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5 Minutes to a Happier You - Gratitude Journaling Made Easy

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A year or so ago, every time I read a blog or scrolled through Instagram I would see someone talking about gratitude journaling.  I wasn’t quite sure what this new “fad” (or so I thought at the time) was all about and definitely didn’t think I was someone that needed to try it. 

For some reason though, it kept popping up in my life and I became intrigued.  As I was diving into research about entrepreneurship, I noticed a trend.  People like Tim Ferris, Tony Robbins and Oprah were all talking about how important this practice was in their lives.  These were all people I respected and admired, so I decided to let go of my ego and give it a shot. I went on Amazon and bought a “gratitude journal”.  Once the journal arrived I realized it was just a regular old journal with some nice quotes inside.  I tried to start journaling every morning but it was time consuming and I wasn’t really sure how to do the whole “gratitude journaling” part, so I quickly gave up. 

A few weeks later, I was at a coffee shop in Bali and I ran into a friend who was journaling over her cappuccino.  We chatted a bit and she told me she had started using “The Five-Minute Journal” a few months prior and was loving it. 

5 minute journal august effects gratitude journal

When I got home, I looked it up and loved the simplicity and the lay out. The journal is set up so you spend 5 minutes or less everyday writing and there are prompts to make it simple for you.  Essentially, each morning you write down 3 things you are grateful for, 3 things that would make the day great, and a daily affirmation. Before bed you write 3 amazing things that happened during that day and a way you could have made the day better. 

 5 minute journal gratitude august effects

The most magnificent thing to me was reading about the science behind this practice. When you start your day with gratitude, the world around you shifts and you see the beauty in things.  Amazing opportunities fall into your lap and everything feels a bit more bright and effortless. 

On the contrary, if you've ever heard the saying "misery seeks misery  our thoughts and energy work in much the same way.  If you start your day feeling sorry for yourself, down, or grumpy, that's the energy that you'll end up carrying throughout your day and that will be attracted back to you. 

5 minute journal

“In about five minutes per day, you can establish a positive pattern of thinking and acting when it really matters. It’s the ideal time window that allows for minimal effort and a wild reward”.

I want to break down exactly how each section works and why it is important.  Let’s start with the 3 sections of the morning routine:

  1. Gratitude
This is an example of what the gratitude section of your journal may look like:
I am grateful for….
  1. The warm bed I sleep in.
  2. My body that is working in perfect harmony.
  3. The true and genuine friends in my life.

A tip the journal gives you is to try writing things you are grateful for that you might not have yet.  If you are looking to be in a healthy relationship, you may write... I am grateful to be in a loving, healthy relationship with a partner of my dreams.

“A 2003 study by Emmons and McCullough found that keeping a daily gratitude journal leads to better sleep, reductions of physical pain, a greater sense of well-being, and a better ability to handle change”.

  1. What would make today great?

After writing 3 things you are grateful for, you are prompted to write 3 things that would make the day great.  I could explain this section in my own words but the journal explains it so well I am just going to quote it:

“Have you ever had the experience of buying a new car and seeing the same model everywhere you go?
Or automatically noticing how someone has the same shoes/haircut/shirt? Have you had the experience of falling in love and seeing everything through rose-colored glasses?
These experiences are universal.  Why do they happen?
There is a small part of your brain called the Reticular Activation System (RAS) that turns on and off your perception of ideas and thoughts and determines the lenses through which you look at the world.  When you take an action like buy a new car, you have taken a major step in redefining your possessions and your RAS changes to accommodate your new acquisition.  Everywhere you go, your RAS will gently remind you of this change by pointing out others who have the same car as you.
When you write “What would make today great?” you are taking a step to influence your RAS to point out and engage in activities that would make your day better.  You are building new pathways in your brain that allow you to ‘see’ what you can do to improve your well-being every day. 
You are creating a new program in your mind that naturally increases your happiness.  Doing this consistently gives you consistently better days.  It is that simple.”

This is an example of what this section might look like:

 What would make today great?
1. Doing yoga.
2. Reading 3 chapters of my book.
3. Sleep before 10pm.  
  1. Daily Affirmation

The last prompt in your journal will be for you to write a daily affirmation of yourself.  This is a simple statement that primes you as you want to be.  With consistency, you begin to create that change from within.  Here is an example of a daily affirmation:

Daily Affirmations.  I am…
I am confident and comfortable in my own skin and I live with passion and purpose.

 

 5 minute journal

“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief.  And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” – Muhammad Ali

Let’s move onto the night routine.  Before bed you reflect on 3 amazing things that happened that day and one way you could have made the day better. 

3 amazing things that happened today…
1. A friend recommended a wonderful book for me.
2. I took a beautiful walk on the beach today.
3. The barista remembered how I like my latte.

 

How could I have made the day better?
I called my grandma to check in on her and catch up.

 

The journal explains the science behind focusing on gratitude before you sleep.  But simply, “You will find that The Five-Minute Journal instantly helps you shift your focus on the positive and short-circuits negative thought loops.  No matter how your day was, you will sleep a bit better than you would have otherwise.  Simple.” 

Here’s another great example the journal gives:

A social marketer, Brad Einarson, shares his strategy on happiness.
“When I was in a dark period, I instituted a simple rule that changed my life.
Rule: When I arrive home from work, the very first thing I tell my wife is the best thing that happened that day. 
No exceptions.  No complaining.  Just the best thing that day, even if it was just a good cup of coffee.  This had the effect of starting our evening off on a positive note and it changed our relationship.” – Brad Einarsen

 

As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, I thought gratitude journaling was a “fad” but this is simply one of the oldest strategies to happiness.  By spending a few minutes a day focusing on gratitude you attract the energy you want more of in your life. 

5 minute journal

You may be thinking, that’s great for you but I don’t need this. Even if you are the happiest person on this earth, this practice is STILL for you.  Everyone has hard days and difficult situations that arise in life and this practice helps bring you back to what is important.  Focusing on what is beautiful and good in your life can only bring more things that are beautiful and good.  Who doesn’t have 5 minutes a day to improve their life?  I have no personal gain in recommending this journal except for my hope that it helps enhance your life and much as it did mine.

I can honestly say that this journal has allowed me to look at the world through a different lens.  It has given me confidence and peace in my everyday life.  The journal states that this is simplest, most effective thing you can do every day to be happier, and I could not agree more. 

 Learn more about the journal HERE! 

 august effects bali gratitude journal

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