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Beautiful Gratitude Journal and the benefits of Grateful Journaling

Gratitude Journal
Thanks to Write To Me for providing me with product for this post. All thoughts are my own.

2019 has been, to say the very least, a busy year for me.  I started off the year—literally, the first week—by giving birth to my first son, but that was just the beginning.  In addition to working my own full-time job as a practicing attorney, I have been assisting my husband in transitioning careers to open a restaurant and dealing with a number of health issues within my family.  I have to admit that, as a result, I have let stress get the better of me more than once so far this year.   I knew that I needed to do something for myself but, for the all the above reasons, I don’t have a bunch of time to dedicate to de-stressing, self-care activities.  Eventually, I decided that I could and would set aside just 10 minutes per day—I thought ‘I can do just 10 minutes.’ 

But, what to do with those 10 minutes?  I knew that it had to be something that was at least a little structured otherwise I would likely not keep with it.  After a little bit of research, I found out about Gratitude Journaling.  This concept caught my attention because, while I knew that I was generally grateful—I certainly have a ton of things to be grateful for—but I’d never thought of gratitude in any sort of structured form and I had certainly never heard about the psychological value of being grateful.

I won’t get too deep into the science of it all, there has been a good deal of research into the great benefits of being grateful, but I will briefly mention some of the identified benefits.  Briefly, five specific benefits of gratitude are: (1) releasing toxic emotions, (2) reducing pain, (3) improving sleep quality, (4) aids in stress regulation, and (5) reducing anxiety and depression.  Further, research suggests that actively practicing gratitude changes the neural structures of the brain, which can make you feel happier and more content throughout your day, not just when you’re “actively” being grateful. 

So, after learning about the science of gratitude, I was on board for using my 10 minutes for “gratitude,” but I had no idea how to start.  Eventually, I found this Gratitude Journal from the number that are available, and I was so pleased!  First, I absolutely love how pretty it is: it’s hard bound with a beautiful linen outside and gold lettering; it reminds me of an old hymnal and gives me warm-fuzzies every time I see it sitting on my table.  Second, the design of this journal works well for both personal and family use, which I love because lot of other options are directed at one or the other.  Third, there are 365 pages in this Journal, one for each day of a year, with three questions for you to answer each day; this is opposed to some other journals which dedicate less space per day, some even only give one page for a whole week which didn’t seem like enough to me.  The questions for you to address each day are: today I am grateful for, the people I am thankful for, and the best part of my day was.  Finally, I love the quotes on each page, which I use to help focus myself when I’m faced with “blank-page” writer’s block.
Days 241 and 242

Page 241, with a quote by Sarah Louise Delany
Now that I’ve told you a little about how helpful gratitude journaling can be and shared my favorite journal with you, I want to share a little bit about my journaling process; like I said, I do better with structure.  First, instead of just diving in—I journal once my son goes down for his nap, so I’m a little “up” or excited emotionally—I start with some deep breaths to help center myself.  Next, I read the day’s quote and the questions.  Third, I dive into answering the question; I try to focus specifically on the past 24 hours, rather than more broadly, but ultimately I’m more concerned with the act of journaling than I am with what actually ends up on the page, I think it’s the process that’s important.  Finally, I spend a few minutes on reflecting of what I’ve written, reminding myself about these things and putting them in my heart.  This process takes just a few minutes and I can say that I’ve already noticed an improvement in my stress level and general happiness, so I strongly suggest trying it out and seeing the positive changes that happen in your life!

If you’re interested in trying our this journal, you can get it here!  If you’ve tried out this journal or done gratefulness journaling of your own, please share your experience below in the comments!

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