Journaling is catching up. You don’t have to be a celebrity or a writer to maintain a journal. It does not have to be profound. Just write one for yourself. Here’s how to get started.
I was that student in school who dreaded the Annual Sports Day. We were supposed to use the day to discover our passion for sports or at least one sport (in my case). There was no such sport that I could ever discover. Trailing behind every student in every sports tryout was terrible. I bravely went through the routine ignoring the sniggers and jibes. I think my class teacher noticed it. She tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to help her write down the prize winners’ names.
“I need someone whose handwriting I can read.”
I went and sat at the judges’ table and was given a sheaf of papers and a red ink pen that was reserved only for teachers. I don’t think it was a serious job because nobody referred to the sheets I had filled up. At the end of the day my teacher took the sheets and profusely thanked me for helping her out.
That was my first experience of gratitude. It exceeded my expectations and I had done nothing to warrant the act of kindness. But the experience of gratitude remained firmly etched in my mind. In retrospect, that was the perfect day for me to have started a Gratitude Journal.
How to get started
Start by listing down five things you are grateful for and do that once a week. It could be the people who are or were in your life; the possessions that have meaning for you; the generosity of a stranger or a skill you have picked up and the sight of a sunrise that left you awestruck. Just writing a sentence about each of the five things once a week for two months can make you more optimistic and happier. Gratitude is different from indebtedness. Indebtedness creates a feeling of obligation to pay back. Gratitude makes you realise that you matter much more to the person than you ever imagined.
The magic of handwriting
You have far more to be grateful for than you realise. When you write about what a situation or person made you feel, you will release oxytocin in your system that will give you a high. Think of things that evoke a feeling of awe and write about it.
When someone helps you out, send the person a handwritten note. I enjoy writing thank you notes to my colleagues when they have helped me out. Receiving a handwritten thank you note is always special. Meanwhile, the act of writing the thank you note works wonders for me.
Give it up
Give up something that you love, voluntarily for a few days and then when you get it back, see you much you relish it. Staying away from your loved ones for a short while can make you realise how much they mean to you. These are all great things to write about in a Gratitude Journal.
On a day when things are not going your way, pull out the Gratitude Journal and read it. Read each entry and visualise the moment that you have described. You will realise that you have a much better deal than majority of the people in the world.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)