While the hustle and bustle of the holiday season can sometimes be overwhelming, there’s no denying that it’s also the perfect time of year to give thanks for everything we have. Learning to focus on the positive aspects in our life, rather than the negative, re-trains our brain to be happy. The easiest way to be happier is to focus on the things we’re most grateful for.
Practicing daily gratitude offers several surprising benefits—it lowers stress levels, calms the mind, shifts the brain to focus on positive aspects, widens our daily perspective, and promotes greater self-awareness.
The easiest way to practice gratitude—and maintain the daily habit—is to start a gratitude journal. We’ll show you how to get started in three easy steps:
1. Choose A Journal
It’s not necessary to buy a specialty journal, a simple one will do. But if a more focused notebook will help you maintain your practice better, we’ve found that One Line A Day diaries are especially great. Other top picks uniquely designed for a gratitude practice include: Good Days Start With Gratitude, Brenda Nathan’s The One-Minute Gratitude Journal, or this creative guide from The Mindfulness Project.
2. Set A Time Each Day To Write
Consistency is the key when starting any practice. We’ve found that the best time to practice gratitude is in the morning and right before bed. Keep your journal on your bedside table and challenge yourself to write in it when you first wake up and before you check your phone. At night, put your phone down a few minutes early and and write down your thoughts, just before falling asleep.
3. Write About The Positive Things
The purpose of practicing gratitude is to re-train our brain to focus on the positive things we experience, rather than the negative, so that we can, hopefully, achieve a happier outlook on life. Try and jot down at least 3-5 things each day that you were grateful for. Be as specific as possible when writing, in order to get the most out of your practice. It can be as simple as one word or as long as an entire paragraph (or more!). The important thing is to get some words down on paper and to focus on the things that make you happy in your life.