|I hope your Thanksgiving was fun, filled with people you love accompanied by delicious food. Mine was and I’m very grateful for enjoying those sweet times. I’m also very grateful to you, LifeJournal customers and friends, for making my life deeper, fuller, and more meaningful. Thanks for being part of the growing LifeJournal community. As a way to thank you I have two gifts that I’d like to offer:
Read below about three terrific journaling classes that starts in just a few weeks. Enjoy the article below titled “Cultivating a Mindset of Gratitude Using Your Journal” and make the feeling of Thanksgiving last all year long.
Wishing you joy and peace during the holiday season and beyond!
Enroll in a Journaling Class: Give Yourself a Gift of Writing Your Life
You are the author of your life. Journal writing is an incisive tool to learn about yourself and make changes—to author your life. A journaling class is an excellent way to get you started moving in the right direction. With the end of the year upon us and the beginning of the next moving closer every day, momentum is high. The new year is the ideal time to give your journal writing—and, hence, your life– a push in the right direction. Now is the time to honor that commitment to yourself; to make this year the best one yet; to gain traction on making change; to find out who is and work with the authentic you.
Learn from the top experts in the world of journaling with these three exciting classes which begin soon after the holidays, during the month of January. Click on the links to learn more about each of the classes.
Mark Matousek’s Spiritual Journaling—This class is packed with stunning perspectives, break-through writing exercises which help you to discover new ways to view your life, and helps you explore below the surface of everyday existence of your life to something deeper and more meaningful. Mark is a fabulous teacher, very responsive and works with you from exactly where are you.
Beth Jacobs’ Writing for Emotional Balance—This class is one-of-a-kind! Psychologist Beth Jacobs has 25 years of experience working with people’s emotions and researching brain functionality. In this outstanding class she combines scientific knowledge of how the brain works and applies that to writing exercises to help you successfully manage your emotions. If emotions are a recurring issue in your life—if they either can overwhelm your life, or if you can’t connect with your emotions—this class will likely change your life.
Joyce Chapman’s Live Your Dream—Joyce has worked with thousands of people over the years helping them find and then truly live their dream lives. This is the first time that Joyce has taught this landmark class online with us, and we’re thrilled to have this grande dame of journaling with us.
Cultivating a Mindset of Gratitude Using Your Journal
Can we use our journals to nurture a certain quality that we’d like to see expand and grow in our everyday lives? Absolutely! You can your journal to intentionally cultivate a particular mindset.
Famous diarist Anais Nin wrote, “ We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.” If we change how we are, then we’ll see the world differently.
Gratitude is one characteristic that I think most people highly value. I do. Yet, even though I highly value the feeling of gratitude, it is annoying to me that too often I take life for granted. The ordinariness of life–the hassles, the irritations, the barriers, the difficulties–often overtake the beauty, majesty, and wonder of life. How to re-focus and instead feel and express appreciation for a wide range of overlooked positives in my life: my extraordinarily warm, kind, and loving immediate family; my supportive and authentic friends; the large and growing LifeJournal community; my strong body; the beauty, diversity, and richness of our planet; and so on.
Gratitude is an emotion, an attitude, a habit, a personality trait, a virtue (and how else might you categorize it?) which has been shown to improve a person’s lot in life: People who feel gratitude report that they are more optimistic, have more energy, and have higher levels of satisfaction. Studies show that those who express gratitude are more healthy physically, and some studies even show that they live longer!
That’s enough motivation for me to want to nurture a consistent mindset of gratitude. Can you use a little more feeling of gratitude in your life, too?
Let’s explore how to intentionally cultivate a particular mindset using your journal. Thinking about something in detail, examining it, exploring it, ruminating on it are ways to intentionally focus your brain on a subject. Writing about it engages a web of brain neurons even further to create more connections and more neuronal pathways. The idea is to create a well-used neuronal net in your brain about that particular subject. And more than just thinking about it, it is helpful to actually practice feeling gratitude and writing about it.
What will work for you to induce the feeling of gratitude? For me watching a sunset or sunrise almost always creates a sense of gratefulness for being alive. Sometimes sitting quietly for 10 minutes by a tree or flowers or by a pond, or in the woods or at the beach and simply being and observing helps me feel gratitude. The moment unfolds, like an ever-stretching accordion—opening to more and more levels of fullness, beauty and texture. Use every sense available to you, enjoying the depth and richness of such an experience.
Try this exercise: Every day this next month, during the course of the day, find five things for which you are grateful. If you don’t have your journal handy during the day, bring a small pad, index card or smartphone with you so that you can jot a quick note. Then enter those five items for which you feel gratitude into your LifeJournal later that day. You may want to expand upon each of the five things, or just write more fully about one of the five.
The item for which you feel “grateful” for can be of any magnitude—trivial, monumental, subtle. For example: not having to wait at the red light that you always get stuck at; enjoying a special night out with your partner; being recognized in your work with a promotion and/or raise; or being a recipient of your teenager’s rarely revealed but underlying warmth.
Also, focus on and write about the physical sensations you enjoy when you feel gratitude. Where in your body do you feel gratefulness and appreciation? Do you feel warmth and softness in your chest? Any changes in your lungs or breathing? Does any muscle area feel different, more relaxed? Are you aware that your eyesight or hearing or any of your sensing changes when you are actively feeling grateful? The more mindful you are about your feeling of gratitude the more you can imprint gratitude into your life and come back to that feeling quickly. Give it a try!
“Emotional management skills are usually small and simple behaviors or adjustments. At the same time, the accumulation of these skills leads to profound changes in the quality of a life.”—Beth Jacobs, PhD
“Questioning is an art form in itself. Inquiring, who are you today, for starters—and what is it that you want most intensely? Where is the intuition leading? Questions till the ground of “beginner’s mind,” plow fresh road, scrap outdated agendas, help us to reimagine our way.”—Mark Matousek
“Your dream is as close as your own mental image of it. How many of us go through our lives troubled by a vague sense that the person we are is not the person we really want to be?”—Joyce Chapman
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