How to Keep Gratitude Journaling from Totally Sucking

Image by Kranich17 from Pixabay

You don’t have to look very far to find the benefits of gratitude journaling — stress reduction, for example. But if you don’t approach it the right way, then keeping this kind of journal can start to feel more like a chore than a tool to relax and appreciate. And if that happens, then the odds of you tossing the habit into the trash are pretty high.

So from my own experience, here’s what I recommend you do to make gratitude journaling way more fun and easy to stick with.

1. Explore variety.
One of the reasons social media is so popular is that it can offer lots of different types of content. You can get links to text-based pieces, short little blurbs, comics, photos, videos, and so on. So don’t limit yourself. If you choose a digital platform to do your journaling on, or even if you just take more of a scrapbook approach, then you can pull all of these things together and create posts that will be more interesting to you in the future. You won’t get stuck in a rut of always doing the same thing with the journal, and making an entry subsequently will feel more novel each time you go to do it.

2. Skip the scheduler.
If you get a kick out of being able to do something for 6 minutes and 3 seconds every Wednesday at exactly 6:00 p.m., that’s fine. Some people do really well with this type of structure. But I personally find that an anytime, anywhere approach works better specifically for gratitude journaling, given the intent. It lets you create an entry right when your ideas and feelings are fresh and more genuine, and the flexibility can help the journaling process feel more spontaneous and natural.

3. Share your entries.
You don’t have to share everything, and you can set the limit on how personal you go. But when you share your gratitude journal in person or online, it creates the potential for it to become interactive. People can leave feedback on what you experienced or thought, and you can have amazingly deep discussions that help you strengthen your sense of who you are. You might even inspire someone or get them through something.

4. Incorporate “you”.
Me? I like unicorns and Yoda. (OK, I’m borderline obsessed.) I also like felt-tip and liquid ink pens, Chipotle chicken bowls, and Stephen Colbert monologues. Find ways to bring everything that screams “you” into your journaling process. (Hint: These things are usually things you’re grateful for!) Maybe pick…

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