If you’ve ever thought about beginning a gratitude journal, know that there’s no wrong way to do it. Studies suggest writing in a gratitude journal three times per week might have a greater impact on our well-being than journaling every day. The goal of the exercise is to think about a good event, experience, person, or thing in your life and allow yourself to enjoy the good emotions that come with it. Begin small. In your notebook, write three things you feel grateful about. It doesn’t need to be huge things; don’t overthink it. It can be a plant in your room, a meal you recently enjoyed, or a person who makes you laugh.

Here are a few tips or strategies you may find helpful as you get started.

  1. Be specific as that fosters gratitude “I’m grateful for my co-workers as they helped me complete my project yesterday” will be more effective than writing “I’m grateful for my coworkers”
  2. Go for the details. Elaborating about something you’re grateful for carries more benefits than creating a list of things.
  3. Allow yourself to get personal when writing about people to whom you are grateful: focusing on people has more of an impact than focusing on things.
  4. See good things as gifts or blessings. Thinking of the good things in your life in this way helps one guard against taking them for granted.
  5. Appreciate surprises. Write about events that were not expected or caught you by surprise, as these tend to elicit stronger levels of gratitude
  6. Be patient and kind to yourself and the process. If you find yourself writing about the same people and things, no worries, next time focus on a different aspect of the detail.

Try this guided meditation on Springtime fresh starts and renewal.

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
 – Victor Frankl

Post written by Fayetta McMillion-Jones, DBHIDS Health Promotion Program Coordinator