Other tips for keeping a gratitude journal
- Go for depth of entries versus quantity. It’s generally better to go into as much detail as possible about why you are grateful for something than generating a long, less detailed list.
- Try to not simply go through the motions. Keeping a gratitude journal is more effective if you first commit, and stay committed to, being more grateful, happy, or optimistic. A gratitude journal entry should not be viewed as a to-do list or something you have to do against your will.
- Don’t try to make any entry if you really aren’t ready or in a good space. Pushing yourself to simply make entries can actually make you feel worse or overwhelmed and may lead to entries that are negative or shaming.
- Don’t overdo it. Many people think you have to write in a gratitude journal every day to see positive effects. But writing once or twice per week long-term may be more beneficial than daily journaling.
- Think about subtractions, not only additions. One way to stimulate feelings of gratitude is to think about how your life would be affected without certain things, such as modern comforts, friends and family, meaningful work, etc. This approach can be especially effective if someone is having a hard time coming up with something they’re grateful for.
- Savour surprises. Events that are surprising or unexpected often stimulate stronger feelings of gratitude.
- Get personal with your entries. Recording or thinking about people you are grateful for often is more impactful than thinking about things you’re grateful for.
- Think of things you’re grateful for as gifts. Thinking of things we are grateful for as gifts helps prevent many people from overlooking them or taking them for granted.
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