Keep a Gratitude Journal or Jar

As I said in the first baby step post, this month, I want to highlight 31 ways to baby step your way into a more mindful and healthful life.  Some of the tips will be advice already stated or implied in previous posts, while some will be brand new.  This post provides the tenth and an explanation.  The idea is to start at the beginning and accumulate as many mindful and healthful habits as you'd like to sustain by the conclusion of the month.  It's similar to that icebreaker where you're in a circle of people and you need to repeat all of the members' names in order... it's a challenge, but you'll feel great at making progress and it'll help you see how far you've come from the 1st to the 31st!

I am so thankful for this leather-bound Rome journal, a gift from an old friend,
our sign-in book at our wedding celebration, and my newest gratitude journal´╗┐

Baby Step # 10
Keep a Gratitude Journal or Jar

I write about gratitude on this blog more than I ever anticipated doing before I began.  You might think that mindfulness, being present, doesn't really have to do with being content and thankful.  From what I've discovered in the last few years, however, gratitude is essential to finding balance and making mindfulness happen in your life.  If you aren't able to appreciate what you have now, how can you truly believe anything more/ better/ different will ever make you happy?

A great way to identify and articulate your blessings is through a gratitude journal or jar.  I've kept a gratitude journal before, through simple bullet lists or traditional journal "entries," but the jar idea is a great one I haven't yet tried.  I saw it online just before the new year and it suggested writing something each day, compiling them throughout the year and reading them all on New Year's Eve after the year passed.  How great is that?!

For my gratitude journal right now, I date each entry and take a few minutes alone to think, reflect, and write.  It comes out to be a mix of lists and paragraphs, depending on how I feel and what I've identified.  Like you might imagine, the simple act of writing out your blessings makes you feel even more thankful, so you get a little boost just from taking those few minutes to list them.

Some people are able to thank God/ god/ the universe in their minds or through prayer each day, but when I try to do that sometimes I drift off into sleep, while I'm mid-gratitude list.  If this works for you, you may not need the journal or jar. 

As I mentioned, I have written about gratitude much more often than former Julie would have thought possible.  If you're interested in some of these other posts, take a look:

Gratitude for a Mindful Friday

Beginning Contentment

Perpetual Thanksgiving

A Thankful November

Circle of Life Week

Reflect and Remember: 9/11

Congratulate Yourself

Mindful Mondays: The Valor of the Brave

Mindful Mondays: Abraham Lincoln*

What is something you're grateful for today?

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