Gratitude is a big deal round these parts, much of what The Elgin Avenue stands for, and much of what I seek in my own life, is about gratefulness and being thankful for the little life wins.
Our Mantra Of The Week, which you can see when viewing the desktop version of the blog, is often based on gratitude.
As Oli and I have been away in Suffolk for the past five days, preparing and then celebrating our friends’ wedding (????????????!) it struck me that I’ve been keeping to my daily habits of meditation and writing in my Thankful Journal. These few moments have had such a huge impact on my life, I want to share with you how keeping a Thankful Journal has impacted my day to day. So, here goes . . . !
Oh, and for those of you expecting the second instalment of my 2016 mid-year reflection, that’s still coming up this week, it’s just been bumped along a little.
How Keeping A Thankful Journal Has Impacted My Life
Since January of this year I have been keeping a Thankful Journal.
A Thankful Journal is simply a space where you note down things you are grateful for every day. My journal is a little blue and white watercolour version from kikki.K; it is laid out with three bullet points per page and a space to write the date.
I don’t recall now what prompted me to pick up my journal one day, but journaling my gratitude it something which swiftly became a daily habit of mine, and one which I have kept up with so far this year.
Habits are funny things, they shape our everyday and yet sometimes I feel like we don’t even think about them much. If you’ve always done ‘x,y and z’ in your morning routine, you are likely to keep going with those habits. But what if you changed them? Throw a little extra something in there?
We have a choice every day about what we do with our time, and our habits can positively impact our live in a huge way.
Keeping a Thankful Journal has had a much bigger impact on my life than I ever anticipated, and today I am sharing a handful of ways it has.
5 Ways Keeping A Thankful Journal Has Impacted My Life
It’s a moment for me
I love the habit of keeping a Thankful Journal so much, largely because I allocate a moment most mornings just for me.
I sit down with my journal before doing anything else in the day and take time to think about things in my life I am grateful for, and to write them down.
Not only is the practice of doing something paper-based, instead of looking at my phone, a much lovelier way to wake up my mind in the morning, it also encourages me to think back on things I am happy about, which in turn promotes a wonderful positive feeling each morning.
No matter what lies ahead in the day, you start out feeling peaceful and grateful which are two pretty lovely emotions to start your day off with.
It is so easy to march through days without having a pause for reflection. I used to have a terrible time with my memory, keeping a journal gives me the opportunity to reflect when I am writing things down. I also find that throughout the day I process things in a more enduring way.
I find myself now, taking stock of things whilst they happen, as well as pausing to think about them when I am writing them down.
You appreciate things
The main purpose of a Thankful Journal is relatively self-explanatory – you are writing down things you are grateful for. I have found that for me that appreciation can be a kick up the arse on days when I am feeling grumpy or ungrateful.
We are all guilty of taking things for granted, and if you are like me, you can get in to a funk some days. Recalling specific things I am grateful for makes me SO appreciative for even the smallest wins in life.
Often in fact, I find myself writing things in my journal which are so minute I wouldn’t have realised how grateful I am for them if I hadn’t taken a moment to think about them and appreciate it. My Mama is so great a recalling these little gifts as she has shared before here.
Some days I am just super grateful for a hot tea, a good night’s sleep or a working pen! There are always things to be grateful for, it just takes a little prompt to recall them.
It can help you through a difficult time
Sometimes life just deals you hard cards.
When we are going through trauma, a bad week at work or a tricky patch in a relationship, it can be hard to glean perspective. Keeping a record of my gratitude has helped me to pin point the little glitter spots in amongst the crap at times.
Sometimes I am just grateful for the fact that I am learning through an experience, no matter how rough it may feel at the time.
It is a memory keepsake for the future
I don’t often look back through my Thankful Journal but when I do I find it equal parts uplifting and hilarious.
The habit of keeping it is so ingrained in me now that I even journaled when I came home in the evening of my friend’s hen night. It was barely legible, and yes it made the other attendees laugh pretty hard when I read it to them in the morning.
I’m hoping to keep every Thankful Journal I fill. For me, writing a longer journal would be a much more ambitious task, yet a few lines a day keeping track of things which make me happy certainly makes me feel like it will be an awesome thing to keep and look back on in the years to come.
Plus it is nice to remember things you are happy about!
THINGS I AM GRATEFUL FOR RIGHT NOW
1- Keeping to a blog posting schedule, even when I am in the middle of a farm! We have been staying in Suffolk since last Wednesday, and I am glad that I have still kept to my work commitments here. It means a huge amount to me to connect with you on the blog, and recently I have been more determined than ever to keep to a posting schedule. I have found that in times when I have let a schedule fall to the wayside I often feel more stressed than relieved, and so now I am leaning in to the pockets of time I have, to pull together a post on the road. Or farm as it would happen.
2- Our friends’ stunning wedding at the weekend! Two of mine and Oli’s very best friends got married at the weekend and the whole occasion was just unreal. Seeing people you see near-daily exchange vows and enter a completely new chapter in their lives is just ALL kinds of awesome, and they kept their spirits high even when their marquee was submerged in water! True story! We all wore wellies and I think it made the wedding a hundred times more memorable and fantastic for it. Also, I am super happy that I get to take that beautiful little bouquet home ☝????!
3- Coffee. Oh yes, I am grateful for coffee right now.
4- A random date night with Oli last night. Oli and I didn’t anticipated getting a date night in whilst away for the wedding, but last night we somehow found ourselves on our own, and headed to dinner and then a movie at our rented house. It was SO lovely, and unexpected which made it all the more sweet for us.
5- The prospect of dinner with a great University friend this evening. Oli and I are just about to pack up and leave our lovely rented house, and this evening I am having dinner with a University friend. I am so looking forward to seeing her, and to catching up. Also, I’m quite excited to swap my wellies for heels at this point!
What do you guys think? Do you also keep a Thankful Journal, or are you thinking of doing so?
My prime writing time is first thing in the morning, if you are thinking of keeping a journal you can start by just grabbing any notebook and writing down bullet points for the day. If a journal doesn’t feel comfortable for you just yet, you can text a friend or loved one. I often text my Mum in the morning with things I am grateful for (I always include her!) and it is such a lovely way to reach out to someone you love.
I’d love to know your thoughts on this guys!
Love, Monica x