practising gratitude

Monthly review – practising gratitude

To help me achieve my goal for 2015, I listed the following as a strategy:

Practice gratitude daily  – I want to work on improving my overall attitude as this affects how I interact with the kids. I have much to be grateful for and need to remind myself of this.

At the time I set this strategy, I had no idea how I was going to achieve it. The whole concept of practicing gratitude sounded great, but how would I go about doing this every day and would it really make a difference?

I have deliberately waited until a quarter of the way through 2015 before reporting on this goal as I wanted to be able to answer those questions for myself first. And I am happy to report that since January 1, I have practiced gratitude on a daily basis and it has indeed made a difference to my attitude.

5 minute journal

I downloaded the 5 minute journal app and committed to myself that I would stick to using it every day for three months and then review if I liked it and found it effective. I was drawn to this app by the name. I did not want to add another habit to my morning routine that would take up too much time.

The 5 minute journal is true to its name. I would spend less than 5 minutes in the morning and then another 5 minute or less session in the evening. You have settings to choose from, for both morning and evening entries.

I have mine set so in the morning I reflect on:

  • what I am grateful for
  • what will make my day great
  • my affirmation for the day

This is an example of what a morning entry looks like for me:

5 minute journal - morning

In the evening I have it set so I need to add:

  • 3 amazing things that happened in the day (you can add a photo if you like for one of the amazing things)
  • what I could have done to have made my day better

This is an example of what an evening entry looks like for me:

5 minute journal - evening

I laughed so hard when I re-read this one looking for one to share on the blog. There is a large correlation between Phil’s understanding (my husband) and what I could have done to make my day better!  (For the record it was a minor incident in a car park, where I touch parked against a pole and their was only a small scratch made to the car!)

5 minute journal also share with you an inspiring quote each morning, which I like too.

quote - playing it safe 640

If you wish you can sync the 5 minute journal with your iCloud or download it as a PDF. Each day takes up a page, but it does make for great reading. I found it interesting to see the patterns in what made my lists of gratefuls and amazing things – it reinforced to me I have my goal right for this year. Family was the most common theme running through out my journal.

Has practising daily gratitude helped?

Without a doubt! I have always been a bit skeptical about gratitude and was not sure whether it would make a difference. But it really has. Starting each day, thinking of three things I am grateful for moves me into positive thinking. Already I am looking for the good around me and there is plenty.

I also like having to come up with an affirmation for the day. On tougher days, I will often repeat my affirmation to myself and pay attention to it if I find I need help focusing.

There are days when I cannot wait to list the amazing things that happen and I am very happy that this happens frequently. But there are days, where as the end of the day draws close, I wonder if I will be able to think of anything amazing to include. But as I feel compelled to list three things, I think and think and always come up with things that I am very happy that happened in my day. Without having to journal these amazing things, I would most likely go to bed feeling more deflated. Journaling at the end of the day, albeit in incredibly short form helps me end the day on a positive note.

In the three months I think I missed two entries. I will continue with this practice and I truly feel it has helped me improve my attitude. It helps me stay focused on my goals, makes me accountable and I am so happy I have started this new habit.

Do you practice gratitude, if so how?