Why a Gratitude Journal is Just the Start

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Over the next 12 weeks we’ll uncover a self-care plan that makes sure you’re on the list. As we reminded you last week, you don’t always need to be at the top, but you need to be on there!

Today’s self-care tool is gratitude. I first discovered the power of gratitude when a close friend was struggling with depression. As a way of supporting her, I suggested we start of practice of writing a daily gratitude list of five things.

I was curious to see if it changed anything about how we felt, and the results were phenomenal. We were both taken to a heightened level of appreciation for our lives – truly seeing and embracing the people, circumstances and things around us.

To start your own gratitude journal, aim to to list five things you are grateful for – every morning or every night. If this inspires you, try for 10!

As you build up this daily practice, keep in mind that gratitude really comes from within, from a strong, quiet connection with the self – the Higher Self, the heart and soul of oneself.

This deeper sense of gratitude comes from setting an intention to have a more grateful mindset by accepting whatever is happening all through the day. Gratitude is most powerful when it is woven into our whole lives this way.

There are many practices that can help you cultivate your inner connection and focus on your gratitude during the day; writing in a gratitude journal is just the tip of the iceberg.

Some people feel centered when they sit cross-legged on the floor and take a few deep breaths, or use certain yoga postures (read how yoga is particularly helpful for people in recovery from eating disorders). Others find their focus while taking a walk out in nature, or cuddling with a pet.

There are many ways to cultivate stillness, focus and gratitude in your life. We’ll be exploring more of these as we continue this series. The important thing is the intention to receive these gifts of gratitude and awareness into your being.

Earlier versions of this post were published in 2014.