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Welcome to Laurel and Iron - a lifestyle blog documenting my life and adventures in New England and beyond.

rituals: gratitude journaling

rituals: gratitude journaling

I started writing down my daily gratitudes about two years ago when life gave me a bit of a lemon and I was hurting badly. My world became dark and scary. I didn’t trust anyone. I didn’t seek joy because I didn’t believe it could possibly exist anymore. I railed at God. I asked what I had done to deserve this horrible fate.

Then I decided I didn’t want to live this way anymore. I had to find away to focus on the good in life. I learned to accept the bad but choose to relish in the good. I read a lot of self-help type books and blog posts and articles. I listen to podcasts about higher vibrations, rising above, and sending out into the universe what you want to receive. Through all of this self-discovery work, one theme appeared over and over and over. Be grateful. Invite more goodness into your life by thanking the Universe for all that you already have.

Yeah, it sounds a little hokey. But…when you’re in a dark place, what do you really have to lose? That’s how I felt and so, I tried. And so, things changed.

If you’re struggling with something in life, finding even three things you’re grateful for can be hard. Really, really hard. Trust me, I get it. This practice can be painfully uncomfortable at times but, it can also be incredibly healing.

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What is gratitude journaling, anyways?

Well, for me, it’s taking 3-5 minutes a day to reflect on all of the blessings in my life. On hard days, these can be small things, like the company of my dog, the roof over my head, and coffee. On good days, it can be bigger things like my gorgeous nieces, my education, and the opportunity to live in a city I love so dearly.

It’s a meditative, private moment at the end of the day that grounds my existence. Sometimes, I can only force myself to write down one thing I’m grateful for. Sometimes, I can fill a whole page. Either way, it sets a tone for perception and attitude. It helps bring me into state of openness. When we are open to goodness, we can find goodness.

Who should develop a gratitude habit?

Everyone! Being thankful for the gifts we receive from the abundant universe is a practice for everybody. Especially, the skeptics.

Where should you practice gratitude?

Ideally, in a safe, sacred space that you reserve for peaceful recollection. Maybe it’s your car, parked in your driveway at the end of a workday. Maybe it’s your bed. Maybe your home office. You get the idea. A place where you can be alone or undisturbed for just a few minutes.

When should you practice gratitude?

Daily. Even when it’s hard. Even when it hurts. Even when it feels like the world is against you and your heart is broken. You can set aside the time in the morning, before you head out to conquer your to-do list. Or maybe at night when you’re winding down for sleep. Find a moment in your day to dedicate to your relationship with yourself and the Universe. Make it a part of your self-care routine.

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Why should you practice gratitude journaling?

Because being grateful is a choice. Choosing to be grateful, aligns you with your higher purpose. It’s okay if focusing on your blessings and gifts doesn’t come naturally to you. It certainly didn’t come naturally to me. The conscious effort to bring the good things in our life to the forefront requires practice and training but the results can be life changing.

So, how do you do it?

There are no rules. You can simply recite 3 things in your life you are grateful out loud or silently. You can write them down in a dedicated notebook. You can download an app for your phone and set reminders to open it daily.

You can find gratitude journaling prompts online. You can make your own. You can write lengthy entries or single words. It’s up to you. It’s your practice. Just be open. Be aware. Be present. Be grateful. It’a really not about the how. It’s simply the act of doing.

Do you practice gratitude?

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