**THIS IS A GUEST POST. The opinions expressed are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect my own.
“Gratitude makes sense of your past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~ Melody Beattie
We all want to live happy lives. That doesn’t mean that we are happy all the time, that would be impossible since we fluctuate with having many different emotions throughout our days and lives. Happiness in some ways happens when we are able to find something to be grateful for even during the tough times in our lives. Happiness can include our hope, positivity, and optimism. It can fuel our mental health and resilience and it feels good.
Keeping a gratitude journal is a popular practice used by those seeking to improve and grow themselves. I think Oprah revolutionized the idea of gratitude journaling as she often mentions it as something valuable she does on a regular basis.
In this article, I will share three ways you can get the most out of your gratitude journaling.
- Use Journal Prompts that Cultivate Gratitude
I love using prompts to point my journaling in certain directions, including towards what I am grateful for. Here are some gratitude journaling prompts you might want to try:
- What was the best thing that happened in your life/work in the last week?
- What milestones have you reached that make you proud and grateful?
- What would you like to be thanked or appreciated for?
- In this moment, close your eyes, take a breath, and bring to mind and heart what or who are you grateful for right now. Write your gratitude down.
- Embody Gratitude
Gratitude is something that we can notice, express, write, speak and embody. Think of something you are grateful for and then notice where you feel gratitude in your body. Simply close your eyes, tune into your inner world and notice where you can feel gratitude within. Does gratitude have a color, a shape, a sensation? If this feeling of gratitude in their body could speak, what would it say? Take a moment to write this down.
- Visual Gratitude Journaling
You can also do a visual journaling activity. For example, try this, visualize what you feel mentally, physically and emotionally when you are connected to the energy of gratitude. Write down how it feels in detail and then you can also draw this and do a visual or art journaling exercise with this prompt.
Gratitude is like a doorway to happiness. The more we can express and tap into our feelings of genuine gratitude, I believe, the happier we can be. Even on our off days, even when experiencing stress, or sadness, or lots of other emotions, gratitude can lift us up. It can help us feel stronger and more present in the moment. Gratitude journaling isn’t magical, but it can be transformational. Try it for yourself and tap into the healing power of gratitude journaling.
About the Author;
Lynda Monk, MSW, RSW, CPCC is the Director of the International Association for Journal Writing. Lynda regularly writes, speaks, and teaches about the transformational and healing power of writing. She is the co-author of Writing Alone Together: Journaling in a Circle of Women for Creativity, Compassion and Connection (2014), and co-editor of Transformational Journaling for Coaches, Therapists, and Clients: A Complete Guide to the Benefits of Personal Writing (2021).