The past few months have been surreal due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like most people, I’ve been confined to my house. Initially, it was due to necessity, but lately, it has been due to fear. The fear of contracting the disease, the anxiety caused by staying at home, not being able to see my friends and just being alone with my thoughts turned me into a ball of stress. This stress started affecting my work and personal life a lot, and I needed to get rid of it.
Like most people, I got professional help…from Google. I searched for ways to deal with lockdown stress and stumbled upon gratitude journals.
What Is Gratitude Journaling?
Gratitude journaling is basically writing and reflecting on three things that you are grateful for on a regular basis. It can be something as simple as being grateful for a loving family or even having a working air conditioner (which in this heat is a true blessing). By doing this, you are rewiring your brain to focus more on the positive aspects of your life and becoming braver in facing the negative ones.
Writing down three things I was grateful for every night seemed easy, was definitely cheaper than therapy and I was ready to give it a try.
The First Week Of Journaling
I started off by writing three things I was grateful for every day after dinner. I wrote about being thankful for the food I ate, my parents, my great job, my friends and more. A few days in, I didn’t really feel a difference in my stress levels. I felt the things I was thankful for seemed superficial and I was writing them down for the heck of it. But I didn’t stop. Journaling is like working out. You can’t expect six-pack abs after doing crunches once. You have to keep at it, and that is what I did. And I was so glad I did!
After the first seven days itself, I found my groove and noticed a slight change in my thinking. I realised that by being thankful for specific things, people and moments, I was becoming more positive. And I was eager to see how it would play out in the long run.
A Month Of Journaling
One month in, has maintaining a gratitude journal made a difference? YES. Thousand times yes! I am not only more aware of all I have to be thankful for, but I have become happier. When I started accounting for the good things that happened to me in the day, I felt better. While writing, I was forced to think of the things I was grateful for, and it made me realise how many blessings I take for granted and actually ignore. For instance, take the plants outside my window. I never noticed that they were the first thing I saw when I woke up and were so pleasing to my eye! They provided me with a moment of peace, and I never really gave it any importance.
How Journaling Benefited Me
- I became less stressed and anxious.
- I became more positive and more aware of everything good in my day-to-day life.
- I started to notice the little things that made me happy, like the smell of hot chocolate and the cool feeling of applying a face-mask after a long day.
- I slept better and more deeply.
- I became more productive at home and at work.
After a month of journaling, I could see these differences in myself and it blew my mind how writing three sentences a day could help me so much.
My Tips On Writing A Gratitude Journal
- Be Regular. You can write every day, every alternate day or even once a week, but write consistently.
- Have a fixed time. Preferably after a meal, because you cannot be thankful when you are hangry.
- Write about anything and everything that made your day better! Last Monday, I put down the movie Jab We Met because it made me laugh till my stomach hurt.
- Keep one dedicated notebook for it. It doesn’t have to be a fancy diary, just one simple notebook.
- Don’t type it on your phone or laptop. Write it. The physical act of putting pen to paper feels so much better, plus it may just improve your handwriting.
- Practice it for at least a month. Don’t give up in a few days.
A gratitude journal may do absolutely nothing for you, or it may just change your life. The only way to know is to try it!
Do you journal too? How has your experience been? Please share it with us in the comments below!
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