Improve your attitude with gratitude – Keeping a gratitude log

A gratitude log is a list of things in your life that you’re thankful for.  Taking a few moments out of your day to hand write a gratitude list has been shown to increase general happiness levels and give you a positive mental attitude.

It’s really easy for us to focus on the negatives and for them to play on our minds. Keeping a gratitude log forces you to focus on the positives even if you’e had a really crap day.

If you’re feeling a bit down, or stuck in a rut – keeping stock of the little things that you’re happy for can really help to bring you out.

Does it really work?

It’s a tool that been recommended by therapists for their clients for years to increase positivity and has recently been made popular by the bullet journal community. Multiple studies have shown that being grateful has a strong positive link to well-being.

How do I get started?

At the end of the day, take our 5 minutes with a notebook, reflect on the day and find 2-3 moments that you were thankful for or made you happy. Write it down. Ta dah! As simple as that. Keep it short and sweet – a sentence or a bullet point is best keep you focused so it can be built into a daily habit.

There will be days that it will be really hard to think of things you’re grateful for, but forcing yourself to think of things to write down helps to shift your perspective on the day and find the silver lining in that cloud.

I’ve written down in my log when my son’s done something quirky, kind words said, a piece of work that I got good feedback on, a presentation that went well, a passing conversation that made me smile, the weather (I’m British so yes the weather needed to be mentioned), or the fact the train was on time (that made it in when I was having a seriously rubbish day!).   All these little moments start to build.

Where do I keep it?

Ideally, keep it in a notebook for two reasons:

  1. The simple act of writing something down makes it stick better.  Hand writing has been shown to enable memory recall, which means that it will help instil positivity in your mind.
  2. For reflection. Having all your gratitude points in one place makes it easier to reflect on it weekly, monthly or even yearly.

I’ve kept online gratitude logs before, and it’s not been the same as flicking through pages of a notebook and seeing my handwriting to help me connect to the things I was grateful for.

How often do I have to do it?

Most people recommend to keep a gratitude log everyday, and if you can, I would say this is the best. However, in practice I’ve found it hard to keep to this even though it takes 5 mins.  Conversely, if you try and keep it weekly or even monthly you struggle to remember the small details of each day that you could have been grateful for.

Personally keeping it updated every 2-3 days worked for me.  I don’t feel bad if I haven’t found 5 mins in the day to reflect, and if I leave it for 2-3 days I can still remember little things over those days.

Reflect on it

This is where the power of the gratitude log is truly shown. There is power of writing down what you’ve grateful for in the moment but when you reflect on a list you start to see there is a lot in your life that has made a positive impact. When you’re having a crap day or just feeling a bit glum, flick through the pages of the log and you should feel a little lighter.

For working mums

The gratitude log is a useful tool for all mums whether you’re at home or at work..  For working mums, it can help to deal with the guilt we may suffer when leaving little ones to go to work and feel the pressure of juggling many balls. Keeping a log of special moments we have with our kids, the times we smashed it at work, being thankful we provide for them or any other things we are grateful for can help show us what a fab job we’re doing.

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