When I mention the phrase ‘gratitude journal’, what comes to mind? Do you subconsciously roll your eyes and go blah?
The conversation about gratitude can often elicit this response, but it doesn’t have to. You see, the process of expressing gratitude plays an important role in helping overcome the innate negativity bias of the brain.
Why is this important? Because by being able to notice more positivity in our lives and express our gratefulness for that positivity, we start to rewire the brain for a more positive outlook. In turn, this positively impacts on our physiology and health, as well as our ability to be more open, creative, and resourceful. It’s a foundational piece of the upward spiral towards a flourishing and meaningful life.
While journalling can be a very rewarding and insightful process, it’s not the only way when it comes to showing our gratitude for something or someone. If you’ve been wanting to improve your positive outlook and increase your happiness without having to journal, then I want to share with you three alternatives to keeping a daily journal.
Have Fun…in the moment!
When it comes to showing gratitude for someone, it doesn’t come more heartfelt than when you are intentionally present in the moment with that person. It could be actively listening to what the person is saying. It could be turning off your phone and spending time with the kids. It could be giving everything you’ve got when problem-solving with a colleague at work. When we are intentionally present in the moment, three things happen. Our anxiety about the past disappears, any worries about the future are forgotten, and we are able to have fun and enjoy the only moment that truly exists. This one. Right now.
Send a Surprise
Hopefully, you know what it’s like to receive something unexpected in the mail (besides the usuals bills and junk mail). It’s a great feeling when a nice surprise turns up and you realise that someone has taken the time and effort to send you a personal, physical message such as a card or gift, not just a five-second text message or Facebook post. Well, getting back to the old-fashioned post office and actually sending someone a physical expression of your gratitude for them and what they’ve done is a fun and creative way to bring happiness not just to your life, but theirs as well.
Get Back to Basics
In today’s hectic, fast-paced, overwhelming and over commercialised existence, it’s easy to lose track of who we are. Humans are social animals with a natural desire to connect and be of service to others. By getting back to basics in regards to expressing gratitude I’m talking about manners. The simple act of slowing down, saying thank you (and meaning it) to someone when they do, give, or help you with something, is one of the easiest but most impactful ways that you can express your gratitude. When was the last time you held someone’s hand, looked them in the eye, and said thank you?
So there you have it. Three simple ways to start wiring your brain for positivity via the simple act of expressing gratitude (and not a journal in sight). It doesn’t have to be hard or complicated. In fact, it’s better off if it isn’t. Why? Because you are more likely to repeat simpler, smaller things more often which starts to build this as a habit (but that’s a conversation for another day), and that’s a great thing!
Now it’s your turn. How can you put the above three ideas into action today and start being a positive ripple in this world for both yourself and those around you?
I would love to hear the successes you have and struggles you face when it comes to expressing your gratitude in the world. Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.