When you think of a grateful person, what image pops up? Perhaps someone polite, respectful, and humble? That’s spot on! But there’s more. Gratitude has even more to offer when we are also proactive, intentional, and, dare I say, “bold” in how we experience and express it! Let’s explore how we can craft our path to journaling with bold gratitude.
Why Use a Gratitude Journal?
From the ancient scrolls of philosophers to the latest research, one theme threads through the tapestry of human existence: Gratitude. The act of recognizing and appreciating the good in our lives stands as a testament to our nature. This timeless wisdom, backed by science, and amplified through innovation, leads us to the powerful practice of bold gratitude journaling.
Taking the time to notice, reflect, and set intentions through journaling not only benefits us as individuals. It also positively impacts those around us. More specifically, it:
- floods our brains with happiness chemicals
- allows us to take relationships to the next level
- reminds us to put goodness out there and make the world a better place
What the Science Says:
Science reveals that gratitude can have an outsized, positive effect on well-being and relationships. When we are intentionally grateful for the good in our lives, we maintain joy rather than taking things for granted, and practicing gratitude releases two happiness chemicals, serotonin and dopamine. These two feel-good chemical messengers are neurotransmitters that promote a happy mood and positive feelings.
Without question, one of the most widely used gratitude practices is the gratitude journal, and with good reason. In The Gratitude Project, the authors explain that “research suggests translating thoughts into concrete language makes us more aware of them, deepening their emotional impact.” Essentially, we are telling ourselves the story of who and what we are grateful for.
What Oprah and Many Others Say:
If that doesn’t convince you, maybe Oprah will. In season 2, episode 206 of Oprah’s Lifeclass, Oprah shares that she has been using a gratitude journal for many years, and it is the single most important thing she’s ever done. Now that’s an endorsement! And Oprah isn’t alone. Arianna Huffington, Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, Laurie Santos, Tim Ferriss, Brené Brown, Shawn Achor, Dan Pink, and many other thought leaders speak about the power of gratitude. But be warned: Jay Shetty, a former monk turned storyteller, calls gratitude “the world’s most addictive drug.”
Happiness is not what makes us grateful.Brother David Steindl-Rast
It is gratefulness that makes us happy.
Does Journaling Look the Same for Everyone?
Great news…There’s no rulebook for gratitude journaling. Feel free to write on paper, whip out your notes app, record a voice memo, or take a photo/video. You can even create art or doodle your way to journaling bliss! The options are endless, and the choices are yours.
So, how will YOU journal your bold gratitude today? Classic pen and paper? A voice memo? Or maybe a creative doodle? Whatever you choose, make it uniquely yours.
A Bold Gratitude Practice:
Here are some of the activities I do in my journal:
- fill in the blanks for a guided practice
- meditate on inspiring quotes and then capture thoughts
- respond to prompts that encourage me to see the good
- reflect and set intentions
Throughout this 3-part series, I will share different practices. This first one is Notice-Think- Feel-Do. It is a guided practice based on the work of psychologist Andrea Hussong and her colleagues.
First, here are some topics to inspire you:
Everyday Things, Family, Friends, Health, Coincidences, Nature, Experiences, Tough Times, Places, Pets, Life Lessons
What do you NOTICE in your life that you can be mega grateful for?
THINK real hard about why the universe dropped this amazing person/place/thing in your lap.
How do you FEEL about this blessing/gift?
What can you DO to show some appreciation? Go all out and come up with some fun ways to spread gratitude!
I hope you enjoy this practice!
As we wrap up part 1 in this series, remember: being grateful is wonderful, but being boldly grateful? That’s where the magic happens. More to come. Till then, keep journaling the things you notice, big and small!
Excerpts from Bold Gratitude: The Journal Designed For You & By You written by Lainie Rowell and designed by Allyson Liu, published by IMPress Books, June 2023
Also in this series:
- Part 2: Building a Bold Gratitude Journaling Ritual
- Part 3: The Positive Ripple Effect of Bold Gratitude