With all the daily challenges we face, and all the things going wrong you’re subjected to in social media, the news, and whatever digital media you so choose, it’s easy to get lost in all the negativity. Luckily, there may be a tool that can help you with that, it’s called a gratitude log and you can easily incorporate it to your bullet journal.
What is a bullet journal gratitude log? A gratitude log is a tool or practice that allows one to list down and focus on all that they are thankful for. Combined with the benefits of a bullet journal, it allows one to become more mindful and positive, helping them become more productive and reduce anxiety and stress.
I wanted to learn more about this tool and start one, but I didn’t know where to start. Like always the best place to start is the fundamentals. I went around the web, compiling useful information for beginners and placed it all here. If you’re interested, this might be of use to you.
Get To Know The Gratitude Log
A quick search of bullet journal gratitude logs netted me a sizable amount of picture perfect spreads that are beyond pinterest and instagram worthy.
All those colorful spreads, and meticulously crafted works of art are beautiful. Unfortunately, I know that I can almost never recreate a spread like that if I didn’t have at least a year to work on one.
It’s just not happening, and that’s okay.
All I really want is to make one, a simple one that’s perfect for me and one that will work for me. I don’t plan on showing mine anyway. There won’t be an instagram post, or a pinterest picture that will have my particular gratitude log on it.
If you’re on the same boat, then we’ve got something in common, and what you’ll get here might be of some use to you.
Basically, a gratitude log is a list where you can write down all that you are grateful for.
No list is the same and each is dependent upon the user.
Starting out from a field of psychology called positive psychology, the gratitude log has been studied for quite some time now.
It’s led to so many conclusions and results, that there are different schools of thought that are involved in gratitude journaling.
It’s not hard to understand why so many people need this. There’s a lot going on in the world, both in your life and outside it, that it often results in negative emotions and thoughts.
Couple that with digital media, incessantly battering you with negative news and events, then it makes for a really toxic environment.
That’s where the pen and paper comes in handy.
Doing a gratitude log will let you disconnect and focus on yourself. It’s a great tool for self-care.
Combine all those benefits with a bullet journal, then you’ll be able to reap the benefits of both.
For those that don’t know what a bullet journal is, it’s basically a planner system that prioritizes productivity and mindfulness. Its system is flexible in that you can choose what components go into your notebook.
You’re free to mix and match the parts.
This freedom and flexibility, as well as its analog nature, has resonated with many people, resulting in a bujo community.
Bujo is the shortcut for bullet journal.
The bujo community is actually where I found out about this a while back. I haven’t really tried it, but a lot of people swear by it, and it can’t hurt to try out.
Here are some interesting thoughts from reddit and instagram about the gratitude log or journal:
Here’s another one from Instagram:
View this post on Instagram
•GRATITUDE LOG•⠀⠀ I always try to find something I am grateful for, to see how beautiful life is. What are you most grateful for today? For me it’s definitely the Vedic Meditation course I’ve just finished. 🙏🏼 •⠀⠀ •⠀⠀ Check my Youtube channel to see how I created those spreads. Link in bio! ⠀⠀ •⠀⠀ Supplies used:⠀⠀ @scribblesthatmatter Pink Pro – A5 Dotted Journal⠀⠀ @zebrapen_usa mildliner 0.2⠀⠀ @staedtler fine liner 0.3 and 0.5⠀⠀ •⠀⠀ •⠀⠀ #maybujo #maybulletjournal #alice #aliceinwonderland #aliceinwonderlandtattoo #madhatterteaparty #disneyfood #vedicmeditation #teapartytheme #pinkbulletjournal #bujo2019 #coverpage #gratitudelog #minimalbujo #bujobrilliancy #alicenelpaesedellemeraviglie #aliciaenelpaisdelasmaravillas #bulletjournalist #bujodaily #dailyspread #fudenosuke #tombow #disneybujo #brushcalligraphy #bujoaddicts #bujosetup #bujodaily #bulletjournalss #showmeyourplanner #bulletjournalcommunity
The Benefits Of A Gratitude Log
As I have mentioned, the gratitude log was part of studies conducted in the field of psychology called positive psychology.
You might be surprised, but the studies have yielded so many positive benefits for anyone making practicing this exercise. A few of the benefits are:
- More energy
- Better sleep
- Greater connection to others
- Lessened symptoms of depression
- Improved self-esteem
- Reduced materialism
According to the study, adults who engaged in the practice of gratitude logging displayed more energy overall.
This isn’t surprising at all. You know those days when you’re minds just heavy with all those negative thoughts and emotions? It stirs up your anxieties, making each and every little thing harder to do.
When you do gratitude logs, it takes your mind off those things, letting you focus on lighter thoughts and you don’t expend as much mental energy on things that don’t really matter.
I’m going to be honest with you. When I found out this was one of the benefits, I got to work on researching right away. I mean, who wouldn’t want this?
You know how when you were a kid and couldn’t stand nap time at all? Yeah, I’m the complete opposite now.
It makes sense too. This practice would help me focus less on anxieties and just be thankful for where I am. After all, when we’re laying down the bed at night, most of what goes through our minds are those negative things that we can’t really do anything about now.
Couple that with the small things that happened 2 or 3 years ago that were just so embarrassing, and you’d have a full night.
When you have it in your mind what to truly be grateful for, those things just seem so small.
