Why are grateful logs a secret?
Well, remember when you were a kid and you had a ‘secret diary’ which all your personal thoughts and feelings would be scribbled into – what your mum said to you, your crush at school, how you’d really like to give that teacher a piece of your mind…
Grateful logs are a similar principle to the ‘Dear Diary’ concept though this is focused on flipping your mindset from a negative one to a balanced one.
What are grateful logs?
Grateful logs involve establishing gratitude, that is an appreciation for what is happening or has happened.
The process of the grateful log drives you to acknowledge the things you appreciate and are thankful for in your life. It helps to balance out your perspective, particularly if you come home at the end of a long day and feel more drained than energised. If used consistently it can also be used to balance out any experiences you are seeing as ‘negative’ to a ‘neutral’ experience by finding both the positive and negative side.
When writing a gratitude log, you want it to be very specific to you expressing your personality and stimulate grateful, positive feelings. Not only what you write but also where, how and what you use can impact the overall outcome and benefits you experience from going through the process.
How you get started
So get started with a couple of simple steps:
- Buy a new notebook – this is the most important step. You need to buy a notebook that you like with the exact intention that it is going to be used for your grateful log. This will help you slip into the right reflective mindset every time you pick up your notebook. Moreover, writing down things you appreciate isn’t just something that ‘needs to be done’, it is a purposeful task specifically for you to reflect on your own feelings and thoughts, so the notebook you choose needs to reflect you, and only you.
- Find a pen you LOVE writing with – this may be you want to also buy your own special pen, or maybe you already have one that you like writing with. Whatever kind of pen you choose, it needs to be one that you find easy to write with and glides across the page.
- Lock in a time every day when you will write your gratitude log. Ideally this is the same time every day, eg 8.30pm every night. If you have an erratic schedule with different start and finish times every day, you can elect to write your log within 30mins of you getting home. However chances are you have at least 2 – 3 consecutive days with similar scheduling so you can pick a time for those 3 days, then adjust for the next 3.
What you write down
Here is how it’s done.
Write down 3 things that you are grateful for. Do not write down just a list of items. The choice of words is the key here. Start with “I am” as you are taking the ownership of the gratitude. You are appreciating something that is in your life and you are grateful for.
Repeat this three times to capture the three main things of the day you are grateful for.
Even when you have a really ‘bad’ day and you think there is nothing you can be grateful for, think of the little things. These can be, for example, that mum made you dinner, your partner made you a bath, a colleague bought you a coffee at work, even a stranger smiling at you can make your day and is something you can be grateful for.
It is important to start realising the small things to be able to develop our gratitude.
You can also repeat things you are grateful for everyday but it is necessary to write them through every time.
For example, you can write down “I am grateful for food” one day and the next day go “I am grateful for food that nourishes my body”…
This allows you to continuously expand your gratitude for the initial thing you wrote down. Even if you get stuck, just go back a few pages, look at what you were grateful for in the past day and elaborate on it.
In this way you can constantly evolve your gratitude and your log. So being grateful simply for food can evolve in several weeks into being grateful for food which nourishes our bodies so we can work and be with people we love.
After a period of time consistently completing your grateful log, you will see that you’ve engrained a pattern of thinking that is reflective and thankful for things in your life that you may have not otherwise noticed before. This in turn allows you to build a stronger, more grounded mindset that doesn’t get tripped up on the pebbles in life.