Karen Hellier is a freelance writer and eBay entrepreneur. She lives happily in the mountains of North Georgia with her husband and her dog.
Why Should You Create a Personal Blessings Journal
If you like to write, and you believe in God, I highly recommend that you start a "Blessings Journal" as a way to remind yourself of all the blessings God has given you. Not only will this help you in your day to day life, but it will bring you closer to God, both as you are writing in your journal, and for years to come.
All you need to start is a pen and a notebook. Find a pen with which you enjoy writing. Maybe it's something you brought home as a souvenir from a vacation, or from a local business you enjoy. Or it could be just a pen that writes smoothly and is pleasurable to use. Depending on how special you want this book to be, you can spend a lot, or a little money on it. There are beautiful journals available at stationery stores, or job lot stores, surplus stores, and The Christmas Tree Shop, for those of you in New England. Or, you can just go to any grocery store or business supply store, like Staples, and get a nice thick notebook to begin. You will probably want something thick if you want to do this for awhile. Five subject notebooks last a very long time. Some people like college ruled better than wide ruled pages. It seems to depend on how large your handwriting is.
Personally I like larger books with lined paper with a design on the front.
Rules of a Blessings Journal
Well, this is your personal blessings journal so you can write whatever you want. BUT the definitive difference between just a regular journal and a blessings book is that in a journal, you can write whatever you want...sad thoughts, happy thoughts, daydreams, etc. But in a Blessings Journal, you are only supposed to write your blessings. That would mean people, things, experiences for which you are truly grateful. And why you are thankful. When you are done writing an entry, re-read it with a grateful heart. You don't have to share this book with anyone else. Only you and God will know what's in it unless you choose to share it with others. That can be very freeing. If you are having a bad day, it will lift you up. If you are tired and weary of things going on in your life, it will remind you of all that you DO have, and give you strength to go on, hoping the next day will be better. But if you are having a great day, write it down, to help your spirit soar on this day, and on days to come when you may need to read something uplifting and be grateful for your blessings.
While it might be tempting to share the bad things that have gone on in your day, keep a separate daily journal for that. This one should remain special, just to uplift you, every time you write in it, and when you need a blessing in the future.
What Should be Included as Blessings
As you go along, you will discover what you consider blessings in your life. There will undoubtedly be big things, such as family, your job, a promotion at work, a new friend, a fun experience with friends, your husband, your children.etc. But sometimes you will have a day that is status quo, and nothing too exciting has happened. That's when it's time to delve deeply into your life and discover things that don't stand out to anyone but you. Maybe you took the dog for a walk in the quiet of the morning, and instead of expecting to be freezing in the cold Winter air and rushing to get back in the house, you will look up and see a sky still dark, with bright stars dotting the sky, and a brilliant moon still hanging over the trees. And being cold will pale in comparison to the beautiful scene before you. Or maybe when your husband got home from work, the kids were out playing and you had 20 minutes to sit on the couch together and talk about your day, reconnecting over a cup of coffee. Or maybe when you went into your one year old's bedroom this morning, he was sitting in his crib quietly, until he saw you and he had the biggest smile you have ever seen on his face...just for you. Maybe your teen aged daughter hugged you and told you she loved you today...for no special reason! All of those are blessings. If you don't write them down now, they may be forever forgotten in the fabric of your everyday life, and by writing them down when they happen, they will remind you of all the little things in your life you have had to be grateful for...even when your children have grown up and moved away with families of their own.
Frequency of Journal Entries
When first getting started with a blessings journal, it's good to write every day to get in the habit. Is there a time when you try to have a cup of coffee and tea and just relax? If not, it's a good idea to start carving time in your life for that, and the blessings journal is a good reason. Some people choose to write every morning before their day starts to remember what they have to be thankful for to carry them into the day. Some people, especially at home moms, find nap time for their young children a good time to sit down and write. Others find writing before bed helps them to relax and sleep better after reminding themselves of the positives in their lives. They say it takes three weeks of doing something every day to make it a habit, so that could be your goal at first, then write in it as you can. If you don't have a lot of time, just jotting down a couple of sentences will do.
The benefits of a journal like this are very therapeutic. Often people go through their lives and look at certain time periods as big clumps of time, and remember a certain job they had, a committee they were on that caused stress in their lives, 7 inch when their children were struggling with becoming teenagers and making the right decisions, the time their parent was sick, and forget about the little things that happened in their lives during those times that made each day a bit special. Writing in it makes you feel positive about that particular blessing. It cultivates "an attitude of gratitude"! And looking back and reading entries from weeks, months, or even years can bring back fresh memories of special events, people, and moments that have touched our lives in a positive way. And being in communion with God as you write about your blessings, offers Him a grateful heart, and you, a feeling of peace.
Sharing the Benefits of a Blessings Journal
Recently I was reading some messages from my Facebook friends. I noticed that one of them was always writing about negative things happening in her life and how depressed she was. I went to Dollar General and bought a journal that was a five by seven inch size with a pretty cover for $2.50. I put it in a padded envelope and sent it media mail with a note about how if she writes down her blessings in this book every day, her life will start to seem a bit better. I don't know if it will work for her, or if she will even do it, BUT it is worth it to try. I encourage you to do the same if you try this idea and it works for you!
But my personal blessings journals are larger so that I can have more space to write. I buy ones that are usually 8 1/2 by 11 inches or 9 by 12 inches because I can write more and feel relaxed with that much space. I also like the ones with pretty pictures on the front because it makes my blessings journal feel like a special book where I share my innermost thoughts and remind myself of all the things I have to be grateful for.
Recently I have started a blessings journal for my husband and I. He won't write in it himself very often, so few times a week I pull it out and ask him what his blessings are for that day or the past few days. It is so much fun to go back and read what we have both said, and it is a shot in the arm for our relationship because quite often, we say we are thankful to be blessed by the other person, and that's a nice warm fuzzy to read weeks or months later!
This is the larger style journal that I enjoy most...
You Can Watch a Video Here About Why It's Important to Keep a Blessings Journal, Although in This Video It's Called a "Gratitude Journal"
© 2012 Karen Hellier