you to give gratitude a try. You’ll be grateful you did.