Too many people are caught in the vicious and non-productive cycle of “Woe is me.” These types of individuals always find a way to shift blame, make excuses, or point out what is missing in their lives. They tend to look for the negative in every situation. Instead of expecting a positive outcome, they always expect the negative to occur and will make everyone aware of it.
People caught in this vicious and non-productive cycle drain the energy from friends, family, and co-workers. They are the opposite of inspiration, the opposite of innovation, and the opposite of what is required to affect positive change on a world filled with cynicism and negativity. At JournalOwl, we believe that a shift in perspective, as simple as it sounds, can have a profound impact on the quality of your life. The most powerful tool in this world is your brain. The problem is that we live in a largely cynical society and we often become a byproduct of the negativity. Focusing your attention on the good in every situation takes more energy and discipline. But how do you build the discipline to focus on what you are grateful for, rather than the problems that continue to nag you? And what benefit will this bring to your life in terms of tangible results? Let us explain gratitude journaling.
Reflecting on gratitude is a powerful method to re-directing your attention to positive aspects of your life. In simple terms, starting and maintaining a gratitude journal has been shown to:
- Improve Sleep by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the opposite of our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight). Your sleep quality, duration, and ability to fall asleep quickly will incrementally improve as you get deeper into gratitude journaling.
- Lower stress and anxiety by re-directing your focus on the positive events of the day. Even if you were fired from your job, or lost a big contract, their must always be a silver lining to the situation. It’s your job to find the positive in every negative. Gratitude journaling forces you to explore the positive, rather than dwelling on the negative.
- Improve relationships by cultivating the ability to empathize with other human beings. By showing gratitude in your journal for the wonderful things that your wife did for you yesterday, it creates an aurora of positivity when you engage in communication with her. Instead of your mind anchoring onto her flaws, you have trained your yourself to focus on her positive traits.
- Help prioritize your time by showing you what really matters in life. Don’t waste your life or time majoring in the minor things. Expressing gratitude helps crystallize what areas of your life are actually worth cultivating and growing. It allows you to discard the minor things.
“I was complaining that I had no shoes till I met a man who had no feet.”
At JournalOwl, we believe wholeheartedly in the concept of journal prompting. A key component of our 21-day challenges is journal prompting. Our approach helps to laser focus your attention on a specific area of your life. For instance, let’s say you’re having relationship problems with your brother. He’s a difficult individual who constantly brings out the negative in every situation. Speaking to him is mentally draining, but he’s your brother and avoiding him is the last thing you would do. In a situation like this, we would recommend our do-it-yourself 21-day challenge where you fully think through your past, current, and future relationship with your brother. For instance, you could use the following prompts for the 1st week of the 21-day challenge:
- What is your first positive memory of your brother? Describe this experience in detail.
- What song do you remember listening to with your brother with a smile on your face? What do you feel when you hear that song on the radio today? Does it take you back in time?
- What positive advice has your brother given you at some point that impacted your life?
- How could you positively impact your brother? Brainstorm 5 different ways to make an immediate positive impact on his life.
- How has your brother positively impacted the world? Find 1 thing that he has done for an individual that could possibly have a ripple affect on others lives. Explore that area by writing about for 10 minutes.
“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”
— Willie Nelson
We encourage you to focus on the positive but do so in a guided and directed fashion. You can create your own challenges within JournalOwl to tackle strong emotions like resentment, lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. Our journal challenge wizard allows you to map out 21 days of gratitude on an area specific to your life. If you need help coming up with topics, just send us a note with your life situation and we’ll recommend 21 different journal prompts to get you started.
JournalOwl is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, medication, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptoms or conditions. JournalOwl is not authorized to make recommendations about medication or serve as a substitute for professional advice. You should never disregard professional psychological or medical advice, or delay in seeking treatment, based on anything you read on JournalOwl’s website or platform.