Rehn Gonzales Blog

Journals (e.g. gratitude journal) have grown in popularity due to the increased demand for self-care techniques and tools. Our society has become so immersed in stress and anxiety that mental health has taken the spotlight in unprecedented ways.

Though journalling has been more widely known as a productivity tool (e.g. bullet journalling) we must not forget the true value that it offers those who commit to it.

This goes beyond the mechanical act of writing down thoughts in order to clear up space in your mind. Journalling itself can be a meditative, spiritual experience if properly executed.

In this post, I will usher you in the wonderful of a gratitude journal. I have kept journals for more than 5 years now and I can honestly say that dedicating my efforts to a gratitude journal has dramatically improved my overall well-being.

I can’t emphasize enough how essential it is for our mental health.

So if you’re ready to explore this amazing practice, let’s get started.

Benefits of journalling

One of the best known benefits of journalling is it helps reduce anxiety through organizing one’s thoughts and not having to keep them cluttered in the mind.

Oftentimes, people get anxious because of different thoughts that continuously run around in their awareness.

We can only think of one thought at a time. It can be physically and emotionally taxing when a different thought demands our focus and attention every single second. Specially if it’s a negative thought.

Journalling then gives the mind a much-needed pause as it breaks the chain of repetitive negative thoughts. It is similar to talking to a friend or therapist with the added bonus of guaranteed confidentiality.

Journalling gives the writer a sense of control and accountability as one can never hide from his or her own thoughts. The only effective way of dealing with such episodes of anxious thinking is to let it out in order to let it go.

A journal is the best-friend that everyone needs. It’s the most accessible channel for anyone to let go of never-ending negative thoughts.

What is a gratitude journal?

A gratitude journal is a specific iteration of a journal which emphasizes the need to jot down things that one is grateful for. Or simply, the things that made a person feel good that day.

Daily practice of writing in a gratitude journal helps the mind re-focus on the positive things in life. It also gives the added bonus of documenting the good memories which the writer can always look back on.

A gratitude journal becomes a time-capsule of everything positive that occurs in a person’s life. As each day goes by, the writer also exercises his brain to actively and purposefully search for good things to be written in the gratitude journal.

At the minimum, reflecting on things to be grateful for reduces anxiety as it shifts attention from fear-inducing thoughts to thoughts that feel good. Anxiety requires a form of intervention in order to prevent escalation to thinking that is harder to manage.

How to create a gratitude journal?

The most important part of keeping a gratitude journal to help reduce anxiety is to start one.

This doesn’t require a fancy set-up as the most basic writing pad or even notes in your phone will be sufficient to set up your gratitude journal.

As a beginner, you simply answer the question: “What am I grateful for today?”.

Some would actually recommend aiming for certain number of items on the gratitude list (e.g. 3 or 5 things). There is no hard rule on this. The most important thing is you write at least one thing that has made you feel good that day.

Another integral thing to remember in keeping a gratitude journal is to withhold any judgment of the things that you are grateful for. There is no such thing as a big or small blessing, as long as it made you smile at some point, write it down!

A Course in Miracles repeatedly emphasizes there is no scale in miracles. And this very concept should also be applied in your gratitude journal.

No one will assess the quality of your journal entries. Remember, your gratitude journal is your best friend, someone (or something) who’s always there to celebrate the positive things in your life.

Gratitude journal sample entries

Gratitude journal sample entry
Gratitude journal sample entry

Just like everything else in life, it is vital to stay consistent in lodging entries in your gratitude journal. Some days it may feel like a mechanical act that you just want to get over with, much like brushing your teeth.

But once you have built this in your daily routine, you will slowly start to realize that in some days you feel like your heart can actually burst from feeling so much gratitude and joy for the blessings that are readily in your life.

Remember, the most important thing is to get started and to withhold any judgment as you start this journey.

Gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions that we, as humans can feel. It is our direct link to our Creator. It reminds us that every single day, we are always being guided, protected and provided for.

Anxiety will have no hold on our minds if we just take a second to pause, reflect and search for the good things that we are always blessed with.

Now it’s your turn. Are you open to starting your very own gratitude journal?

Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect, neat nor pretty at this time. The essential part is starting to develop the wonderful habit of consciously looking for the good things in your life.

I would love to hear from you! Let me know how you go with your very own gratitude journal.

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