Life Area: Personal
Perhaps you’re on a roll with your mindfulness practice by incorporating my FREE 7-Day Guided Mindfulness Meditation Audio Series into your week. If not, give it a try [here] or at www.SuccessSeriesLLC.com/wordpress/meditation. If so, fantastic!! Keep it up! Maybe it’s time to integrate a Gratitude Journal into your mindfulness practice.
A Simple Mindfulness Practice – Keep a Gratitude Journal
Studies suggest that writing in a gratitude journal three or four times a week might actually have a greater impact on our happiness than journaling every day. So just take 10 minutes every other day and note three things you are grateful for.
The overall benefit you want to achieve is to actually FEEL the joy…the good emotions…that come with your recollection of a good event, experience, person, or thing in your life.
Write down up to five things for which you feel grateful. Physically writing it is important—don’t just do this exercise in your head — and yes, you can do it on your computer, or with an app, and not lose out on anything. The things you list can be relatively small in importance like “my tasty lunch today” or significant, such as “my game changing new job.”
How to do it
There’s no wrong way to keep a gratitude journal, but here are nine guidelines to get you started:
- Be as specific as possible—specificity is key to fostering gratitude. “I’m grateful that my co-workers brought me soup when I was sick on Tuesday” will be more effective than “I’m grateful for my co-workers.”
- Go for depth over breadth. Elaborating in detail about a particular person or thing for which you’re grateful carries more benefits than a superficial list of many things.
- Get personal. Focusing on people to whom you are grateful has more of an impact than focusing on things for which you are grateful.
- Try subtraction, not just addition. Consider what your life would be like without certain people or things, rather than just tallying up all the good stuff. Be grateful for the negative outcomes you avoided, escaped, prevented, or turned into something positive—try not to take that good fortune for granted.
- See good things as “gifts.” Thinking of the good things in your life as gifts, guards against taking them for granted. Try to relish and savor the gifts you’ve received.
- Savor surprises. Try to record events that were unexpected or surprising, as these tend to elicit stronger levels of gratitude.
- Revise if you repeat. Writing about some of the same people and things is OK, but zero in on a different aspect in detail.
- Write regularly. Whether you write every other day or once a week, commit to a regular time to journal, then honor that commitment. And…
- Don’t overdo it. Evidence suggests writing occasionally (1-3 times per week) is more beneficial than daily journaling. That might be because we adapt to positive events and can soon become numb to them—that’s why it helps to savor surprises.
Your Action Step
No surprise here…your Action Step is to give it a try. I promise you, once you start your Gratitude Journal, you’ll keep coming back for more. It’s that rewarding.
And, check out my FREE 7-Day Guided Mindfulness Meditation Audio Series. When you visit SuccessSeriesLLC.com/wordpress/meditation, you will gain access to seven 10-minute meditation sessions of a simple to learn and easy to follow format of mindfulness meditation personally guided by me. You can access them anytime, from anywhere, from any device, right from that page OR you may download them and listen to each of the seven sessions any time you want.
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