With the use of iPads, iPhones and computers dominating our lives, I’ve been pondering on the pros and cons of using electronic means to capture your Gratitude moments.
Firstly let me say that writing down what you’re Grateful for, no matter how you do it, is better than not thinking of it at all. Yes, running through it in your mind is better than focusing on the things that aren’t right in your life.
However, there are a few distinct advantages to actually writing things down the old-fashioned way:
- Writing in a journal, with nothing to distract you, means that you get fully absorbed in what you’re writing
- Writing on your laptop, iphone, ipad or android can get disrupted when you see a new message come in, or think about something you need to google or send an email. I don’t know about you, but it takes serious discipline not to flick across into another application whenever my mind goes blank on what I’m working on! We have got so used to multi-tasking that it’s all too easy to simply check facebook or email when we have a spare minute.
- The point of writing down what you’re grateful for is to get the feeling of Gratitude. If you sit in a quiet spot, with just a pen and your Attitude of Gratitude Journal, it’s easier to get into the mood.
- It’s very important to engage all your senses if you want the maximum benefit from the exercise: having a pen in your hand means your physical body is involved. Your mind is thinking of the things you’re grateful for. your eyes are seeing it written down, you are hearing yourself telling you what you’re grateful for.
- Use your sense of smell to find gratitude. For example: “I’m so happy and grateful for the fragrance of the white gardenias wafting in through my window” OR “I’m so happy and grateful for the fresh bread that is baking, the smell of which welcomes me at the front door!”
- Repetition is the key to changing behaviours. Repeating the statement “I’m so Happy and Grateful…” tells your subconscious mind that you are happy and grateful. Eventually it will start to believe you are happy and grateful and find more things for you to be happy and grateful for.
- Having a dedicated Gratitude Journal provides a great snapshot of your life when you want to review it. When I go back and look at some of my entries, I can remember exactly what happened that day. It’s like a diary, but only with the positive bits!
- The Attitude of Gratitude journal is exclusively for things you’re happy and grateful about. This is not the place to write to-do lists or who-did-what-wrong. It’s really important to keep the tone positive and in a grateful spirit. The point of this exercise is to train your mind to filter in all things good. (Not sure if the grammar is 100% correct there, but I’m sure you get my drift?)
- Cut out the noise. There is plenty of ‘noise’ in the electronic arena. How many apps do you have on your iphone or ipad? I’ve got well over 150. Not all of these are mine, I might add, I seem to have got everything from banking apps to Makeup Touch, Dress up Makeover and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. How many of these apps do you actually use on a regular basis?
- When you start writing your Gratitude list, you may find the first few things fairly easy. They may go something like this: “I’m so happy and Grateful for my family; I’m so happy and grateful for my children (or not); I’m so happy and grateful for the food I had for dinner” But then you hit a blank and think What else?. If you only have access to your Attitude of Gratitude journal then you can sit and contemplate and more things will come to mind. If you’re trying to do this on a laptop or ipad, it’s much easier to do something else “while you’re thinking”. Let me be the one to break the bad news to you here: you STOP thinking when you do something else. It will be hours later that you get back to your Gratitude list and try to complete it. Unless you’re extremely self-disciplined and NEVER get distracted, don’t put yourself through this!
- The Gratitude journal works whether you have electricity or internet access, or not! You can write in your Gratitude journal by candlelight. You can write in your Gratitude journal when your plane is taking off, no-one tells you to turn your pen off! You can write in it sitting in the sun, at the beach, or on the ski-slopes. OK, perhaps sitting on the ski-slopes may be a bit chilly, but I’m sure you’ll be grateful for the warm fire that awaits you when you get back to your spot!
The whole point of writing a Gratitude journal is to get into the feeling (or vibration) of being positive and thankful. By having a dedicated journal for this very exercise makes it so much easier to truly benefit. I may sound old-fashioned (heaven forbid) by talking about the benefits of writing it down by hand, but trust me, I’ve tried it both ways. The journal that you can take with you everywhere definitely wins.
Have fun writing in your Attitude of Gratitude journal. Here’s wishing you a happy and grateful 2013!