A Gratitude Diary Makes Us Happy and Helps Us See The Positive
You don’t have to be a writer to write a diary
Diary writing is not for you? Nonsense! Journaling is good for the soul and is trendy. It’s a great tool for more self-love and appreciation for ourselves, a little time with ourselves. A gratitude diary is the easiest way to start journaling. It doesn’t take long and it’s fun – we promise!
“Dear Diary” – no, it doesn’t have to look like that today
It is perfectly understandable that many people think that journaling is not their thing. The fear of talking about your own feelings, fear of writer’s block, or the firm belief that you are generally not the type to write can be reasons for this assumption. But there are also other ways to keep a diary than the classic notebook with white pages on which I write down my thoughts and experiences with a fictional counterpart every day: a travel diary, for example, in which you stick photos, tickets, and finds, or a pregnancy diary as a reminder of nine great months. Or a gratitude diary, in which you write down every day what you liked that day.
What do you write in such a gratitude diary?
Did you have to think of the church classic “Thank you for this good morning”? Sure, the song also celebrates the fact that we are grateful for the beauty in everyday things – “Thanks for my job”…. Even if you are not religious, you can enjoy these moments more consciously. Be happy that you have nice colleagues or a secure job. But you can also be happy that a friend was nice to us or thought of us. Or just marvel at the great sunset and be moved by nature.
Those who record these little moments of happiness in writing, even if only in bullet points, are already in the middle of writing their diary. Incidentally, the word “gratitude” doesn’t even have to appear. You can also write what made the day beautiful for you, what you did good for someone, what good things you experienced or what you are looking forward to the next day.
Why the gratitude diary is so good for us
The great thing about the gratitude diary: We let ourselves go through the things that did us good that day instead of re-warming negative feelings or embarrassing experiences. And that is a good thing because a team of researchers from the University of Glasgow compared the health values of 91 diary writers with those of 41 writers and came to the conclusion: The written processing of traumatic events does not help, but can even lead to headaches, sleep disorders and others cause psychosomatic illnesses.
But if you concentrate on the positive, you do not even begin to write yourself into negative spirals of thought. Other studies came to the conclusion: If the diary is not purely negative, it strengthens the immune system and makes you feel happy. The subjects in the studies who kept a gratitude diary were happier, more optimistic, and slept better. Sure, because if you look back on the beautiful, you experience it a second time in your mind. At the end of the day, you get the feeling that the positive moments outweigh the other. And later you have an album with lots of good memories.
Design your own gratitude diary or buy it ready-made?
Anyone who has a high inhibition threshold when writing or talking about themselves is better off with a purchased booklet with pre-formulated questions than with staring at a blank page first. A ready-made journal is also ideal for those who are new to diaries.
Perhaps later you can swim free and buy a blank booklet. But you can also look up the ideas for questions or aspects from ready-made gratitude diaries on the Internet that suit you best and create a very personal day questionnaire – with the computer or with brush lettering in a pretty notebook. Your imagination is the limit. And if you can’t do anything with pen and paper, you can create a file or use an app.
This is how even beginners can write a diary: a few tips to finish off
Don’t put yourself under pressure. Even if you can only think of one positive thing, it’s better than none. Generally, three is enough. Of course, more is always possible.
Find out when is a good time to pause in your daily routine. Some like to do it before going to bed, others prefer to start the day in a positive mood with memories of the beautiful moments of the day before. It is important that you have the time and inclination.
Try to make a routine out of journaling. But if you don’t have time or leisure, don’t force anything. You can also take a break or summarize for two days.
Use guiding questions to help organize your thoughts if you are having trouble writing freely.
The more specific, the better. Share what a person’s action pleased you, what was different or better than usual, what sticks out in your memory.
Change or vary the questions over time so that there is no wear and tear.
Find a place where your diary is protected from unauthorized eyes – lock it away or secure the file with a password.
And if you feel bad, turn the page back and read what has made you happy in the past few weeks. Because such a gratitude diary is a balm for the soul, the purest self-therapy. And then you say: “Thank you for this diary”!