I am the kind of person that owns a gratitude journal now. I have seen many people on the internet do it, especially on beautifully decorated bullet journal pages, but somehow it always felt a bit unnecessary to me. I can remember to be grateful for things without having to write them down, right? Well… maybe.
Writing down two things that you are grateful for every day is a common psychological method to make you feel more aware of your daily life and focus on the positive. Apparently it works best if you write down your two things in the evening and re-read them in the morning, although I will admit I don’t always have time for that. The little lists overall though, are quite effective. I bought a nice little notebook for the occasion (getting to buy a notebook for something always a good incentive for me to do it) and I’m slowly filling it with nice pictures, stickers and happy thoughts. Just happy thoughts, even if those are the only two I have that day.
I have kept a diary for many years, but when my mental health started going down I found it very hard to keep up. I always felt that a diary entry should be an accurate portrayal of my feelings at the time, but at that point those were just shitty. I didn’t want to write the same bad thoughts over and over or even remember them. The gratitude journal (that I so grudgingly began) turned out to be a real answer to this problem. Every day I can write down some nice things I want to remember, like ‘had lunch with a Friend’ or ‘tried a new series on Netflix’ while knowing that current and future me both understand that really isn’t all there is to my life.
Is it really shifting my thoughts? I’m not sure yet, but maybe. Every day I am reminded that I need to come up with at least two nice things to write down that evening. This helps me make that nice coffee for myself, or really acknowledge that I enjoy the way the sunlight hits my new plants. Just like taking notes during lectures as a student, writing things down helps me remember them, even if I don’t look at my writings later. And that is already worth quite something to me.