How to Practice Gratitude

“A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.”

~ Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

Consider a Gratitude Journal

What is a Gratitude Journal?

A gratitude journal is anything in which you record stuff you are grateful about. Generally this is a blank notebook of bound pages, possibly with an attractively designed cover. Given the prevalence of electronic recording devices, though, a gratitude journal could be computer based. Even in electronic form, though, a Gratitude Journal is a recorded compilation of things for which you are grateful.

Why Keep a Gratitude Journal?

A Gratitude Journal helps you keep a focus on gratitude.

It is easy to forget things; including things we’ve been grateful for, A Gratitude Journal provides a quick way to refresh our memories; specifically of things we are grateful for.

While recording our gratitude, we can relive the positive feelings that we get from being grateful.

Recording what we are grateful for opens our eyes to ever more things for which we are grateful.

“A grateful mind is a great mind that eventually attracts to it great things”

~ Plato (around 427-347 BC)

How to Write a Gratitude Journal

You can physically write with a pen on paper, glue cutout pictures, save a digital image, type into a database. All of these are ways in which to ‘write’ in a gratitude journal.

Night (or whatever time is your end-of-day) is the preferred time to compose and record gratitude thoughts. This gives you the chance to reflect on your day, with a focus on the positive aspects of that day. This also produces a calming effect, very conducive to a pleasant night’s sleep.

The general rule of thumb is to record at least five things you are grateful for from your day. To make this a bit more challenging, I suggest recording these 5 items from each of the five senses (seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and touching). This means that during your day you really need to be observant for positive things that you should be grateful for. It works best to carry around a small notebook in which you can quickly note positive events/moments throughout the day. Some things do get forgotten by the end of the day, especially when you are experiencing one of those days from hell. It is not easy, and you really have to be aware of your surroundings. “Live in the moment” is probably a phrase you’ve heard. This Five Senses approach to gratitude is challenging, seldom frustrating, always rewarding.

Keep it fun. The positive feelings you get from being grateful for even the smallest sensations in your day will be an exciting and enjoyable process; a self perpetuating process; a self motivating process. Don’t make recording in your Gratitude Journal a chore, just one more thing to cross off today’s to-do list. Enjoy the anticipation of the opportunity to reflect on your day from the perspective of gratitude.

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘Thank you,’ that would suffice.”

~ Meister Eckhart (around 1260-1327)