I would suggest using this practice in tandem with brain dumping. You could check out our how to here.
Greater Connection To Others
The best thing with this topic was that it was tested on children as well. Can you imagine having your kids or the next generation with a tool like this?
It would do wonders, not just for them but society in general.
I think I get this too. After all, when you’re in a more positive state, you feel better about yourself. When you feel good about yourself, it’s easier to transmit that to others.
It’s simple really, but having a positive mind set just changes your perspective for the better all around.
This practice has led to better relationships all around, especially for significant others, parents, and family… so you might want to recommend it to your wife or husband.
Lessened Symptoms Of Depression
This one would come in handy right now. Given the number of those who are suffering from this condition, any help would be greatly impactful.
Now, you have to understand, while this exercise has been used as therapy by some for their depression, it does not completely take it away.
For that, you need a lot more, but this would still go a long way.
I understand why this would help too.
This also plays into the positive mindset the exercise brings.
When your head’s full of those negative thoughts it’s just so easy to listen to and drown in it. You fixate on the smallest negative thing and magnify it until it consumes you.
The worse thing is, once you’re there, it’s so hard to dig yourself back out.
This exercise is a way to snap you back out of it. It’s a way to force yourself to think of the good things and write it down, helping you retain it in your thoughts.
This one isn’t surprising at all.
When you’re thankful for what you have, all the other stuff that aren’t yours just seem less desirable.
It’s a good exercise for everyone, especially minimalists, who are trying to reduce their spending.
Pro tip: Maybe do this during a sale season, or when you see a really nice big screen TV.
While these are just some of the benefits from doing the gratitude log, you might want to check these out. They outline more of the benefits being in a grateful mindset brings.
How To Make A Gratitude Log For Your Bullet Journal
While each gratitude log is different, it’s important to know the basics and if it’s your first time, the basics are always the best place to start.
Here are the steps to making a gratitude now:
- Make some time for this practice
- Grab a clean pen and paper
- Focus on the positives and write them down
- Review what you’ve written and let it sink in
This is a very simple exercise, but you do have to give it the respect it needs to work properly.
I know it can be silly, or a little cheesy to do this if you aren’t used to it, but remember this has been proven to work for a vast majority of the test subjects.
So remember, make sure you make some time for yourself. Alone time. This is so you can focus solely on yourself and what you are truly grateful for.
It’s important to help yourself during this process as well, hence the clean piece of paper and good pen. Don’t just grab some used paper and start writing down your thoughts, that won’t let you immerse yourself in the practice.
Once you get going and write down the things you are thankful for, remember to just take some time and appreciate them.
The things on your list are what makes you happy now. They are continuously changing, and that’s fine. As long as you take some time to find and recognize them, you will always have a reason to be happy.
Incorporating It Into Your Bullet Journal
The step for incorporating it into your bullet journal is the same with any other collection:
- Find a blank spread on your notebook. This can be 1 or 2 blank pages.
- Number and label the page.
- Log it on your index right away. Make this a habit.
- Follow the steps above for making your own gratitude log
And that’s it!
Both processes are quite simple and take little time.
Incorporating the gratitude log into your bullet journal is a pretty common thing in the bujo community. And it makes sense.
Both are very flexible, unique to the individual, and encourages mindfulness and productivity. Their analog natures compliment each other, and allows the user to disconnect from a screen, giving them time for themselves.
Here’s a good video on Gratitude Logs. While it’s talking about a full blown gratitude journal, the concepts are still applicable to the bullet journal gratitude log.
Tips For Your Gratitude Log
- Use Prompts
- Have fun with it
- When you should make one
As with anything, practice makes perfect. You can’t expect to try it once and be an expert.
Even with this exercise, you have to allow yourself to grow and adapt to it.
This will make it easier for when you make a mistake while doing it, or when you hesitate writing a thought down that might be important.
Remember, give it the time and the respect it deserves if you really want it to help you.
When you’re getting started, you probably don’t know where to start. For that, I suggest using prompts.
You can look to the Bullet Journal Community for some goods ones. You can also google some or check instagram for good ideas.
The important thing to remember is write down what personally matters to you.
Have Fun With It
When you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed, it’s easy to focus on that even when you’re doing this.
Try injecting something fun into it, like jotting down a joke you heard, doodling an idea, or even dance around the room while you’re collecting your thoughts.
Taking this too seriously will just defeat its purpose.
When You Should Make One
Another important question people ask is: “When do you make a gratitude log?”
The answer varies from person to person. Some in the bujo community does is daily, some do it weekly, or monthly.
For some they only really do it when they need to.
On a side note, the study carried out also yielded two different schools of thought.
One side said that doing it too often may desensitize you from all the effects it would normally have, the otherside insists on doing it everyday.
To me, they are all correct.
As this is a personal thing, you always have to do what works for you, and not them. It’s called self-care, so focus on the self part of that.
Now that we’ve got all the benefits, the background, as well as the tips, will you make one?
Personally, I think I will do it eventually. The prospect of having better sleep still entices me.
I suggest that you try this, along with the brain dump.
Both go well with each other, as well as the bullet journal.
Personally, I find myself doing more brain dumps recently. This just might make it a more fruitful experience.
I’ll leave some creative examples of the gratitude log below. Hope you get some ideas from it!