November is one of my favorite months: not only is it my birthday month and my youngest daughter’s birthday month, it also includes my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving, not for the idea behind the original Thanksgiving, but because, to me, it simply represents family and gratitude: two of my favorite things! (The cooler, crisper weather is nice, too! That means -more- hot tea, scarves and sweaters and boots… cozy!) So it’s no surprise that I love my new gratitude journal (so much so that I’m now an affiliate for it – so this post contains affiliate links. If you’re not sure what that means, you can click here and a new tab will open with a handy explanation).
But before I get to my gratitude journal, let me back up a bit… I know that Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday (for the reasons listed above, but also: pumpkin pie!) But I can’t remember when I first started a gratitude practice. But it’s been a loonnngg time! (Maybe since the mid to late 90’s?) I’m guessing the start of it was Oprah-related. 😂 But I’m not really sure! I know it’s changed over the years…
I’ve journaled about what I’m grateful for. I’ve started and ended each day by listing 3 things I’m grateful for in my head. I’ve done gratitude meditations, and more.
But I will admit, from time to time I’d fall out of the practice. Not because it wasn’t working for me! But I suppose it’s like a lot of things: you just get busy or distracted or out of your daily routine and all of a sudden it’s been a month since you woke up and listed three things you were grateful for before getting out of bed or wrote a single line in your gratitude journal.
But why does gratitude even matter?
Well, for me personally, I notice that when I’m in some sort of gratitude practice, I feel happier and I really believe I attract more good things to me. And I certainly notice ALL the good things in my life. Even on the worst days I can still be grateful to be alive. Or for my children. I know one woman, who on a very bad day was struggling to come up with something she was grateful for and she looked down at her dog and said, “Well, at least I can see in color!” 😎
While we may chuckle at that, there is some proof that expressing our gratitude has multiple benefits. The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Davis launched a multi-year project expanding the science and practice of gratitude. You might be surprised at what they found practicing gratitude can do for you:
- Create higher levels of positive emotion
- Generate more joy, optimism, and happiness
- Fewer feelings of loneliness and isolation
- More acts of generosity and compassion
- Stronger immune systems
- New studies even show it can be good for your heart!
So if all of that (and so much more!) sounds good to you, there are several ways you can create your own gratitude practice. Of course, I love my Five Minute Journal from the people at Intelligent Change. The Five Minute Journal is basically what it says it is: a journal that will take you five minutes (or less!) to complete every day. In it you list 3 things you’re grateful for, 3 things that would make your day great, and an affirmation or two in the morning. Then, at night you reflect on your day and write down 3 amazing things that happened and 3 things that may have made the day even better. (And if your day was wonderful? You can simply add a big smiley face over the last part!)
Here are some of the (many) things I love about The Five Minute Journal:
It’s quick and easy to use.
I love the fact that I can quickly and easily add to my gratitude journal each morning when I get up, and right before I go to bed. I keep it in a drawer next to my bed (with one of my favorite pens right next to it!)
Even though I keep it in a drawer, it really is so pretty, with its linen-esque cover and black ribbon bookmark, it’s something you’ll love to hold in your hands each day.
They teach you how (and why!) to use it.
The folks over at Intelligent Change not only teach you (in the first 45 pages or so) about why having a gratitude practice is so helpful, but also how to maintain it, how to come up with daily affirmations, there are weekly challenges (that are way more parts “fun” than challenging! Things like: “Go to your favorite restaurant and order an item you have not ordered before.” Or, “Today get rid of one item that does not spark joy.“) Plus you can sign up for their free email series that takes that learning even deeper, getting an email a day to help you commit to your new gratitude practice during that first week.
It’s fun to look back through!
I love the fact that each entry have a space at the top to write the day’s date, so I can look back and see a snapshot of what I was feeling, doing, and grateful for that day. I have journals from years ago, and they are so fun to look back on from time to time. The Five Minute Journal is great because each day is just a few lines, but lines of important memories and levels of gratitude.
Even if you hate journals, you’ll love this one.
Because The Five Minute Journal was created for people who don’t write journals! Whether that’s because you simply don’t like journaling, or haven’t been able to commit to a journaling practice, etc. The Five Minute Journal will be an easy and fulfilling way to create your own gratitude journal.