You’re sitting with your gratitude journal, pen in hand, staring at a blank page, ready to write… and nothing comes… You sit… You wait… Your Monkey Mind is screaming at you about all the stuff that’s bad or wrong in your life… And you can’t get anywhere near ‘gratitude’. You’ve got gratitude-stage-fright. What can you do? Here are seven quick and easy fixes to turn things around.
- It won’t last forever!
So you’ve got gratitude stage fright! My top advice? Don’t turn it into a big deal. It won’t last forever. Nothing does.
You can use this as an excuse to ‘give up’ on your gratitude journal – or not.
Either way, the world will still turn (most likely!).
So how about giving yourself a break, making a cup of tea and coming back to it later, when your mood has shifted?
- What’s the real problem?
Is there something else going on here? Is the problem gratitude? Or is it boredom? Or feeling fed up? Or some kind of fear? Or feeling grumpy?
Gently, but firmly, let go of the drama and then you’ll be able to see the “what’s really here”, in this present moment. Deal with that and your gratitude stage fright will disappear.
- Time for a review?
Let your gratitude journal work for you!
If you’re a million miles from gratitude just now, read back over past entries and let one of them grab your attention.
Dive into that entry – and let the feeling of gratitude it evoked in you return. Gently turn up the dial, re-experiencing the things you could see, hear and feel during that original situation. Let it wash through you and put a smile on your face.
Now are you ready to write?
- Turn the question back-to-front
Instead of looking for things to feel grateful for today, if you’re feeling stuck, how about turning the question around:
“What would I have missed today?”
Those are the events, people and things that you’re feeling grateful for. Write them down!
- Tap into some ancient wisdom
Here’s some ancient wisdom, to perhaps help you gain a fresh perspective:
Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful. – Buddha
Well? If you could start with one thing – one tiny, specific thing you can find gratitude for today, you will have take the first step on the path towards turning your mood around.
- Zoom in
One of the problems with a gratitude journal is that we can write about stuff that’s too ‘big’ – we can’t ‘connect’ with it. “I’m grateful for the progress we’re making towards world peace.” “I’m grateful for my life.” They’re pretty high-chunk statements – it is hard to get emotionally involved with them, or to touch them. It doesn’t mean they’re not valid. But if you want to get the most from your journal, it can really help to zoom in – to get specific.
So, instead of writing about being grateful for the progress being made towards world peace (for example!), ask yourself the question:
“What – specifically – about that do I feel grateful for?
And keep asking yourself the question, until you reach a level of specificity that connects with you, emotionally. Now write that down!
It’s absolutely fine to be writing at the ‘big chunk’ level, but you’ll find it much easier to weave a sense of gratitude into your every-day life, if you get down in the details every now and then. 🙂
- Ask your heart, not your head
Gratitude is not a cognitive exercise. It doesn’t come from your left-brained, logical thinking. It comes from your heart.
Gratitude isn’t a thought, it’s a feeling.
The whole point of a gratitude journal is to help you to connect with the frequency – the vibration – the feeling – of gratitude, to shift your experience of life.
You will never do that with just your head.
So if you spot yourself trying to rationalise and analyse as you write in your gratitude journal, give yourself a gentle reminder that this journey is to be led by your heart, not your head.
There you have it!
7 quick and easy fixes for gratitude journal stage fright.
I’m curious: do you have any suggestions of your own?
What normally gets in your way, if you’re stuck with your journal?
How has your gratitude journal impacted your life?
Please share – via the comments box below!
P.S. If you’d like to start a gratitude journal, but don’t have one yet, you might like to check out Gratitude: A Daily Journal – it’s the gratitude journal that my students asked me to write for them.
And if your gratitude practice could do with a kick start, then how about joining in with my online 7 Day Gratitude Kick Start Programme?
There’s no pressure! I just wanted to let you know that these resources are here to help you.