By Matthew Jones - Adventure Expert at Universal Dialect
In a perfect world, if someone came to you with some truly life-changing advice, you would thank them, shake their hand (maybe hug them), and immediately try out whatever suggestion they’d offered. But we all know this doesn’t happen.
Instead, we are more likely to reject their advice before we consider it, perhaps because of a bad experience or because we harbor a general distrust for others.
This reaction comes from the idea that accepting help from someone else makes us look weak or helpless. “I don’t need that,” we say. “Only I know what’s best for me” is another common line. But if these statements were true, then we’d all be overwhelmingly happy and fulfilled all the time, which we know is not the case.
We all need help, and there’s no shame in admitting it.
An example of a “self-help” tactic that’s particularly misunderstood is keeping a gratitude journal. A notebook in which we write things we’re thankful for, this simple activity can have a profound impact on our lives, yet we often dismiss it as “lame” or “corny.” But when we do this, all we’re accomplishing is stagnation. We’re holding ourselves back from moving forward and doing what we want with our lives.
Still not convinced? Here are some reasons why a gratitude journal is not only not lame but also an excellent way to start grabbing life.
First, Growth is Not Lame
The first thing we should always remember is that growth is not lame. It simply isn’t. Anything you do with the intention of bettering yourself and your life is a good thing, no matter if it works and no matter what anyone else says. And as you will see, gratitude journals are a great way to grow, which means they just can’t be lame. They just can’t.
If you do see a gratitude journal as lame, it’s most likely because you’re worrying too much about what others think of you. We all care too much about how others see us, but obsessing over your image is psychological poison. Those around you who truly care about you won’t judge you or put you down for trying to better yourself, and if someone does, there’s a pretty good chance he or she is not a positive influence in your life. You would do well to start spending your time with people who appreciate you more for who you are.
So, if you’re thinking about starting a gratitude journal and you’re worried others will perceive you as lame, start working on blocking out these thoughts. To get into the habit, set yourself small goals in the beginning. For example, commit to just writing a few things down for which you’re grateful, and then slowly graduate to a full-fledged journal. Over time, you will start to experience the benefits of a gratitude journal, and this will be all the proof you need to stick with it.
Why Gratitude Journals Work
If you’re resisting starting a gratitude journal because you think it’s lame, hopefully you now see it’s not. But if you still need a push, consider some reasons why this simple habit can have such a profound impact on your life.
Positive Thoughts Breed Positivity
“What we think we become.” This quote is often attributed to the Buddha, but it’s been repeated in countless different ways by many different people. It’s reminds us that our thoughts shape our reality, and if those thoughts are negative, we are going to perceive our reality as negative
As a result, if you want to change your reality, a good place to start is your thoughts, and a gratitude journal is an excellent way to do this.
Sitting down and physically writing out what you’re grateful for forces you to focus on the things in your life you already have. Too often we dwell on that which we don’t have, which produces feelings of inadequacy, frustration, and, most often, sadness. A gratitude journal won’t resolve these forms of suffering overnight, but it will help you inject positive thoughts into your internal dialogue, which will crowd out the negativity and improve your mindset.
Once you get to this point where you view life more positively, you’ll start to see many other aspects of your life improve. You’ll find yourself more motivated to try new things and challenge yourself. You’ll become a better friend, sibling, son, daughter, partner, etc., and you’ll find yourself being more productive and creative, which will help you come up with new ways to live your life and keep moving forward. Of course, these changes take time to appear, but one way to start the process is to begin keeping a gratitude journal today.
Taking Time for Yourself is a Good Thing
On top of the boost in positivity you get from keeping a gratitude journal, this practice also forces you to take some time out of your day for yourself. We often allow ourselves to be torn in many different directions; work, friends, family, etc., absorb a lot of our attention, and while it’s important to be connected to the world around you, it’s also important to take a step back and focus on yourself.
Sitting down for 10, 20, 30 or 60 minutes a day (whatever you can manage) to write our what you’re grateful for and why is a great way to disrupt an outwards-facing routine and turn inwards because it requires you to be introspective, which means listening to what’s going on deep inside. Doing this will help you gain more insight on yourself and your life, which you can use to figure out an action plan for moving forward.
Give Yourself a Reminder That Things Are Okay
It’s easy to get stressed and overwhelmed, and this can make it feel like the world is caving in around you. But it hardly ever is, and it’s important to remember this when you’re at your worst.
A gratitude journal is also a great way for you to stay grounded because the act of writing positive thoughts and feelings remind you things are okay. But the journal also helps you inject positivity. Specifically, you can read through previous entries to recall what’s going well in your life and forget what’s going poorly, and this can often be just the pick-me-up you need to get over your stressors.
There’s Science to Prove this Works
We’ve provided a handful of arguments to show you why gratitude journals are not only not lame but also why they actually work. However, if you’re looking for something more, consider that there is a good bit of science out there to prove the profound impact this little activity can have on your life.
For example, a study conducted by researchers at Indiana University focused on how gratitude-related activities, such as a gratitude journal, affected the mind. Not only did they find people to be generally happier and more positive because of these activities, but they also found evidence that these activities helped rewire the neural networks responsible for promoting positivity. This shows that activities such a gratitude journal not only make you feel better, but they facilitate physical changes inside of you that make it easier for you to live your best life.
Start Your Journal Today
At Universal Dialect, we believe in the power of positivity. We encourage people to live life to the fullest by inspiring soccer-related adventures, but we also understand it’s not always possible to go out on an adventure. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t work to inject more positivity into your life, and a gratitude journal is just one of many ways you can do this. Start one today and see how this small change to your lifestyle can transform your life.