As Law of Attraction practitioners often note, experiencing and focusing on gratitude can help raise your vibration. Gratitude connects you with a vibration of abundance rather than one of lack, getting you into a frame of mind that promotes openness, growth, and positive change. Consequently, you'll often see expert manifesters note that keeping a gratitude journal is a productive daily activity that helps you create the life you want.
But what exactly is a gratitude journal, and how should you approach writing one?
This article on gratitude journaling walks you through the key facts you need to know about this powerful manifestation technique. We'll walk you through the key benefits, how to first get started when you're new to the process, and the best ways to keep your gratitude journal productive in the longer term.
It's fairly obvious that a gratitude journal seems to bring something good into your life, but the benefits go even further than you might expect. Here are five of the most significant.
In a certain sense, you can think of gratitude journaling as journaling for happiness. In other words, working toward greater happiness through writing.
Firstly, note that there is an increasing number of studies demonstrating the connection between gratitude and well-being. There's strong evidence that deliberately leaning into gratitude improves mood and reduces depression.
So, even in the short term, keeping a gratitude journal can lead to noticeable shifts in your levels of joy and satisfaction.
Meanwhile, there are also long-term impacts on your happiness. When you get into the habit of finding things that inspire gratitude, you gradually retrain your brain to focus more on the positive aspects of life.
The power of positive thinking shifts you away from a glass half empty mentality and toward one where the glass is half full. Many of us tend toward negativity when untrained, but gratitude journaling can transform us into positive thinkers who find the best in all of life's situations.
When you keep a gratitude journal, you also commit to a kind of daily mindfulness exercise.
Consider that each time you write in the gratitude journal, you tune in to how you're feeling and what things are like around you.
In so doing, you remove yourself from thinking about the stresses of the past of the anxieties of the future, anchoring yourself in the present moment.
The effects are similar to those of a mindfulness meditation breathing exercise.
As you probably know, any form of mindfulness brings with it a whole host of important benefits.
For example, mindfulness makes us better at regulating our own emotions – accepting and feeling them and then letting them go as needed.
In addition, there's some evidence that mindfulness promotes generally improved mood, as well as greater levels of empathy that can assist in our relationships with others.
In addition to the indirect impact on empathy via mindfulness, writing in a gratitude journal has another, more direct link to prosocial behavior.
Specifically, psychologists have found that people who experience and express more gratitude are more likely to behave in compassionate, empathetic ways.
And this is the case even if the surrounding people are not behaving as kindly.
Crucially, practicing gratitude helps you to deal more effectively with negative feedback, helping you to make good use of it instead of attacking the person who is delivering it.
Related to this link to empathy is gratitude's influence on aggression.
People who write in gratitude journals or do something else to focus on their gratitude are reliably less angry, and more able to process the anger they do feel.
So, if you struggle to keep your temper in check sometimes, a gratitude journal could help you stay on an even keel.
Finally, every day you write in your gratitude journal you to do more to create an invaluable resource for a rainy day.
When you're feeling low or just in need of a reminder that there really is lots of good in the world, you can simply sift through your journal and recall all the things that bring you joy.
This can go a long way toward helping you recalibrate your attitude and expect more from the future. Often, when things go wrong we can feel like everything has turned on us. But your gratitude journal will be there to remind you that there is hope, positivity, and love in the world.
The gratitude journal can also make you feel better any day that you write in it, as it challenges you to draw some good from even the worst moments.
This, again, helps you keep an appropriately balanced outlook on the world.
Now that you understand some of the most compelling reasons why it's worth creating a gratitude journal habit. Let's move on to more details about the process itself.
The first thing to note is that you don't need to write at a particular time of day – you can pick morning, afternoon, or evening.
The only thing you really need to do to properly prepare is to start a habit of noticing the kind of things that inspire gratitude.
Other than that, here are five helpful tips to make sure you get the most out of your gratitude journal.
When we say “dive deep”, what we're getting at is the idea that you should go for quality of experiences rather than quantity.
So, all things equal, it's better to use your daily gratitude journal entry to record all the details of one particular gratitude-inspiring event than it is to try and write superficial accounts of a wide range of good things that happened to you that day.
Focus on the nuances – if you were with a person, how did they look and sound? How did you feel? Who was around you? What was different after the event?
If you're having a difficult time engaging with gratitude some days, try the subtraction method to get started.
This involves thinking about how your life would be without certain good things and using this as a lens through which to view your gratitude for those things.
You might focus on people, on your home, aspects of your career or important experiences from your past.
What would you be sad or lost without?
What makes the biggest contributions to your everyday happiness?
Use the answers to these questions to write an answer in your gratitude journal.
Try to use your gratitude journal to describe and explore the experience that caught you by surprise. What good things did you not expect? What was it like for you when these unexpected events occurred?
Studies show that surprising events and changes tend to inspire greater levels of appreciation than things we expect, so this can be a great way to tune into your strongest feelings of gratitude.
You can also think about surprising positive situations on a broader scale – things that happened in your town, state or country for which you are grateful.
Try to set aside enough time for your gratitude journal that it doesn't feel like a race to finish your entry.
Don't treat the journal as just another thing to tick off on your list of tasks for the day – view it more like meditation, which requires you to fully commit for the time you're doing it.
Take care as you write, really tuning in to all the details (as described above) and sitting with the strong feelings that these details elicit.
If you find you always have to rush, consider rescheduling your gratitude journaling to a different time of day.
It's crucial to remember that the reason you're keeping a gratitude journal is that you want to be happier, and want to engage with feelings of appreciation.
So, think of how you can extend this before the page. How can you demonstrate to the people in your life that you are grateful? From those who are fixtures in your life to people you just meet in passing. Think of ways to share your feelings and appreciation.
Doing so offers many of the same benefits that gratitude journaling offers, and it helps to spread the positivity of the exercise beyond the book itself.
We've given you plenty of ideas to get started with your gratitude journal, but sometimes it's easier said than done. For those days when you're just not sure what to write, here are 29 prompts that can help you connect with your deepest feelings of thankfulness.
While a gratitude journal is a fantastic tool on its own. You stand to get even more out of it if you view it as a manifestation journal. After all, as the Law of Attraction teaches, if we focus on what we have, we get more of it.
In contrast, when we focus on what we don't have, we draw less and less into our lives.
Keeping a gratitude journal is an excellent example of the former. Focusing on the abundance in your life so that you can draw more and more positivity toward you.
Consistently writing in your gratitude journal keeps your vibration high. This helps you manifest the life you desire – no matter what it involves. If you have a particular manifestation goal (like love or money), try to emphasize your gratitude for things related to those goals – this keeps you aligned with your desired end.