Health & happiness

Goodbye gratitude journal

A while back I wrote about how I started a gratitude journal, because every self-help book was telling me it was the best thing I could do for myself. I would be happier, more content with everything I already have and attract more of the same amazingness to me. Although I was excited at first, the results were not what I had hoped.

I don’t know how long you’re supposed to keep it up, but I can’t do it anymore. I started my gratitude journal just before the summer and I was really excited to start. So many promising outcomes – all wonderful and positive. I was mostly excited to fill a journal with positivity and realize everything I already have (and apparently wasn’t aware of). This could be anything – from your amazing friends and family to a good cup of coffee or a smooth drive home. So I began writing in my journal daily.

It got annoying

First: I don’t know if anyone feels this way too, but the things I am grateful for on Monday don’t differ too much from the things I’m grateful for on Tuesday, or Friday or any other day of the week. I am still grateful for my relationship, my siblings, my car, my job, my blog, etc. So the journal quickly became repetitive. And I wasn’t feeling it. Also: there are days when I don’t feel all that grateful. Of course, even on those days I am healthy with all my limbs, but I realized you really can’t force gratitude. Not on me anyway.

I am already pretty grateful

Second point: I don’t need a forced daily journal entry to feel grateful, because I already am. On most days I already felt grateful about all the stuff I was writing down at night when it happened. When I drove home and felt happy and accomplished after a good day at work, I felt grateful. When my sister did something awesome for me I felt grateful to have her. When my boyfriend and I drove to Barcelona last summer for my birthday I felt incredibly grateful for that too. But that’s not enough apparently: in all that joy I still needed to get my journal out at night and write it down. Reluctantly. After the joy had passed.

Goodbye gratitude journal

Writing in my gratitude journal felt like a task. I had to do it every night and I found it very annoying. I didn’t look forward to it, I resented it. And when I forgot it once or twice, I resented myself. There’s so much I ‘have’ to do every day already: brush teeth, shower, work out, work, eat healthy, blog, meditate, moisturize… I really didn’t need another thing on that list. Bye-bye gratitude journal.

I have to say I was a little disappointed in myself that I gave up on the gratitude journal. I felt a little better after reading ‘The Happiness Project’ where Gretchen Rubin writes that a gratitude journal wasn’t her thing. Well, if she gave up on it, I am not going to feel bad about giving up on mine. I did try, for a few months, but it just wasn’t for me. And I kind of liked the realization that I am grateful for a lot of things already, without writing them down. I don’t need a reminder. I know what I have.

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