The real gift of gratitude is that the more grateful you are, the more present you become —Robert Holden
At the onset of this year, I purchased a Five Minute Journal hoping for the best that I’d be able to commit to using it through the year to practice more mindfulness and gratitude. And I have to say, it has had such a positive impact on my life.
To back up a bit, I used to love journaling throughout middle school and high school. I even did it all through my study abroad experience in Paris. It was so therapeutic. But I stopped somewhere along graduating college, starting a career and general life happening.
What’s unique about The Five Minute Journal is that it is thoughtfully designed for you to really get in the habit of journaling. I find the way it is set up makes it an easy habit to adapt because – yep – it takes less than five minutes a day. Each page is broken up into two sections: a morning routine section and a night routine section. In the morning you fill out what you are grateful for, what would make that day great and a daily affirmation. In the evening you’ll acknowledge what made the day great and what could have made the day better.
The gratitude aspect of the journal is what I have really come to appreciate and from which I get the most satisfaction. Studies show that people who practice gratitude regularly are happier, more fulfilled, more mindful and have higher levels of overall joy, optimism and drive. Amazing, right?
Harvard notes “The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.”
On bad days or tough times, I have loved the routine of needing to acknowledge what is going right and what’s bringing me fulfillment. It can be the smallest of things (someone held a door open for me! The train came right as I was getting on the platform! I made someone smile) or larger things (I have an able body! I scored a new collaboration! I booked a trip!) The very act of writing down three things I am grateful for every morning and acknowledging three things that made my day a good one in the evening has totally helped my daily mindset in that I am more cognizant of the things happening in my life – big and small. The more I recognize and express my gratitude, the more I feel the universe is working in good ways for me.
The daily affirmation I have surprisingly struggled with. Sometime it is hard to write out – and believe it – when you say “I am good at my job” or “I am worthy of success” or similar things. But the daily challenge of determining my affirmation – and physically writing it down – has been monumental in ensuring I approach each day with a more positive, determined mindset.
The Five Minute Journal really has made practicing gratitude so easy and I now look forward to my morning and evening entries. It is a way for me to be acknowledging the good in my life on a regular basis and overall has made me feel more proud of and fulfilled by the life I lead day to day. It helps me to celebrate the tiny wins more often and allows me to be more self-aware as I progress through each day. I also enjoy the thought-provoking quotes at the top of every page like the one I included at the onset of this post.
I don’t use the journal on the weekends at all times and I don’t travel with it, but in general it has become part of my morning and evening routines. One handy trick I learned? Once you fill out your morning section, pop the journal onto your bed to ensure you remember to do the evening section!
Do any of you practice gratitude in the same or a similar way? I’d love to hear about it.