Transcription

The 90-Day Gratitude JournalA Mindful Practice for Lifetime of HappinessbyS.J. ScottBarrie Davenport

The 90-Day Gratitude Journal Copyright 2018by Oldtown Publishing LLCISBN-978-1-946159-15-1All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any formwithout permission in writing from the author. Reviewers may quote briefpassages in reviews.DisclaimerNo part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any formor by any means, mechanical or electronic, including photocopying orrecording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, or transmitted by email without permission in writing from the publisher.While all attempts have been made to verify the information providedin this publication, neither the author nor the publisher assumes any responsibility for errors, omissions, or contrary interpretations of the subject matter herein.This book is for entertainment purposes only. The views expressed arethose of the author alone, and should not be taken as expert instructionor commands. e reader is responsible for his or her own actions.Adherence to all applicable laws and regulations, including international, federal, state, and local governing professional licensing, businesspractices, advertising, and all other aspects of doing business in the US,Canada, or any other jurisdiction is the sole responsibility of the purchaser or reader.Neither the author nor the publisher assumes any responsibility or liability whatsoever on the behalf of the purchaser or reader of these materials.Any perceived slight of any individual or organization is purely unintentional.

Why the World Needs More GratitudeDo you often feel surrounded by negativity?Every day, we are bombarded by bad news, politicaldiscord, and catastrophic world events.If those weren’t enough, our inboxes and social mediafeeds are cluttered with updates on the newest diseasethat will kill us, advertisements for products we shouldbuy to feel happy, and all the reasons we aren’t attractive, wealthy, or successful enough.We constantly deal with negativity, yet we are weirdly addicted to the information that is feeding our innerangst and unhappiness.But if you turned off the television, shut down your phone,and closed the lid on your computer, life wouldn’t seemso bad, would it?You have most of what you need and a lot of what youwant in life. There are good things happening all aroundyou. People love you. There’s food on the table. Youhave a bed to sleep in and a roof over your head.1

The antidote to our unhappiness isn’t the newest thing,the latest diet fad, or the next achievement.The antidote is gratitude.Gratitude for what you have right now. Gratitude for thepeople in your life. Gratitude for all good things that areavailable to you in this moment.Being grateful isn’t an idea you stick on a Post-It notefor a quick shot of feel-good. There’s a reason (manyreasons, in fact) why you are hearing it touted so much.Gratitude can transform you. It can pull you from thevortex of negativity that is sucking the life out of you,and give you a renewed sense of purpose and joy.And the simplest way to practice gratitude is to turn itinto a daily habit—specifically through the book you’reholding right now: The 90-Day Gratitude Journal: AMindful Practice for Lifetime of Happiness.The 90-Day Gratitude Journal is your personal tool forinjecting a dose of positivity into your day. You can use itto focus your attention on what is going right in your lifeinstead of focusing on everything that’s going wrong.2

You can use it to pause for a few minutes every day andtruly appreciate all that you have.If you make the commitment to complete the entirejournal, you’ll have a diary of all the wonderful thingsthat you can be thankful for. Whenever you feel frustrated or anxious, you can review this journal and recognizethat life is pretty good.Okay, are you ready to dive in?Let’s talk about the nine benefits of practicing gratitude.3

9 Benef its of Practicing GratitudeStill unsure about how gratitude can help you? Here arenine ways that gratitude will lead to improvements inboth your psychological and physical well-being.#1. Gratitude increases your happiness.When you regularly practice gratitude, you’ll start to notice that you’re surround by an abundance of positivity.These are the things that you may have taken for granted in the past. But when you learn to truly appreciatethem, your levels of happiness will increase.This increase in happiness has been supported by twostudies.First, according to an article in the Harvard HealthyNewsletter [1], which outlines research on the topic,“Gratitude is strongly and consistently associated withgreater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel morepositive emotions, relish good experiences, improvetheir health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”Also, Martin Seligman and his team performed a study[2] where they asked participants to write down “threegood things” that occurred during their day, with an ex4

