How to use a gratitude journal to relieve stress will be the focus of this post. Have you heard of a gratitude journal? You probably have, but you may not be familiar enough with the concept to start one on your own. That will all change after today’s blog post. I’ll share with you just what this wondrous little journal is and what keeping one on a regular basis can do for you. And, of course, I’ll also show you how to easily get started.
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One can of course first learn how to embrace the power of gratitude to overcome stress.
When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. ~Marcus Aurelius~
HAVE REALISTIC GOALS ACCORDING TO YOUR SYMPTOMS
This becomes possible when you embrace gratitude. Instead of concentrating on what you can’t do, you’ll instead focus on what you can. This will help strengthen your resolve to live a happier life despite the challenges of daily pain.
People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.
Embrace gratitude and learn to value yourself
“Don’t rely on someone else for your happiness and self worth. Only you can be responsible for that. If you can’t love and respect yourself – no one else will be able to make that happen. Accept who you are – completely; the good and the bad – and make changes as YOU see fit – not because you think someone else wants you to be different.”
How to start a gratitude journal to relieve stress
Once you get into the habit of contemplating what you’re grateful for each day, it’s time to consider making it a written activity. This can be intimidating for people who don’t like to write or who feel they may not have time to dedicate to such a practice. It doesn’t have to be a diary or something in which you write paragraph after paragraph. keeping a gratitude journal can be as simple as a bedside list that can be added to before bed. As Robert Emmons, a world renown scientific expert on gratitude, puts it “ eventually the journal can become a symbol of thankfulness, and just looking at can be a reminder of all that you have and what is important to you.” 
Let’s see if we can’t make the process seem less stressful. There truly are some amazing benefits that come from the physical process of creating a record of gratefulness.
More about how to use a gratitude journal to relieve stress
While it’s called a “gratitude journal”, it’s actually a tool or a record. You don’t have to write in a paper journal. More about that later. The important part is that you take the time each day to record a few things that make you feel fortunate. Doing so can actually help to manifest more positive things. Writing down what you’re appreciative of each day brings that sense of gratefulness to the forefront. It allows you to focus on the positive, helping you to spot opportunities you might otherwise have missed. Keeping a gratitude journal gives you a written record to pull out and look back on any time you’re feeling less than fortunate. It can provide you with motivation in the toughest of times.
“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky. “
~ Rabindranath Tagore ~
Benefits of a gratitude journal
There are many benefits to keeping a gratitude journal. Instilling a writing practice in this way ensures that you maintain a focus on positivity. Sure, sometimes bad things may happen, but this overall emphasis on finding the good can help to provide you with the resilience to keep going. Your stress levels will decrease as you begin embracing an attitude of gratitude. Plus, the act of writing can be therapeutic in itself. Writing also helps to give you a different perspective on things that you might not see as readily without engaging in the process. You can identify patterns and insight into your life that might help you to identify opportunities and to grow.
Tips for how to use a gratitude journal to relieve stress
The most important thing when it comes to a gratitude journal is consistency of practice. Some journal twice daily. Others prefer once. Regardless, it will only be effective if you use it regularly. One of the best ways to help yourself want to use your journal is to choose a format you enjoy. Don’t force yourself to write in a journal by hand if you prefer to use electronic methods. You can keep your records in a simple word processing spreadsheet or use one of many apps that are available for this purpose.
Gratitude Journal is a free iPhone app that can be used to keep track of what you’re thankful for by adding notes and uploading photos
Grateful: A Gratitude Journal
As opposed to starting at a blank screen, Grateful users are given prompts like, “What made you smile today?” to get their gratitude juices flowing. They can also create their own recurring prompts. The reminders are pleasant and easy to use.
On the other hand, if you are inspired by a beautifully-bound paper journal, find one that speaks to you and start writing your thoughts down immediately. No matter what you use, keep it handy by your bedside or on easily accessed devices. Turn your routine into a ritual. Make it a process that feeds your soul. Incorporate your morning coffee into your journal writing or light a candle with a lovely aroma to accompany your routine. Just make it yours.
A gratitude journal can be an insightful and life-changing tool. Remember, you only have to write three simple things you’re grateful for. There’s no need to make it complicated. Start your record keeping practice today and see what it can do for you. Soon you’ll understand how to use a gratitude journal to relieve stress.
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“The Health Benefits of Gratitude.” UWIRE Text, 3 Dec. 2015, p. 1.