Gratitude Journaling

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Well, it’s time to start blogging. My goal with blogging is not to pontificate so much as to direct people to coping options. The option today is a gratitude journal.  The idea behind a gratitude journal is to change the negative perspective by using the crow bar of gratitude and helping a person see that there is more beyond the obvious negatives. The gratitude journal is more than that though. It is a way to change your body chemistry. When you stay with it long enough, the your attention sends different signals to your brain. This starts changing which chemicals are flowing in the body. It’s not as fast as exercise or intense breathing or music, but it could certainly could work along with other techniques. Another level of use with a gratitude journal is to review it. Especially on the days when (another Norma-ism) Super Martyrdom has taken hold, it can prove that “nothing ever goes right, nothing ever goes right for me, every one is against me” mindset. It can remind you that you have positives in your life. It can remind you that you are making progress. It can help you step back and see the bigger picture.  So, the challenge is to pick a length of time and do the journal. Write the way you feel, the issues and your prognosis (expected outcome if things go the way they’ve been going) and then write down things you are grateful for daily. Daily.  Then review it regularly and look at page one at the end of your length of time. Now, 3 days may not be enough time to make a ton of change, but 3 months can be surprising.  Now, daily is best, but if you don’t get to it daily, nudge yourself lovingly back to it when you remember and keep going for that length of time – weeks, months that you picked. See if it makes a difference. Some changes will be subtle like you aren’t judging people as much and some changes will be dramatic, like inner peace.  Have fun with this because this one cannot hurt you. Unless you get a freak paper cut (and who says the journal has to be on paper) there are no negative side effects!

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Norma J. Vaillette MA LMHC
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