Many of us go through life feeling unhappy, discontent. We often hear:
“I am stuck”
“Nothing works for me”
“I don’t see any hope”
One way to improve your mood and your view on life is to express gratitude. Gratitude is an art. Observing and learning what to be grateful about takes awareness, knowledge and practice. The more you express gratitude and appreciation, the easier it becomes to gain optimism and happiness.
Keeping a daily gratitude journal is a practical technique to overcome negatives and change attitude and mood.
Benefits of keeping a gratitude journal include:
- Focusing on the positive present, your perception will be more objective and optimistic. You get to enjoy and savor the moment, the present;
- Practicing observing and analyzing positive situations throughout the day to develop positive self-awareness;
- Identifying patterns that empower you to take actions to change;
- Programming your thinking to focus on the positive before going to sleep rather than replay the negatives. Your sleep improves;
- Realizing that you have the power to change. You are in control;
- Allowing yourself to take time to think positively and not rush through experiences; and
- Feeling accomplished and valuable. You matter.
Follow these simple steps to maximize the benefits of your gratitude journal:
- Throughout the day, observe at least three pleasant experiences that happened to you. Examples include: Someone was kind to you, you made an accomplishment or a contribution, something went your way, you met a goal, someone made you laugh, an old photo reminded you of happier times, or you noticed the beauty of nature.
- Before going to sleep, record these positive events in your notebook, phone or computer. Entries should be brief; one or two sentences are enough.
- Once a week, read the entries and identify repetitions, patterns or situations that contribute to your happiness. Once you recognize your own unique style, build on your positives and expand on them. If you find certain people’s company or interaction pleasing, try to spend more time with them. On a scale of 0-10, where 0 means sad and 10 means happy, record your overall mood for the week.
- Review the scale every 6 weeks and assess what you can do to improve, and what will be beneficial for you to focus on.
Keep in mind that most often you are in charge of your mood. You have the power to becoming happier and more content.