Start a gratitude page. How many people will think "a gratitude log" or "gratitude journal" what a dream catcher? Or a ''waste of my time''. I think a lot and yet I'm going to dedicate this blog article to it, because it has a positive effect on your life. Years ago, when I studied Foot Reflexology / Chinese Medicine, there were lessons dedicated to 'happiness'. That's so important, because a happy person makes the world a more beautiful place. Yet in the West we don't do much with it. Especially in the Netherlands we are quite sober when it comes to these matters. A part of happiness science is gratitude. No great wonder of the world, but small moments, events, feelings, etc. So start a gratitude log and grow!
What is gratitude?
When you enter 'gratitude' in the Dutch dictionary, it doesn't know the word. It refers to grateful. Gratitude is being grateful, thankful. It's a positive feeling that helps you appreciate what's present. It's something that doesn't want something in return, it's what it is, that's the beauty of it. No catch phrases.
Can you practice gratitude?
Can you practice feelings? No, you can practice behavior / habits that influence feelings. By zooming in for something you are thankful for, you learn to see what is there, instead of what you would like to have. That is already a positive approach. Can you name something you are grateful for? If you cannot, then you think too hard. If you stay in the categories health or family / children then I will give you some examples, because it is not difficult, it does not have to be big. Although I would like to say that health and family / children are of course very important and that I am most grateful for them. But if you only put those things on your list every day, you miss the purpose of a thankfulness page. To become aware of the beauty around you.
Where are you right now?
In a room? In bed? In public transportation? Maybe on the toilet? 😉 Look around you and name something you are grateful for. For example; the nice cup of coffee you just had, the comfortable chair, the cat purring, the warm radiator, the music you hear, the rainbow you see or the soft toilet paper 😉.
Do you see where I am going with this? You can also approach it a bit more intensely, for example the clean air you breathe, the full fridge, your feet taking you everywhere etc.
Especially now that we are in a pandemic, it is important to keep seeing the beautiful things, instead of focusing on the limitations it brings. Does this mean that you have to shine super happy all day, no ... that's not what I mean. An ordinary day that flies by, a relationship that is in trouble, difficult situations, they are all there in daily life. But the beautiful things too, and just thinking about them for a few seconds is good for your health, for your wellbeing.
5 scientifically proven benefits of practicing gratitude
1. You will notice beautiful things more often.
2. It has a positive influence on your energy level.
3. Your sleep quality improves.
4. Stress hormones are decreasing.
5. You are more satisfied with what you have.
How can you practice gratitude?
When you have included a gratitude log in your journal, it's easy to write some things down, but that's also the pitfall. When you're updating your journal and you want to tick off all kinds of trackers, there's a chance you'll end up with 'gratitude' and think 'oh yes, I have to fill that out as well'. 'Let's think about what happened today, what I think is important enough to be thankful for'. Recognizable? Then perhaps you miss the strength of gratitude. It's a task that ticks you off mechanically instead of feeling what you're experiencing.
If we take the nice cup of coffee as an example, then I can quickly write down 'coffee' or draw a coffee cup. But when I think about it and take myself back to that moment when I tasted the coffee, that first sip, maybe even the relaxing moment, that one cup of coffee takes on a different meaning. It makes a lot of difference whether you take time to be aware of the precious things / people / events around you. Focusing on gratitude is more important than being able to tick off a tracker or fill a journal spread on a daily basis.
How to set up a gratitude page?
I'm not talking about which sketches or layout you use, but what do you use it for? In my bullet journal this can be different every month. One month I feel the need to summarize a beautiful moment of that day, the other month I use one word to indicate what makes me happy. You can casually describe subjects that are important to you or you can work with a theme, whether this is a week or a month, that's entirely up to you.
A weekly theme could be to focus on the people you are grateful for. Apart from these being family or friends, this could of course also be someone who held the door open for you when you walked out with a heavy shopping bag. Or you can concentrate on the aspect of health, pets, colors you see. You can also focus on yourself, what you are good at, what you enjoy. You name it, you can completely shape according to your life, that will make you happy.
Gratitude practice is a powerful method to help yourself grow and let you (learn to) enjoy it. This way it contributes to your happiness and should be a necessary course at school -in my opinion-.
Are you new to the planning world? Welcome! I have written a number of articles for you explaining the principles and terms used in the bullet journal community. You will also find several useful (free) downloads there.