Hey Bloomers! 🌼 This life thing has its ups and downs. The best way to go about it is to enjoy all the ups, and be prepared to cope with the downs (at least some of them). That way when they do come, you have techniques to help yourself solder through the problems. This is best lesson I learnt from having a gratitude journal: having a prior list of blessings to reflect on can help you on days when the sun seems to have been replaced by dark clouds.
Preparation helps in all kinds of situations. For instance, if you have a presentation to make, preparing for it takes a lot of the pressure away. What could have been totally overwhelming may become a little easier to deal with because you’re not caught completely off guard. Here is what I’m proposing: It’s possible to prepare for a bad day/situation to some extent. And one way of doing this is by keeping a gratitude journal.
What is a gratitude journal?
Well, to know what a gratitude journal is, we first have to understand what gratitude is, as well as what journaling is. These are topics that I have previously covered on the blog, so I’ll link the blog posts during the explanations, for those who want to look deeper into the topics.
Gratitude – According to the Google dictionary, gratitude is the quality of being thankful. To me, it’s the ability to look at everyone and everything around you that makes your life a little easier and giving thanks. It’s the ability to acknowledge all the messed up things that are going on in your life but still being aware and appreciative of the good (Advice from Ruva).
You can find the full article HERE.
Journaling – Journaling is defined as a personal record of occurrences, experiences, and reflections kept on a regular basis. (Free dictionary). The key word is reflections. It’s basically a process of taking your thoughts, emotions and opinions then pouring them onto a piece of paper (or app).
You can learn more about journaling HERE.
How to use a gratitude journal
Now that that’s out of the way, we can get a better understanding of what a gratitude journal is. A gratitude journal is a personal record where you put down the things that you are thankful for. It’s most effective when done daily. Every single day, believe it or not, there is something to be thankful for. It may be big, or it may be “small”, but there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for. A gratitude journal is therefore used to record all these things that you are grateful for daily.
On one day you could be grateful for something as big as being blessed with another addition to your family. On other days, it could be as “small” as being grateful for your favourite song. The word SMALL is in quotation marks because I don’t believe that there’s anything called a small blessing. They are all beautiful and worthy of appreciation. So, in a nutshell, you add at least one thing that you’re grateful for in your gratitude journal, daily.
Best lesson I learnt from having a gratitude journal
As I mentioned in the intro of this post, the best lesson I learnt from having a gratitude journal is the following: Having a prior list of blessings to reflect on can help you on days when the sun seems to have been replaced by dark clouds. There are days and situations that will have you believing that you have nothing good going for you. Two words: negative bias. We think so negatively because negative events have a greater impact on our brains than positive ones, and psychologists refer to this as the negative bias. It means we register negative stimuli more readily and we further go on to dwell on these negative events. (very well mind).
Our brains are literally wired to dwell on the negative experiences, and we can counter this by keeping a gratitude journal. Yes, bad things may be happening right now, but that shouldn’t make you forget about all the other great things in your life. A gratitude journal is a wonderful way of coping.
This is how it works…
When you’re going through a bad day or situation, you simply pull up that gratitude journal! What you will find are TONS of amazing things that you have going on for you. You’ll see that you’re grateful for the gift of life, for that new addition to your family, or even for your favourite song! “Many things are a mess right now, I’m glad I can still listen to 6lack and calm my soul”. See? It even works with the “smaller” things. There is acknowledgement that things are bad, but there is also acknowledgement that it’s not ALL bad.
Falling into the mindset that everything is terrible may become dangerous and difficult to get out of. That’s why the best lesson I learnt from having a gratitude journal is that it’s always helpful to have a prior list of blessings to reflect on. In the midst of trouble, it sometimes becomes difficult to even imagine that there’s any goodness outside of your problems. There’s no need to put all that pressure on yourself. Remember what we spoke about earlier? Preparation. There’ll be no need to force yourself to fish for all these blessings when you’re not feeling happy, because you already have them stored somewhere ☺️ All you have to do is pull up that gratitude journal, and let it do the rest for you.
I mentioned that this technique can be used when the sun seems to have been replaced by dark clouds. Key word: seems. It hasn’t actually been replaced. The clouds have just covered it up. As you reflect on your blessings one by one, slowly but surely (sometimes even quickly), the sun will start to become visible again. It hasn’t gone anywhere, it’s still there.
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