Do you think of gratitude practice as a method of self-care? Probably not, but you should! If you make practicing gratitude a habit, the chemistry of your body and brain will change. From these changes, you can expect various benefits to your physical health and emotional wellbeing.
One of the top ways to practice gratitude is by keeping a gratitude journal. While there are many techniques for doing so, we’ve created our Gratitude Journal with special templated pages designed by Rustico founder and CEO, Isaac Childs. Isaac has kept a gratitude journal for years; his style of journaling helped influence the content and layout of the pages in our new Gratitude Journal.
In the interview below, Isaac shares how practicing gratitude has given him focus and direction in his life.
How do you do your gratitude journaling?
When I first started writing in journals with the intention of expressing my gratitude, it was easy to rattle off a list of things, people, or events that I was grateful for or felt blessed me on a daily basis. Things like my car I drive, the food in the fridge that I eat, the place of work I go to. People were even easier—my wife, my kids, good friends, and mentors I look up to. Events were also very basic to begin with such as when we got that big sale, when we purchased our first home, or when my kids were born. These things were great, but after the initial few days or weeks, it became very routine and tough to write down even three things daily. It was as though I got used to the exercise and it didn't have the same effect on me as it did initially. When I started asking questions like why am I grateful for this food I am eating? What was it about the events of the day that caused me to feel gratitude? Who impacted me today and why was that significant? the struggle of finding meaningful things, moments, and people I was grateful for was gone and my entries started to really flow. One thing I noticed about my gratitude journal is that gratitude is really a three-step process:
- thinking about gratitude
- writing it down
- expressing it to others
How has this method of journaling changed your life?
One of the common themes I noticed from my daily entries is that often my struggles and challenges were providing the most impactful moments to be grateful for. It was as if the more struggles I faced, the more opportunity there was for gratitude. Thinking about it and writing about it daily helped profoundly to get me through the challenge and struggles I had at that time. Writing in my journal with the intent to show gratitude has helped me be more present and aware of the subtle impact events of the day can have on us. It has helped me to notice the efforts of others and not be so focused on myself. It has helped me to recognize the unseen benefits--even in the struggles I face daily--and has trained my mind to look for those first. It has helped me desire to express this gratefulness to others and has uplifted my mood and spirit when I acted in that regard.
Does gratitude provide guidance in your life?
When you truly practice gratitude daily, it becomes like a cairn on the side of a trail. There are times when you encounter a trail that’s worn or washed away, one that splits in a few different directions, or it all begins to look the same. In these moments, I am always happy when I find the small stacks of stones that are like stoic guides to keep me on the right track to my destination. The practice of gratitude is my way of finding those cairns daily. As the journey of our lives unfolds, there are moments where the trail can become faded or weathered away and we can lose our focus and direction, but we can still practice gratitude. For me, the daily practice of thinking, writing, and expressing gratitude acts like small stacks of stones on my journey. They ground me and give me guidance and confidence to move forward no matter where I’m at in the journey of life.
What reactions have you gotten when you expressed gratitude?
After starting a gratitude journal, I quickly felt the need to express my gratitude to others. One of the first things I thought of was to write and mail notes to everyone I was grateful for. I didn't realize at the time how daunting that goal really was compared to the ease of just sending a text or an email now. At first, it was so hard taking the time to find someone's address, write a meaningful note, and then mail it. It took me a full year of trying to do this before I really started writing these notes and sending them out. But when I did, I was utterly amazed at the reaction and the impact it created for those I sent notecards to. I received notes, letters, texts, and emails expressing gratitude back to me for the notes I sent. While this was not my intention at all, I couldn't help but feel so much love and thankfulness and desire to do more. By expressing gratitude, I have become happier, more confident, and recognize the good around me.
Experience the life-changing benefits of practicing gratitude with our specially designed Gratitude Journal. The templated pages will guide you through the process of recognizing the good, expressing appreciation, and reflecting on the outcome. We believe this will be a powerful journey and you will encounter lots of growth along the way!