As of late, I seem to be getting into this gratitude movement more and more – through the sessions I am facilitating, the email newsletters I receive and the books I’m being drawn to take out of the library [yup, it’s my new (read: old) favourite thing!].
A bit ago, I watched a video by Marie Forleo on how to enhance one’s gratitude practice through journaling based on the book “Gratitude Works!” by Robert Emmons. I was so inspired, I excitedly tweeted this newfound knowledge and then promptly went to my local library and scored the book.
I am a 1/3 of the way through, and I wanted to share Dr. Emmon’s top 10 tips to enhance your gratitude journal practice. I know many people do this, but find that at times the exercise gets stale. Following these tips will help keep it fresh and you feeling inspired!
Top 10 Tips for Successful Journaling from “Gratitude Works!”:
1. Take five to ten minutes to write at least every other day. Make that commitment and honour it. Choose morning or evening.
2. If you do not have a pen and paper, use the speech-recognition feature on your smartphone to record your gratitudes in the memo pad or equivalent app on your phone.
3. Seek gratitude density. Be specific. Go for depth over breadth. Give details for each entry. The journal is more than just a list of stuff. (LB: e.g. “I am grateful for my mother’s listening ear. Her honest opinion helped me come to a decision I was really struggling with today.” vs. “I am grateful for my mother today and everything she does for me.”)
4. Try to include some surprises. What unexpected blessings did you benefit from today? What were you dreading that did not happen?
5. Use the language of gifts. Think of the benefits you received today as gifts. Relish and savour the gifts you have been given.
6. Think about the people to whom you are grateful and why. Who deserves your thanks? What have you received or are receiving from them?
7. Think about and then write down those aspects of your life that you are prone to take for granted. Instead, take them as granted.
8. Let your gratitude last a long time. It is okay to repeat a blessing day after day. But do elaborate on each blessing. Give details.
9. Don’t only journal about people who helped you but also about those who have helped people whom you love. We may overlook these sources of gratitude.
10. Be grateful for the negative outcomes that you avoided, escaped, prevented, or redeemed into something positive.
I highly recommend going out and grabbing this book – it provides not only practical tools for your own gratitude practice but the hard science to back up how and why gratitude works to help change how we feel. Sounds like a win-win to me :).