A couple of weeks ago it was my birthday so I decided to give myself a challenge for this next year — a Gratitude Journal! If you know me you would know that I love to make challenges and set goals, big or small. I like to mix them up a bit throughout the year this way I feel constantly challenged and accomplished. Remember no challenge is too small!
What is a Gratitude Journal?
A gratitude journal is a little book where you write down 3-10 things you’re thankful for each day. You can write them down first thing in the morning or right before bed. I like writing it down before bed as it puts me to bed feeling happy. There are plenty of templates ready for download, or you can find them already printed in certain book stores. Alternatively you can choose to take the time to do a little DIY, making your own from scratch. This can be a fun project and may help you get into the whole thing a bit more as you choose your paper, cover and all. I recycled an old pocket-sized diary as the cover was just too cute to throw away! I took out the inside paper and replaced it with new paper stock. I like to write a quote down each week that stood out to me, I usually just do a google search for “gratitude quotes” or “motivational quotes” and click on images. Simple! If you’re very creative you could also glue pressed flowers or leaves you may have picked up on a walk, or anything crafty just to keep it fun and interesting.
Gratitude and Success
Research has shown that people who practice gratitude on a daily basis lead happier, healthier and eventually more successful lives. I believe success comes in many different forms – quality of life being one of them. It’s each to their own on what success means to them. Studies have shown that those practicing gratitude are less depressed, stressed, kinder to others, exercised more and had greater progress with personal goals. This is my kind of success! It makes all the tiny things in life you thought were so important a thing of the past, opening your eyes to the bigger picture helping you reach your full potential and therefore achieving greater success!
Teaching Children about Gratitude
Teaching children real life values leaves a longer lasting impact on their lives than any toy, extracurricular class, or treat we could ever give them. Of course those are good too and have their time and place, but as parents in this modern-day it seems easier to get caught up with all the daily drama, latest gadgets and activities, instead of teaching them what is really important in life. Why are we made to feel like we’re a lesser parent if we choose to not give them the latest gadgets or engage them in the latest activities? Shouldn’t the focus be instead on good morals and value’s?
Teaching them gratitude help’s them to also see the bigger picture in life, the good things they experience everyday big or small, it could be a playdate with a special friend, their favorite meal for dinner, or a beautiful rainbow. If we teach them to step aside and see what they experienced in their day it could result in them feeling more satisfied, like they have all that they need.
I thought to take my eldest daughter on this journey with me of holding a gratitude journal…yes I believe my husband will be catching on with it too in his own time! Hint, hint!! (I know you’re reading this xxx) She was so keen to begin that we started on a Journal DIY project. She decided that each week she would do a theme, for example the first week she drew 7 different pieces of fruit, each of those fruits represent a day where she’s written the things she’s grateful for inside that piece of fruit. It’s something she can get into as she draws away, she may even collect things to glue into it like a scrapbook.
Keep it Fun
The main point in writing down the things you’re grateful for is to serve as a reminder of how good life is to you, the good times through the bad times, the exciting bits through the boring daily chores. I’m looking forward to looking back at my year and read about all the treats life brought my way. Either way it should be something fun to do, something for personal growth and greater satisfaction!
You’ve got to look for the good in the bad, the happy in your sad, the gain in your pain, and what makes you grateful not hateful. – Karen Salmansohn