How to Supercharge Your Appreciation Journal
An appreciation journal is a new form of journaling I came up with (although, I’m sure I’m not the first one to use this concept) following the death of a friend. I put pen to paper and wrote a paragraph honoring him.
Following my friend’s celebration of life, I realized it’s a shame we don’t take time to appreciate those around us while they’re still living. So I started an appreciation journal. Every day, I pick out one person in my life and spend no longer than 3 minutes writing about the things I appreciate the most about them.
In a sense, an appreciation journal is a form of a gratitude journal. It’s a thank-you for all the wonderful people in your life. Beyond that, it’s a message to the universe that you are open to an even greater abundance of friends, mentors, customers, and other people who make your world even brighter.
Writing in such a journal every morning cleanses your energy. It’s a marvelous way to start your day on a high note, ready to receive whatever the universe sends you.
That brings me to the point of this article…
How to expand your appreciation journal
Here’s a belief I have lived by the past year, and which I’ve found to be absolutely true:
The universe sends you exactly the right people and situations at every point in time. There are no mistakes. There are no coincidences.
Every person you interact with, every event that happens to you, is an opportunity for you to grow, for you to make a statement about who you are, in some sense.
Therefore, if you only write about people you like in your appreciation journal, you’re denying yourself 50% of its power.
See the good in everyone and everything
I’m not suggesting you write about people who rub you the wrong way half the time. One day a week is plenty. Maybe two. You be the judge. However, when you do write about them, it can help you grow.
Let’s look at a few examples.
Perhaps you dread going to the store because you’ll have to deal with the surly cashier there. Her monotone voice never changes; she never cracks a smile.
You could appreciate that she’s giving you the opportunity to walk up to the counter and say, “Good morning! I hope you’re having a wonderful day!” If she smiles and says, “Yes, it is,” you can appreciate that she gave you the opportunity to change her mood. Even if she doesn’t, you can appreciate that she gave you the chance to be sullen and depressed too, a chance you turned down.
Perhaps you dread going into work and dealing with your neurotic, busybody, micromanaging boss. Try writing about her in your appreciation journal.
What can you appreciate about her? How about the opportunity to step into her shoes, and understand her job from her perspective? You could write about the pressures she must be under, and how those pressures make her feel the need to keep such close tabs on everybody. She’s offering you the chance to become a keen observer of people.
If nothing else, you could appreciate that you’re learning how to deal with a person who has a different temperament than you. If one day you interview for another job and are asked, “Tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult person at work,” you’ll have no shortage of material.
On the way home, you end up in the bus seat behind that kid who beats on his backpack as though it were a set of tom-tom drums all the way home. So loud. So noisy. So impossible to think.
Write about him. You could appreciate that he’s got musical talent. Perhaps he’s in a band, or he’s a studio musician, and he loves what he does so much that he just can’t leave it at work. Perhaps he’s a reminder to do more of what makes you happy. Perhaps he’s a reminder to be bold and fearless doing what makes you happy in front of strangers.
It takes practice to appreciate everyone and everything
This won’t necessarily come easily at first. You may come up with a person in mind and sit there and sit there, unable to come up with anything you appreciate. When this happens, let it go, and have a person you like and readily appreciate as a fall-back. Remember, you never want appreciation journaling to become a chore. It should be quick and uplifting.
I failed at this recently myself. I tried to write in my journal about fruit flies. After a couple of minutes, I gave up. There must be a reason why fruit flies were sent to be a part of my life, but I have yet to find it.
Give it a try
You can start an appreciation journal in a separate notebook, or you can make it a morning component of your regular journal notebook as I do. Take a couple of minutes every day to write about how you appreciate those in your life, and see if it doesn’t raise your vibration.
I recommend waiting about a week before you introduce people who have a less-than-positive effect into appreciation journaling. Get in the flow first.
What you give, you also get, so don’t be surprised if your journaling leads to other people expressing their appreciation for you. Happy journaling!
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