However, this negative mindset doesn’t have to last forever. You can achieve a mindset shift with the help of meditation, mindfulness, and perhaps most importantly, a gratitude journal. Making gratitude journaling a daily habit will enable you to change from negative to positive because you will create gratitude throughout the day, every day, for all things, in a pure way, and in a way that will last.
Gratitude Every Day
Gratitude journaling works best when you do it every day. Pick out at least three things that you can honestly say you are grateful for. This could be something as small as the worker at the sub shop giving you a beautiful smile. It doesn’t matter if you lost your job, got dumped, and had your cat run away–even if it was all in one day. Good things still happened to you, and those are what you’re going to write down and reflect back on later. If you fall asleep on the couch before writing in your journal, don’t worry. Writing your gratitude list in the morning is far better than skipping a day.
Gratitude Throughout The Day
When you keep a gratitude journal, you won’t just focus on your blessings when you sit down to write. Within the first few days, you’ll find yourself searching for things to be grateful for throughout the day. Something will happen, and you’ll make a mental note to write it down later. This may happen at the time you wake up and feel well-rested, or when you have a relaxing yoga session just before going to bed. You’ll rewire your brain to search for the positives in everything you do from dawn until dusk.
Gratitude for All Things
Your gratitude journal will help you find beauty in unexpected places. Try not to repeat the same things from day to day. You may be grateful to have a roof over your head and food on your table, but you won’t see a mindset shift if you simply repeat this over and over. Find different ways to express your gratitude. Perhaps today you’re grateful to get into your warm house after a storm, and tomorrow you’ll be grateful for not having to think about whether your card will be declined at the supermarket. Better yet, search for new and unique things to be grateful for. This could be the dewdrops on a blade of grass, or the way your car purrs as you drive. Doing this will enable you to see the world with fresh eyes and appreciate the people, places, and things around you in a whole new way.
Negative people tend to look for the negative even in what should be positive situations. Your boss compliments your work ethic, and you think to yourself, “She’s just saying that so I’ll agree to work overtime.” Or a stranger opens a door for you, and you say, “I’m not special. He would have done that for anyone.” A gratitude journal helps to silence that cynical inner voice. No matter what you may think on that day, you should only write down the positives. Those are what you will keep in your mind throughout the day as you plan what to write down that night. When you look back at your journal later, you won’t even be able to remember the negative thoughts at the back of your mind.
For your gratitude journal to be most effective, you can’t simply write down your thoughts and leave them there. It’s important to flip back through your notes from time to time. You can set a specific schedule for this, or simply do it when the mood takes you. It won’t feel like a chore. In fact, it may be almost as good as experiencing these positive things all over again. You’ll be surprised by how many positives you’ve forgotten–the pleasant interactions with your spouse and children, or the compliment a stranger gave to you. Your gratitude journal is almost like a diary, in that it’s a record of your past, but where a diary is often an outlet for anxiety and rage, this journal only focuses on the nice things. The human memory is built to remember negative events more than positive ones, and your gratitude journal serves to counteract this tendency.
Keeping a gratitude journal is a wonderful complement to meditation and mindfulness for encouraging a mindset shift. If you find yourself being negative, discouraged, or self-critical, a gratitude journal will help you start looking on the bright side. To maximize the effects of your gratitude journal, you need to create gratitude throughout the day, every day, for all things, and in a pure and lasting way.