I’ve heard it several times before and I bet you have too. Keeping a gratitude journal – into which you spend 10 minutes at the end of every day jotting down everything you were grateful for during that day – will reduce your stress and up the happy in your life.
Arianna Huffington summarized all this in her book Thrive by noting: “According to a study by researchers from the University of Minnesota and the University of Florida, having participants write down a list of positive events at the close of a day — and why the events made them happy — lowered their self-reported stress levels and gave them a greater sense of calm at night.”
I’ve read all about this. I’ve talked with people who do this. Without citing all the hard evidence, I’ll just say… I buy it. I get it. I’m in.
But… I stink at journaling. I’ve tried it probably 10 times before, for a variety of reasons and typically upon the advice of a friend, but I can never get past a couple of days of actually doing it. Once I even purchased a beautiful leather clad journal with heavy weight cotton paper and thought to myself: “Yeah, I haven’t successfully journaled because the paper itself wasn’t just right.” Right.
More recently, however, it has hit me like a much appreciated bag of bricks over the head: why not keep a visual gratitude journal? One that I capture with a camera (or my phone) and which helps me account for all of the things that I am most grateful for in my life. I have created a special on-line gallery (accessible only by me) into which I place these images. They contain photos of people, of events, of places. Just knowing I possess such a gallery prompts me to search around during the course of each day just looking for, and thinking about, my blessings. I review the gallery often and consider everything in my life I have reason to appreciate.
And you know what? It works. Maybe I don’t stink at journaling after all.
Try it and see. Let us know if it works…