One thing I have learned from some incredibly successful, extremely happy people is to start writing a gratitude journal. A gratitude journal is more than your diary. You don’t write everything that happened to you in your journal. You only write the things that you are grateful for in it.
You can be thinking this right now.
“What on earth does a journal have anything to do with my dream?”
“OK, I will give it a try. But if it is just another mean of positive thinking, I don’t have to write it down, I will remember to remind myself and that should be enough.”
I used to have the same thought, and I didn’t take it seriously.
I started writing my journal many times, and yet I quit after couple days. Unsurprisingly it never works.
But it has to be something so good that so many people recommend, right?
I decided to stick with it this time, as an experiment, to find out the reason why it is so important.
After 30 days, I’m a new person and never think of going back where I was ever again. Here’s what a gratitude journal has helped me.
Focus on the positive side
We tend to linger on the negative feeling because it annoys us. But when you only write about things that you enjoy, you will forget about your pain and focus only on the positivity.
I used to get mad, upset or sad about some certain things. Even though when the reasons that caused those bad feelings were gone, I was still in the bad mood. By writing the good things happen in my life, I can let go such negative feeling.
There are things I wrote about on the first day of gratitude journal that I entirely forgot, but just by looking at the things I wrote, the exact happy feeling came back to me. It eased my pain and motivated me.
Regain calm and inner peace
Just by simply writing down what I feel good about, I let go a lot of chaos in my life. If you think about it, your chaos is because of all the wild thoughts and crazy feelings you have in your mind.
When I focus on the positivity in life, I feel calm and peaceful.
And when I feel calm and peaceful, I am very more grateful for life, appreciate it more and end up writing about that in my gratitude journal.
It is the start of the happiness and calmness loop, where you feel good about your life, you write about it and it makes you feel good again.
I become happier. Even though that is something I feel and tell myself every day, people around me feel the same too.
Who do you prefer to be around: someone who is depressed and always complains, or someone who is full of laughter and energy? Such an easy choice.
I become the happiness magnet, people want to be around me, want to get me into their conversation because I spread the joy over them.
You might think confidence has nothing to do with gratitude, but it does. It reduces the urge to compare myself with others, it motivates me to do things that I was once afraid of, because it will be ok.
I hated my body for some layers of fat I have in my stomach. But when I shifted my perspective and appreciate my body for being healthy, being strong and allows me to follow my passion, those layers of fat don’t bother me anymore.
I used to set very high expectation of myself, leading me to work until exhaustion and beating myself up when I failed, which was more than often.
All the self-judging and nagging are not good for my self-esteem. I fell into the loop of setting unrealistic goals, failing, beating myself up even more and trying to make up by setting even higher goals.
All of those stopped ever since I wrote my gratitude journal.
I become more self-aware. I respect my body and myself. I spend time to cherish and take care of myself. I create a positive aura in me and it increases my productivity.
A gratitude journal can change your life
I used to let my negative thoughts control my life. I left my thoughts and my mind go wild without any attempt to control them. Unsurprisingly, I wasn’t a ball of joy.
Now with my gratitude journal in life, I started to see things from different perspectives.
Every day I wake up, and I am grateful for another day that life gives me to live. And I am determined to live to enjoy every single minute of it.
Imagine one day you wake up, before even walking out of your bed, you smile because of all the sweet things happened the day before, and you are grateful for everything in your life. A day starts with a smile can never go wrong.
You decide to have a wonderful day today. Because it is up to you now. And you know it.
Your new life awaits. Start writing.
Mai Pham believes we can create our own happiness. She helps overwhelmed and frustrated people to ditch their stress and enjoy their lives again. Grab her free actionable cheatsheet: 5 Simple Tips to Release Stress and Bring You Calm in Under 5 Minutes and join her free 7 Joyful Days Challenge email course. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.
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