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Gratitude Journals: A Review

It was suggested to me to start a gratitude journal to help with my mental health quite a while ago. I had shrugged it off, not honestly thinking about doing much journaling as it had been a negative experience for me in the past.


But as time went on, the more I wanted to try.


I was in a place where I was willing to try anything just to feel better. I was feeling so alone and isolated, and I was often having negative thoughts over anything else. It was a terrible feeling, and full of lots of crying and laying in bed struggling to get up.


However, writing down what I was grateful for each day seemed like an impossible task, even when I was willing to try just about anything to feel a little better.


So I looked for something that was more accessible to help me get into the habit.


I found the journal Finding Gratitude at Barnes and Noble, and thumbing through the pages, I thought I could do it. It wasn't overtly religious in its tone, and the prompts didn't come across as BE GRATEFUL OR ELSE like other journals had. So I picked it up and started using it.


Every morning, while I was sorting out my daily goals and tasks, I put down writing in the journal as a task to complete. Then I would find a page with a prompt that I felt I could answer with honesty. It was a double brain-pleaser: tick of a task and write about something I was grateful for.


Eventually, I finished the whole journal, and felt ready to move onto my own journaling journey. I picked up a bullet journal from Half Price books, and started doing daily affirmations and grateful entries. Once I got into the habit more and more, I started buying washi tape, stickers, and more colorful pens, making it an art task I did every day.


I bought myself nice bullet journals from Notebook Therapy, and have kept more or less writing down once a day something I am grateful for since.


Recently, I fell out of the habit, and so I picked up another prompt gratitude journal to help me get back on track. I have enjoyed it so far; it's The Resilience Journal.


I have the gratitude journals where you are supposed to fill it out twice a day, but I haven't found those as helpful, as I don't do nighttime journaling very well. I think maybe I'm just a brain that gets going and when it's time to wind down, I just don't want to write. But maybe one day, those will also be ones I reach for. We'll just have to see where life takes me.


Journaling what I was grateful for has greatly helped my mental health. I know that the habit helps regulate me, and helps me feel more connected to the positive in my life.


One thing I learned is that I don't have to be grateful for a big and/or complex thing. I can be grateful for a can of beans that lets me make a batch of chili that makes me feel better, or for the blossoms on the tree for being pretty and nice to look at for a moment. It doesn't have to be a huge part of my day or life, and it doesn't have to have a grander purpose in my life.


If you've been thinking about getting into gratitude journaling, I recommend it. It did wonders for me, and helped bounce me into journaling goals for my future. It has built a habit and overall skill that I have found supports my well-being in all aspects.


It led me to feeling comfortable with writing down pros and cons, as well as reframing exercises when things get to be a lot to handle, or seem daunting.


Do you journal, or are you interested? Do you have any journal recommendations?


Love Always, Laura Ann


NO COMMISSION IS MADE FROM LINKS. THEY ARE THERE AS A RESOURCE FOR THE READER




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