Gratitude Journal – have you ever kept one? I find an “attitude of gratitude” releases negative energy, and is very empowering. Sometimes I feel “stuck” , whether in an emotion, or in a pattern of behavior, and taking the time to write down all I am thankful for is a great antidote for that stuck feeling. I don’t need to keep this gratitude journal for long, sometimes I only need to do the exercise once before positive thoughts begin to lift my spirits and help me move forward.
As you can imagine, journaling in very close to my heart, so it is no coincidence that my thesis within my Psychology degree was a journaling project. What was special about this project was that my partner and I BOTH kept a journal for six weeks and recorded events and interactions which we experienced together in our daily lives.
At the end of the six weeks we chose a quiet afternoon to swap journals and read each other’s entries. The results were surprising and thought provoking. We found that we often used similar metaphors and similes’ when writing , which beautifully showed our connectedness in many areas of our lives. However the journals revealed different points of view on some very key events. I remember feeling shocked when something I had experienced as a very kind and helpful act by my partner had raised resentment in him as he helped me!
The project gave us a great appreciation of our individual thought processes, and a greater understanding of each other. We both agreed that the journaling period benefitted our relationship and was something we would be happy to repeat in the future.
So, would you and your partner be willing to start a joint journaling project in order to gain deeper insights into your relationship? I combined Keska Brown’s ideas with my journaling project format to develop a guideline for couples excited to find out more about each other.
Start your relationship journals together.
There is no right or wrong way to do this but before beginning it is helpful to discuss a few things with your partner. Here are three ideas to help you; but do add your own ideas to this, and make the process your own.
- Agree how long you will both keep the journal.
- Agree whether you will show each other the full journal, or whether you will discuss the journal without the other reading it.
- Agree a time to discuss your journaling experience.
After this it’s very simple to get started.
- Get a blank journal book, notepad or open a new folder on your computer and personalize it.
- Take half an hour sometime every day to think and write about your relationship.
- Recall up to 5 interactions you had with your partner, remember your feelings within the interaction. Remember that it doesn’t matter how big or small the connection is. It could have been a smile, or time spent together, or a phone call. Re-read what you’ve written. Sometimes, this triggers more memories to write down.
- Add positivity! All healthy relationships have disagreements, so if they occur, write them down, but record how you let go of your feelings; how the event ended.
- Once complete, collect your thoughts, and whether the days interactions are positive or negative, Write down three things you love or, more importantly, respect about your partner.
Sharing the journal results:
- Begin by telling each other one thing you love and respect about them.
- Take turns to share an event or an interaction. Each time you share tell your partner another thing you love or respect about them.
- I guarantee there will be some surprises! Neither of you need to react to a surprising fact or idea immediately, instead allow your thoughts and feelings to sink in. So agree another time to talk further, if you feel that is necessary.
I would love to hear from anyone who has done this exercise before, or who intends to do so in the near future. So leave a comment at the end of this blog post, or contact me for a FREE focus session .