This Christmas I purchased a 5 year journal. Each day I wanted to reflect on this time in my life, those few years before 30… So much has happened over the last two years and I want to be conscious of the life I am building for myself. Mostly this journal has turned into a space to remain grateful of my day to day experiences and the people I share them with. I have learned not be hard on myself on the days that I do not find time to write. I know that this will be a wonderful text for me to look back on for years to come.
Try to create your own type of gratitude journal. It will help you to gain some perspective and maybe even make you a little happier in the process.
Emmons, a professor at the University of California shared these tips:
- Don’t just go through the motions. Research by psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky and others suggests that journaling is more effective if you first make the conscious decision to become happier and more grateful. “Motivation to become happier plays a role in the efficacy of journaling,” says Emmons.
- Go for depth over breadth. Elaborating in detail about a particular thing for which you’re grateful carries more benefits than a superficial list of many things.
- Get personal. Focusing on people to whom you are grateful has more of an impact than focusing on things for which you are grateful.
- Try subtraction, not just addition. One effective way of stimulating gratitude is to reflect on what your life would be like without certain blessings, rather than just tallying up all those good things.
- Savor surprises. Try to record events that were unexpected or surprising, as these tend to elicit stronger levels of gratitude.
- Don’t overdo it. Writing occasionally (once or twice per week) is more beneficial than daily journaling. In fact, one study by Lyubomirsky and her colleagues found that people who wrote in their gratitude journals once a week for six weeks reported boosts in happiness afterward; people who wrote three times per week didn’t. “We adapt to positive events quickly, especially if we constantly focus on them,” says Emmons. “It seems counterintuitive, but it is how the mind works.