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How gratitude journaling can change the way you think

Elise Stephens blogs about relationships, life, and inspiration at www.elisestephens.com. She received the Eugene Van Buren Prize for Fiction from the University of Washington in 2007. Her novel Moonlight and Oranges was a quarter-final...

One simple exercise to change your outlook

As silly as it may sound, taking the time to jot down the little (or big) sparkles in your life has an amazing effect on how you see your world. Start small and try seeing how just 10 days of counting your blessings gives you a new set of vision goggles!

simple exercise

If you find yourself under a grumpy storm cloud where every day feels rainy and just headed for worse, it might be time for a perspective recalibration. In most cases, we're able to influence a bad attitude with a few helpful nudges and tools. One useful tool is a gratitude journal.

1

Find your journal

Whether you already keep a journal or shrink away at the thought of writing anything, I promise this is something you can handle. Buy a small notebook, create a file on your computer, or even start a list on your phone (even the simplest phone models should still have this capacity). I recommend handwriting in a real journal, if at all possible, because it's easier to connect with the words and it gives you something tangible.

2

Start small

Make a list of things you like from your day. Don't burden yourself with a long list. Start by listing three to five items each day. This will keep it manageable. No need to be fancy. Just write the items in a list next to the day's date. If you can, try writing these at the same time each day to establish a rhythm.

3

Choose categories

You could do relational lists about your friend who's always there to listen to you or your sister who bakes for you every time she visits. You might make lists of things you noticed on a walk or your lunch break such as a bright-colored flower or an ornate stained glass window. Try a list of things that tickle your senses. More ideas will keep expanding as you make this a habit.

4

Set a test period

I recommend somewhere between 10 days to one month of gratitude journaling before you examine yourself for any dramatic change in your outlook. I will say that I continue to hear cases of lighter, happier spirits, as well as hearts that suddenly overflow with thankfulness from people who've tried this approach. You'll rediscover the things you've been missing once you take the time to write them out and intentionally notice what's around you.

I dare you to try it!

More on gratitude

3 Ways to have an attitude of gratitude
Revive your creativity through journaling

8 Ways to show gratitude


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