It may seem trivial, but introducing a gratitude practice into your life is an amazing way to increase your overall happiness. While some brush this idea off as “pseudoscience,” it turns out the belief that positive or negative thoughts bring positive or negative experiences into a person's life is actually backed by… well, science.
A 2003 study from the University of California, Berkeley on how showing gratitude affects daily life revealed that participants who focused on what they were grateful for “exhibited heightened well-being” compared to those who focused on hassles or neutral experiences. The conclusion? “A conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits.” Basically, focus on the positive and you’ll attract the positive.
With this idea in mind, we created our collection of gratitude and mindfulness journals. The Nighttime Reflections journal is specifically tailored to gratitude journaling in the evening, inspiring you to think back on the events of the day and start manifesting positivity for tomorrow.
Consistency is key, and we recommend you use your Nighttime Reflections Journal every night. Portably small and lightweight, you can easily take it along with you while you travel and only need to spend about 5 minutes filling it out each day. Unassuming and non-intimidating, this journal offers the perfect entry into a daily mindfulness ritual.
To help guide you along, follow these steps to complete your journaling each night:
1. Acknowledge your good
Think back on the events from today and record one good thing you did. Try not to get caught up over-thinking this! This is the space for you to recognize yourself for accomplishments or altruistic deeds.
- Today, I finally finished a big project at work that I started months ago!
- I finally took the time to vacuum under my bed.
- I cooked a colorful healthy dinner! I forgot how much I love asparagus.
- I put food and water out for the cats in my neighborhood, and the tabby finally let me touch her.
- While I was running an errand, I held open the door for a stranger.
We are all far too hard on ourselves, and taking the time to acknowledge self-love is an amazing way to add self-care into your daily routine.
2. Record today's positive, and how it made you feel
Write about something nice that happened to you today, and describe how it made you feel. Again, don't feel overwhelmed trying to think of something big or earth-shattering; it's the little things that make life truly magical.
Was the weather gorgeous? Did you hear your favorite song on the radio on your morning commute? Did a coworker compliment your outfit? Trace your steps throughout the day, and pick your favorite highlight.
As you think about the words to describe how you felt in that moment, take a minute to really reflect. Close your eyes, breathe deep and put yourself back in there, slowly considering the thoughts and feelings that surround your gratitude.
3. Manifest a great day for tomorrow
Take a moment to think about what you can do to ensure tomorrow is a good day. So much of life is out of our hands, but when it comes down to it, the power is in how you choose to approach each day. Are you already excited about something happening tomorrow? Is there something you can plan that will set everything off on the right foot?
Try thinking about what you can do to help others. Thinking outside of yourself and spreading kindness and joy to the people around you is one of the best possible ways to allow yourself to also experience happiness. You don't have to save the whole world - start with buying the person behind you in line a coffee, and go from there.
4. List tonight's rituals
Choose the three rituals you will be, or have already tackled tonight. These practices should be all about self-care, focusing on activities that will bring your day to a close with positivity and joy.
- Try a guided meditation, like this End-of-Day Meditation with Deepak Chopra.
- Add in a work-out or stretching routine, as high or low impact as you choose.
- Read a chapter of a great book.
- Take your dog for a longer-than-usual bedtime walk, stopping at a nearby park that you usually forget to visit.
- Treat yourself to a relaxing beauty treatment like a charcoal mask or epsom salt bath.
There are so many tiny routines that help you end your day on a beautiful note. All you have to do is carve out the time and make the effort to actually commit to them!
5. Set your sleep goals
Last, set a goal for tonight's sleep schedule. And hold yourself to it! You'll thank yourself tomorrow morning.
Think about your sleep patterns. Did you feel well rested today? Was the amount of sleep you received enough, or do you wish you'd gone to bed earlier? It seems silly to even point out that the earlier you go to sleep, the easier it will be to wake up early. But it's true! Phasing out distractions and screen time before you get in bed will also enable you to go to sleep more quickly and sleep more soundly.
The most important tip, though? Just start! Sometimes beginning a new practice is the hardest part. So rather than putting it off any longer, pick up your Nighttime Reflections Journal now and start writing. You’ll be grateful you did.
Follow and share your gratitude practice with us on Instagram at @printfresh - we'd love to hear how you use your mindfulness journal!