planation of why each item was personally important.After completing this exercise for a week, the participants reported more happiness (and less depression) atthe one-month, three-month, and six-month follow-upsessions.In short, gratitude makes you happier because you develop an appreciation for everything positive in your lifeinstead of taking it for granted.#2. Gratitude improves your mental health.If you’re tired of feeling anxious, dissatisfied, frustrated,and depressed, then gratitude can be the key to reducing stress and depression.In her book The How of Happiness [3], researcher andpsychologist Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky states, “Gratitude isan antidote to negative emotions, a neutralizer of envy,hostility, worry, and irritation. It is savoring; it is not takingthings for granted; it is present oriented.”#3. Gratitude helps you savor positive experiences.We all have our favorite memories. Maybe they includemeeting your spouse or partner, seeing the birth ofyour child (or children), celebrating big milestones orachievements, or taking the vacation of a lifetime.5

Unfortunately,oncethoseexperienceshavecome and gone, we rarely take the time to thinkabout how amazing they were. Even when goodthings happen, we are often so distracted thatwe don’t fully experience the joy of that moment.By being engaged in the present moment, you will gainappreciation from every experience. Just remindingyourself to stop and feel grateful gives you a boost andenhances the richness of the occasion.#4. Gratitude helps you cope with major lifechallenges.Trauma, stress, and negative life events can have thecounterintuitive effect of making us feel more grateful.In his book Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can MakeYou Happier [4], Dr. Robert Emmon found that in thedays after the 9/11 attacks in the U.S., gratitude was thesecond most commonly felt emotion after sympathy.According to Emmon, “People might have felt gratefulto be alive or to know that their loved ones were safe.”All the positive things in our lives come into sharp focus when something tragic happens to us or around us.When we deal with stress or adversity, gratitude helpsus cope and process our emotions in a healthy way.6

By focusing on the positive aspects of our lives ratherthan allowing ourselves to be overwhelmed by negative events, we feel more in control and optimistic aboutour situation.#5. Gratitude fosters resilience.When you are grateful for what you have, you are better able to overcome negative events in your life. Youdon’t view your life as a “glass half empty,” but rather yourecognize that despite bad things happening, you willsurvive, and even thrive.In fact, gratefulness was shown to be a critical factorin preventing post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans after the Vietnam War, and following the terroristattacks on 9/11.With the practice of gratitude, you build your inner coping muscle, allowing you to manage life’s difficultieswith less emotional trauma.#6. Gratitude boosts your self-esteem.Practicing gratitude allows you to reflect on yourachievements, the important people in your life, andthe blessings you encounter every day. By focusing onthese things, you’re able to see how much you havedone to make good things happen.7

Your hard work has resulted in the house you live in andthe material things you own.Your love, devotion, and presence have helped build astrong and secure family.Your efforts in school and past jobs have landed you inthis career.Expressing gratitude for all your own skills, interests,and achievements will boost your feelings of self-worth.#7. Gratitude fosters empathy.Gratitude inspires you to be less materialistic and moreinclined to help others. As you focus on your own blessings, you become keenly aware of what other peopledon’t have.When you feel grateful for easy access to food and water, you might be inspired to help someone who doesn’t.As you express gratefulness for your wonderful friendships, you might decide to reach out to someone whois lonely.The practice of gratitude has a spillover effect, makingyou more aware of the feelings and suffering of otherslong after you practice it. You become a more compassionate person in general.8

