How Can One Start A Gratitude Journal They Can Actually Keep

Hello, gratitude…Thank you! Yes, that’s how deeply blessed I feel for a grateful heart. A heart of abundance. Imagine if we could practice this daily, with ourselves and with all our interactions throughout the day.  A lot has been written, widely spoken about the power of a gratitude journal. The attitude of gratitude. To be honest, complaining, feeling low, dejected, comes naturally to us. It’s a human instinct. “I don’t like the breakfast, I don’t have enough toys, could we not go for a vacation, we haven’t had a holiday” (probably a month after the last weekend getaway). The tiniest human in our lives grumbles and mumbles. Often standing in front of a loaded closet, we declare, “I have nothing to wear.”

Gratitude Journal

I sense a chuckle…

Without making light of the situation, I think the pandemic gave us a thousand reasons to be grateful. If not, perhaps by the end of this read, I am hopeful, you will find a way of discovering your silver lining!

“Gratitude makes a person modest.  A sense of gratitude expands the heart”


DR. DAISAKU IKEDA

What pandemic taught me:

To start with, this feeling of having a grateful heart evolved through the years.  It’s my practice of Nichiren Buddhism that constantly reminds me, and reinstates that I am the sun.

Every minute of being alive, of spreading light, is reason enough to be grateful. At the lowest times, when gratitude was the last emotion in my heart, a compassionate friend in faith told me, “you’re healthy and you’re human. Imagine all the possibilities of what your life can create.” Over the years, now, more often than not, being grateful, expressing gratitude, being appreciative is my first and most spontaneous response. We’re all work in progress, through fights, breakdowns, and being exhausted.  Let’s pat our backs.  We didn’t give up…on most days, we put ourselves back together, and bounced right up. Grateful indeed. 

So, can we build a heart of gratitude? Yes!

Need for a gratitude journal and how to get started:

1. Why journal

It helped me put a frame to every thought.  It’s your go-to place, your little nook. Why a gratitude journal? What better way to put a smile on your face, than that little diary where you’ve expressed every joy and every moment you’re thankful for.  Read it again, melts away the anger, the resentment. 

Gratitude journal - for your happiness

2. Age no bar

Have you heard anyone complain about how positive or happy they are?  That’s right, you could be 6 or 60, there will be enough reasons to crib, but if not more, then equal reasons to be grateful, complain less and be happier

3. Everything is big enough

What really qualifies as an achievement to be grateful for? Everything that you struggle for, that you determine…that makes you smile, is a victory.  Put it down. My Buddhist friend once encouraged me, “you got out of your bed, earlier than ever, did your riyaaz (music practice), broke a pattern, that’s your win.” 

4. Only I can make myself happy

Imagine taking the load off all your relationships.  Freeing them of expectations to make you happy, or blame them for your unhappiness.  Everyone’s there for a reason. So why not put down all the things you’re grateful for about yourself, you love about yourself, you care about, in you, that makes you unique. Also, have a daily routine for a healthy life and let journaling be one of them.

5. Me time

Gratitude journal - Me time

This is your time to be alone with your thoughts.  While shopping, going to a spa, and pampering yourself are important, your gratitude journal stays with you and is free!  A bonus, once you’ve jotted down the negatives and positives for the day… you go to bed happier and content.  An upgraded version with a heart filled with gratitude for all that the day had to offer.

Let’s start. Express gratitude for those million reasons that you’ve probably not paid attention to.  Here’s hoping that my two bits of learning and realization, of growth and happiness as a practicing Buddhist, help you start your journey and gratitude journal too.

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22 thoughts on “How Can One Start A Gratitude Journal They Can Actually Keep”

  1. I absolutely love this idea, thank you sharing this. I have always been someone who love to put my thoughts in a diary at the end of the day. However, starting a gratitude journal is new to me, will for sure be giving this a try.

  2. Writing a gratitude journal is definitely a lovely way to spend a meaningful time with oneself. Ur post has motivated me to start one.

  3. Journaling surely has many benefits when practiced on regular basis. And listing down things in the book makes a person ponder upon all the blessings. And completely agree with the motto that only I can make myself happy. It is the inner feeling that makes or breaks the day.

  4. I feel grateful to be alive and having my family around at this tough times. Keeping a journal is really thoughtful idea. We can start doing that for a positive approach.

  5. These days I am loving journaling. Gratitude journal is must . And covid has taught us to love and appreciate ourselves. You have written beautifully.

  6. Journal acts as a personal space where we can let out everything we feel. Gratitude journal is really helpful as it keeps us focused in positive aspects of life which we neglect easily. I have started to teach gratitude to my 3 year old also.

  7. Well not now but during my last few school years and in early collage days I use to write journals. I even wrote one during my 1st pregnancy and it feels so wonderful to read it now. I think I should resume it again and document about my life and my blessings, my family.

  8. I totally love the idea of having a journal as its important for us to have a place wherein we do not have to stop our thoughts. It should be one place where we are totally transparent. And journal really does helps in spending some me time with ourselves.

  9. You know what I love the most about journaling.. I get mu me time, I can introspect not by cribbing why something happened to me but what Can I do better to undo it and make things better. Journaling is a way to pour out my thoughts and when it comes to gratitude journaling it relaxes my mind and make me a calmer person.

  10. There are indeed a million reasons to be grateful, the primary one being life itself. Keeping a gratitude journal sounds like a great idea, that will also enhance positive reinforcement.

  11. Gratitude journals are one of the most positive things we can do for ourselves. You’ve mentioned some good pointers on creating and maintaining one.

  12. Couldn’t agree more than this. Gratitude journal is something that I consider one of the best therapies. Yes to shoo away all the dilemma, chaos and confusions from the monkey mind. When you sit down and start writing about every little thing that blesses your life with eternal bliss, really diffuse all the negativity around.

  13. the pandemic was truly a eye opener and I have recently started to write my Gratitude Journal. Trust me it makes me so happy and I am glad that I started, it encourages me to start counting my blessings

  14. Gratitude journal is something I agree with no age bar, we all should maintain. My daughter have one and the reasons you shared why we should have this are really valid.

  15. What a co-incidence, I had planned this topic for my upcoming post and read it today on your blog. I strongly believe that gratitude is such a powerful gesture and we all should try to cultivate in our day to day life by best possible efforts. gratitude journal writing is best and easy way to do that.

  16. I am actually at a loss for words as i read your post. About half an hour ago, my friend and I were discussing starting a Gratitude Journal and now i see your post! This is definitely a sign form the Universe that I must start! Glad I read this!

  17. There is so much around us to be thankful for. But we overlook it, sometimes ignore it. But once we start paying attention about these small things, there will be big shift in our overall well being.