Ever been told you should start a gratitude journal? Rachel here, and I've battled generalized anxiety disorder for the last six years. As I've shared my struggles, multiple people have given me the advice to start a gratitude journal, but I just never knew how to start.
Why a gratitude journal? Well, when your heart is filled with thankfulness, it's hard to simultaneously also feel worried. When you take the time to reflect on the good things in your life, you'll feel much better about everything! Anxiety disorder or not, we're all feeling a bit off these days. Things just aren't normal, and it's easy to watch or read the news and feel discouraged, fearful, and overwhelmed.
Though I'm only a few days in, the process of starting a gratitude journal has already helped bring me more joy, so I have some tips here to share if you'd like to get started too.
Choose a Notebook, Grab a Pen
Literally any notebook will work. For me, I chose a Clairefontaine A5 Wirebound lined notebook. It's my go-to — I love the super smooth paper and the lines are wide enough for my large handwriting with broad nibs. It's also another excuse to use your fountain pens!
Make it a Daily Habit
New habits require discipline until it becomes routine. Try to find the same time each day to write. You may choose to do it first thing in the morning to start off your day with thankfulness, or at the end of the day as you reflect on what happened. It's okay to miss a day or two, just try to keep going even when you don't feel like it. And if it's easier for you instead to jot things down throughout the day as you think of them, do whatever works best for you!
What to Write About?
I don't thrive in white spaces, so for me, I've chosen to pick something to write about each day from these categories: a material object, a person, an experience I had that day, a skill/ability I have, and something about my body that I like. Other ideas might be something in nature, a childhood memory, or a food that you enjoy eating. Literally anything.
How to Write
Whatever format works for you. You can start with a simple bulleted list, but I prefer to write about what and why. A few sentences is just fine. You can use the simple format "I am thankful for ______ because _______." I'm making it my goal to fill one A5 page front and back each day.
Try Not to Repeat Yourself
Every day, pick something different to be thankful for! It might become a harder challenge as time goes on. But you'll eventually start thinking about all kinds of really small things to be thankful for, like access to toothpaste, running water, toilet paper… things we might normally taken for granted.
What if you can't think of anything?
Start really simple…. Being alive. The sunshine. How your body breathes on its own without you thinking about it. The variety of colors in nature. How the sun always rises every morning without fail. Or maybe your fountain pens. ;)