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Gratitude Journal - Focus On Your Blessings

Updated on March 13, 2016

Journals For Different Purposes

As a young girl, I kept a diary, writing religiously about my daily activities. As a teen, I poured out my heart in volume after volume of diaries and journals. Young adulthood found my journaling much more sophisticated, as I developed my writing style and became aware of the power that journaling held for me.

Today, I am an avid journaler, keeping many journals for different purposes. My basic, everyday general journal serves as a dumping ground, sounding board, and stress reliever. A "possibilities" journal records my aspirations, hopes and dreams. My mindmapping journal is where I go to brainstorm my article ideas. My scrapbooks and art journals are my creative outlet, and the one type of journaling I do to share with others.

My Gratitude Journal Helps Me Focus On My Blessings

The journal that has had the most profound effect on me is my Gratitude Journal. This special journal resides on my bedside night stand. Each evening when I go to bed, I write five things for which I am thankful that day. I find that doing this simple task before going to sleep calms me and erases the day's stresses and worries, helping me focus on my blessings.

Some days, my list will be about simple blessings or joys. Other days it has amazing revelations. Some recent entries include, "I paused for a moment on my walk, just as the sun was going down, and was struck by the vivid pink and orange ripples in the sky," and "I listened to my Renee Fleming cd today while I cleaned, and remembered how much I enjoy opera."

Journaling Through The Tough Times

There are days when I am hard-pressed to come up with five things to feel thankful for. You know, those days when you can barely get through the day. On those days, I write the basic things; my family, my health, work, husband, daughter, granddaughter, etc. I just make sure to take the few moments to write something, thereby keeping the journaling habit going. It's during those tough times that I find writing in my gratitude journal really helps me to pull through.

This daily exercise has literally changed my life! Keeping this journal helps me focus on what is right with my life. It helps me see and appreciate my blessings and overcome my difficulties. It has transformed me into a more positive thinker, with a grateful heart and attitude. My life is abundant, indeed, and the pages of my gratitude journal are a tangible reminder of just how blessed, content, and fulfilled I am.

Perhaps Melody Beattie said it best, "Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."

"Gratitude is the heart's memory." old French proverb

When I first saw the striking colors of this clematis blooming in my garden, I wrote in my journal about the joy I felt in knowing I tended and nurtured that little plant, and how I now appreciate it's beauty.
When I first saw the striking colors of this clematis blooming in my garden, I wrote in my journal about the joy I felt in knowing I tended and nurtured that little plant, and how I now appreciate it's beauty.

How To Develop A Grateful Heart

I encourage you to begin today to work on the principle of gratitude in your life by starting your own Gratitude Journal. Make a special trip out to purchase the most inviting blank journal book you can find for your gratitude journal (or make your own custom journal). It is important to take your time with this. Decide if you want pages with lines, or if you would rather have no lines; a spiral bound, hard cover, or loosely bound book; a bright and cheerful cover, or a more subdued floral or pattern; a closure or not. These small details are important. They are what flavors your life. If your journal is attractive to you and comfortable for you to hold and write in, it will entice you to write in it and use it regularly.

Start now. List your blessings each night (or morning if you prefer). I promise that in just a few short weeks you will begin to feel more hopeful and positive. You will be more content with what you have. You will recognize blessings all around you that you once took for granted. Most importantly, you will develop a grateful heart.


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