One thing I find incredibly useful for many of my clients is the regular use of a gratitude/gratefulness journal. If you’ve never heard of it, basically it’s exactly what it sounds like; a journal where you list things that you are grateful for. When I ask my clients to start one of these, I usually get 1 of 2 reactions;
Grateful journals are wonderful and although it may seem like a small thing to do or a hard thing to do, it’s something that can be extremely significant in your recovery from an Eating Disorder or even just getting more positivity in your life. Everyone, and I mean everyone, can benefit from a grateful journal.
If you are curious to know what I ask my clients to do regarding this journal, here it is! I ask that they get a physical journal (typically I give them one of the cool ones I have on hand!). I ask that they designate a certain time every day to physically write down things they are grateful for. I ask that they find 3 things that either happened that day or that they came across that was a positive or something that they found to lift their mood, even if just a little bit. If I were to ask you what you are grateful for, what would it be? Most people will think their journal will be repetitive since most people will automatically say things such as their family, friends, pets or home. While these are wonderful, I ask that you use this journal to challenge yourself to think of other things. Challenge yourself to find gratefulness throughout the day. Challenge yourself to look at the flower garden you pass every single day, but never really look at or appreciate. Recognize when that person held that door open for you. The journal doesn’t have to consist of grand gestures or big things, in fact, I encourage you to look at the little things.
Too often, we overlook the good things that happen to us on a daily basis or the little things that are simply nice. We are drawn to see the negatives and focus on that. I’ll tell you about an experience I had a couple of years ago that still stands out to me. I was walking into the bank one evening, and was focused on getting in and out. To me, that usually means I’m walking pretty fast with a face that says “I’m on a mission” with my head down. That night, as I’m doing just that, I hear a voice behind me say “oh wow, that sunset is really beautiful, isn’t it?” I looked up and saw one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen. It really was a learning experience for me and a moment I was so grateful for. I couldn’t help but think that I could have totally just missed something that was literally right in front of me, and brought me joy. I love passing this experience on to my clients because I think it was too valuable of a lesson to keep to myself.
Most, if not all, of my clients truly find the grateful journal a useful and positive tool in their lives. Even on the days that were filled with eating disorder thoughts, depression or self-loathing, they are able to find some things to be grateful for. And if you can even have 5 minutes of the day where you don’t feel so bad, that’s significantly better than having 0. Over time, this tool trains the brain to be able to more easily pick up on positives which has an overall positive impact on our lives.
I hope you found this post helpful and please share with anyone else who could benefit. If you have any questions, concerns or requests for future posts, please leave a comment or message me privately.
I wish you gratitude on your journey to finding your State of Balance!
Binge And Restrict Cycle
Eating Disorder Specialist
Healthy Self Vs. Eating Disorder