#8. Gratitude gives you a better night’s sleep.Do you often lie in bed wide-eyed, worrying about yourproblems? If so, a simple way to remove your anxietiesis to practice gratitude before bedtime.In fact, one study [5] found that gratitude journaling before bed can reduce worry and pessimism, helping yourelax and fall asleep faster. Some study participants reported getting longer, more refreshing sleep as well.#9. Gratitude strengthens relationships.Do you want a happier, stronger marriage? Focus onyour partner’s good qualities and the positive aspectsof your relationship, rather than dwelling on what’smissing. Do you want closer friendships? Let your friendsknow how much you appreciate them, and howgrateful you are to have them as friends. Do you want more success at work? Tell your bossand coworkers how thankful you are for their support and hard work. You don’t even need to tell people you’re grateful(although it’s a nice thing to do) in order to benefit.Just feeling gratitude for these people will improveyour relationships with them.9

Gratitude strengthens feelings of intimacy and connectedness with others. The closer you feel with theimportant people in your life, the more you will discoverand enjoy about them—which in turn gives you more tofeel grateful about.Having close, satisfying relationships is a huge factor inlifelong happiness and health.As you can see, you’ll enjoy many benefits by regularlypracticing gratitude. Now let’s talk about how to incorporate this habit into your busy schedule.10

11

How to Buildthe Gratitude Journaling HabitIt’s not hard to create the gratitude journaling habit. Allyou have to do is schedule this activity and use simplehabit-building strategies to make sure you never missa day.Both authors (Steve “S.J.” Scott & Barrie Davenport) talkextensively about creating habits on their websites, butfor now, here’s an overview of the simple seven-stepprocess.Step #1: Focus on Building Just the Gratitude HabitOne common mistake is trying to build multiple habitsat the same time. This problem relates to “ego depletion,” which is a person’s “diminished capacity to regulate their thoughts, feelings, and actions,” accordingto the book Willpower, by Roy F. Baumeister and JohnTierney [6].Our willpower is like a muscle. It weakens throughoutthe day because of constant use. You use your willpower when you make dozens of decisions each day. Youuse your willpower to concentrate at work. You use willpower to resist eating junk food. And you use willpower12

to resist lashing out at others when you’re tired from along day of work.Because of ego depletion, your ability to form new habits is limited since there are only so many “new” thingsyour willpower can handle at once. To keep things easy,we strongly recommend that you work on building justthe gratitude practice for the next month, increasing thelikelihood that you’ll make this habit stick!Step #2: Commit to Thirty (or More) Daysof GratitudeGratitude will help you gain a new appreciation for life.But this doesn’t mean it will be a simple or quick process. In fact, it might take you a few attempts to turnjournaling into permanent behavior.Some people say it takes twenty-one days to build ahabit, while others claim it takes up to sixty-six days.The truth is that the length of time varies from personto person and from habit to habit. You’ll find that somehabits are easy to build, while others require more effort.Our advice is to commit to gratitude for the next thirtydays at a minimum.We recommend that you schedule a daily block of timeof at least five to ten minutes to write in this journal.13

Step #3: Anchor Gratitude to an Established HabitPracticing gratitude shouldn’t be based upon motivation,fads, or temporary desire. Rather, it should be integratedin your life in a way that allows the behavior to becomeautomatic. To do this, you don’t need a series ofsophisticated steps—just a simple strategy you cancommit to, day in and day out, without fail.We suggest that you “anchor” the gratitude journaling practice to habits that you already do daily. Thesehabits should be automatic on your part—like eating,sleeping, or going to the bathroom. You wouldn’t forgetto complete any of these actions, so by attaching yourgratitude habit to one of them, you won’t forget to perform it.When anchoring, your goal is to practice gratitude before or after you complete one of these habits: Drinking your first cup of tea (or coffee) in themorning. When your alarm clock goes off. When you get into bed in the evening (you can alsocreate a visual cue by leaving this journal on yournightstand). Before or after you finish a specific meal (breakfast,lunch, or dinner).14

When you walk into

nine ways that gratitude will lead to improvements in both your psychological and physical well-being. #1. Gratitude increases your happiness. When you regularly practice gratitude, you’ll start to no - tice that you’re surround by an abundance of positivity. These are the things that you may have taken for grant - ed in the past. But when you learn to truly appreciate them, your levels of .