You are not probably going to believe this, but I am not much of a talker. In fact, over the years, I have become a super introvert! I think that is why the lockdown didn’t affect me the way it did so many. In being alone more, I have learned so much about myself. I can actually see and appreciate the growth. I have come so far in getting to know me and fall in love with who I am today. That is why I keep a gratitude journal, to remind me of me!
I have always been pretty quiet, especially as an adult. One way that I am able to get things out of my head, at least before I started blogging, was journaling. Journaling has been such a huge help in me releasing feelings and preventing unnecessary drama with others. They can offer better insight into your world.
Why I Journal
When I began journaling, it was really me writing about the events of my day and how I felt about them. Everything all in one place. Now, I do have a separate journal, a gratitude journal. Things happen in our lives and they may seem small to others but they can be the very thing that gets us through the day. I write about anything from family, friends, work, hot tea and even the sound of the birds outside. All things great and small can be something you are grateful for. We have so much to be thankful for and we do need to be reminded some days.
Why sit down and write what you are thankful for? We go throughout our daily lives and we take for granted things that are always there. Things that happen just the same way all of the time. When things get out of sorts, we get flustered and just want things to be back the way they were so that we can be comfortable. Comfort. That’s for another blog post though.
Our health, relationships, finances…life for that matter, will not always be just how we desire them to be. Our lifestyles influence the quality and length of our lives. We have fears in five major areas that I like to make sure that I write down in my journal. I like to thank and acknowledge that even when I have a bad day, there are always things to be thankful for.
My Spiritual life
When things happen the way we want them to, we feel invincible. Nothing can stop us! It is really easy to be happy and in a good mood. We are grateful for everything…life is good. There are going to be times when things go wrong. What happens with our emotions then? Feelings can be fleeting and we may begin to feel despair, sadness, fear, or failure.
Having a journal to sort and write down events and feelings can be very helpful. It can light up your spirit, help you examine what you are feeling and where those feelings may be coming from. Are they necessary? Kind? Are the things you are telling yourself even true? No matter how small, good things are present.
Count your Blessings. Speak to yourself with empathy and kindness. Pray and know that God and the world are not against you. Why not do more than exist and think that things are happening “to” you? What if we look for the things that make us really realize that life is happening “for” us.
Be Thankful for Who You Are
We are not always going to feel like we are at the top of our game. Some may have low self-esteem and fear stepping out and trying something new. Instead of putting so much focus on what we cannot do, we can remind ourselves in that journal that there is so much that we can do. Remember that whatever we feed, grows so feed the thoughts that are going in the direction that you want things to go.
Maybe you can act, paint, sing, or play the piano. You may be a wonderful cook, communicator, or good with finances. We should be thankful for those gifts, whatever they are. Gratitude can boost our self-esteem. It builds our confidence and causes us to want to build on our abilities and be bold enough to try something new.
Thankful For Relationships
If we expect our relationships to grow, we have to be sure that we are showing appreciation to those we choose to be in relationship with, personal or professional. I do not like to be taken for granted so hearing that someone appreciates having me in their life can increase our connection and motivate me to continue to do what I am doing to have the relationship be successful.
We may take for granted that our mate, friends, coworkers and family will always be around. In these times of COVID, war, and mental health crisis, and all, we have to give more time and care to the ones we love. It doesn’t take more than a couple of seconds to sincerely thank someone for being who they are to you or just saying how much you appreciate them. We get too comfortable and forget to tell each other how we feel about them. We need to get better with that. Telling someone thank you can be magical! It motivates many of us to continue to do for someone who sees our value and is grateful for it.
Your Sleep Habits
We are all busy right? Everyone is running around trying to race against time to get everything on their list done. You may not be eating right, getting the exercise you need. What about sleep? Our entire well-being depends on getting good sleep. When we are sleep deprived, it negatively affects many aspects of our lives.
We have to improve our sleep habits. Our poor sleeping habits can come from worry. We try to worry ourselves to sleep but we know that anxiety is not going to let us sleep. Getting our thought lives together can help us while dealing with poor sleeping habits. We spend a lot of time thinking about shoulda, woulda, couldas and that can lead to depression. The deeper the depression, the less satisfied we are with life and sleeping can become impossible.
We can use a gratitude journal to help us deal with some of our thoughts and feelings. We can make it a habit to do a “thought dump” before we go to bed. That has been something that has helped me. You can also do that “thought dump” on a piece of paper and put it in the trash when you are done.
These bodies are not going to last forever. How we care for them is going to influence how we live out our days and how many days we have for the most part. Part of having optimal physical health is having a balanced diet and getting some exercise. Being thankful can also have physical benefits for your body. When we express gratitude, we are offering peace and calmness to our bodies. Pay attention to how feelings affect your body. Panic and chronic stress can keep you in survival mode. Dis-ease can cause disease. Focus on what you appreciate about your body and do what you can to bring your stress level down.
Being grateful can lower your pressure and your sugar levels. When you have an optimistic view of your health, improve your eating habit and do what you can to avoid a sedentary lifestyle, you may complain less about your feelings and be more grateful for your life.
Where to Begin
There are no rules to journaling. You can have whatever writing tool and journal you choose. Plain notebook or fancy printed, pencil, fancy pen ,or crayon….it won’t matter. You can even choose to journal on your laptop or even use an online blog platform. Decorate it or not. Put some artwork in it or don’t.. Write down why you are thankful. Everyday, a sentence, list, paragraph, or page. What made you smile, made your day brighter? Are you proud of yourself for accomplishing something? Just take 15-20 minutes and you will see the benefits of journaling. Journals help you put words to your emotions and experiences. May even offer the wisdom of hindsight.
We can better see where we are going when we know where we have been.