There is a journal for just about everything. Travel, finances, jokes, dreams, feelings, relationships, to-dos, daily events, book reviews, prayers, gratitude – you name it, there's a journal for it. I want to focus on gratitude. A gratitude journal is a diary used to highlight moments of gratefulness. The journal can be as creative or as simple as you’d like with one short passage for each moment. Oprah uses a gratitude journal to highlight her daily top five grateful moments. She keeps it short and to the point. In an article she wrote about her journaling, Oprah shared what she was grateful for on October 12, 1996:
1. A run around Florida's Fisher Island with a slight breeze that kept me cool.
2. Eating cold melon on a bench in the sun.
3. A long and hilarious chat with Gayle about her blind date with Mr. Potato Head.
4. Sorbet in a cone, so sweet that I literally licked my finger.
5. Maya Angelou calling to read me a new poem.
That's quite a day! She may have dealt with some rough moments in that day, but when she goes through her journal and reviews these positive moments, she can see what made her day great. She goes on to talk about how she had stopped journaling because she was swamped (as only Oprah could be) but was excited to start again because of the joy she felt from it. We may not have the illustrious Maya Angelou calling us with her next best seller (rest in peace, you beautiful soul), but the rest of the list is simple. It goes to show that even a powerhouse like Oprah can be grateful for something as small as eating sorbet.
What are the benefits of journaling?
Expressing gratitude has both physical and mental benefits. Gratitude journaling is one way to express positive emotions and put positive energy into the universe, drawing more positivity to you (also known as the law of attraction). When you journal, you can:
- Reduce anxiety
- Clear your mind
- Organize your thoughts
- Process your emotions
- Experience gratitude on a deeper level
- Find true joy in all aspects of life
- Draw more positivity into your life
Gratitude journaling has been a positive experience for me. Proverbs 12:25 says, "Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up." Since I'm no longer taking medication for anxiety, writing small joys changes my mindset on challenging situations that used to "ruin my day" and trap me in panic mode. Being able to go back and reminisce on good times helps me get through the bad a little better. It's like a reminder that the good does out way the bad, and God will get me through it like He has so many times before.
Why should you have a gratitude journal?
Because Oprah has one, duh. I'm just kidding…kind of. Your day is full of awesomeness that is often overlooked. When you pay attention to it, you realize how amazing life can be and start seeing more of that awesomeness in each day.
Here are some prompts to use in your gratitude journal:
- What positive events happened today?
- Who was a positive influence in your day?
- What technology helped you through the day?
- What did your children do that was positive today?
- Which of your favorite skills did you use today?
- How were your talents used today?
- What were you able to help your family with today?
- What book has influenced your life?
- What is your favorite memory?
- What do you like about the weather outside?
- Did you see any animals today?
- What food did you turn down today (focusing on health)?
- What challenges did you overcome today?
- What have you done to work toward a goal?
- What quote inspired your day?
What are you grateful for so far today? Starting this week, get a journal or a notebook and write down at least five things you're grateful for using the prompts.