Life in today's world can be quite stressful. Pressure to meet deadlines at work, bills, and juggling social responsibilities can certainly add to the stress, not to mention traffic and fights with your spouse. There are so many different techniques to reduce stress: from exercise to meditation to self care. I'd like to offer up an additional, simple solution that has worked for me - the gratitude journal.
I started keeping a gratitude journal a few years ago when I first heard about it from a friend. I'd spend a few minutes each morning documenting and reflecting on five things for which I was thankful. These might range from getting to spend some time with a close friend to getting a good parking spot on a busy street.
I soon found that making the time to reflect on what made my previous day happy set me up for a happier day ahead. With my positive mindset intact, I was more calm and confident in tackling any problems that might arise.
Through journaling, I have been able to understand what is important to me and what makes me happy, allowing me to focus on what really matters. Additionally, I find myself throughout the day showing appreciation for things and people that matter to me.
As with any habit, this can be a challenging one to maintain. I'd recommend finding a consistent time of day to write in your gratitude journal. I found that morning was best for me, as the house was quiet and I have time to think and reflect. I even set my alarm clock 5 minutes earlier to allow for this exercise. Before bed is another good time to journal, as it will calm you and prepare you for sleep.
At first, you might set an alarm or calendar reminder to notify you to write your daily entry. I have recently been using an app called 5 Minute Journal. This app creates a structured method to maintain your gratitude journal and can remind you to make your daily entry. You can even attach pictures to each day and review entries from previous days.
So whether you'd like to reduce stress, cultivate a more positive mindset, or gain a deeper understanding of yourself, I challenge you to try keeping a gratitude journal for 30 days. Please share your thoughts: how do you reduce stress? Does keeping a gratitude journal work for you? How do you stick with the habit?