One of the most simple, yet powerful ways to enhance your wellbeing is to take time to put pen to paper to write down what you’re grateful for. Find out how taking time to write with gratitude journaling has helped me to stop taking things for granted.
WHAT IS TIME TO WRITE AND WHY IS IT SOMETHING TO TRY?
As a part of their Time To Write initiative, now in its second year, Officeworks is encouraging Australians to reconnect with the art of handwriting. Officeworks partnered with Deakin University to undergo research that uncovered the role handwriting plays in today’s society. The study showcased many benefits to good old pen and paper. People who handwrite notes, letters, goals, and ideas were 2.5 times more likely to feel relief from anxiety, fear and worry. Last year, you may recall, I wrote each day for a month.
This year, Officeworks has teamed up with Positive Psychologist Dr. Suzy Green to curate a four-part workshop series that showcases the different ways to introduce and practice handwriting each day. The one-hour workshops are hosted by an Officeworks Team Member and include the themes of gratitude journaling, goal setting, letter writing and creative writing.
Over the weekend I headed along to the East Victoria Park Officeworks store to attend a gratitude journaling workshop.
WHY GRATITUDE JOURNALING?
Gratitude’s power comes through preventing us from taking things for granted. It is as easy as that.
Making the time to write thoughts down, allowed me to really become mindful of all of the great things happening to me. It is so easy to get caught up in the trap of comparing your own situation and experiences with other people’s or to concentrate on what you don’t have, rather than being in touch with what you do.
Even the smallest things, when you stop to really appreciate them can start a chain of positivity that will put you in a better mood.
THE GRATITUDE JOURNALING WORKSHOP
I went into the workshop not really being sure of how I would fill an hour with writing. Though I had been spending time in the lead up writing for about 15 minutes a day, an hour felt just a little daunting.
The workshop leader gave us some exercises, which broke down into these points:
- Today I am grateful for…
- What I appreciate about you…
- At my best…
HOW I FOUND IT
I found myself scrawling out almost three A4 pages of things I was feeling grateful for. These included small and larger things like appreciating the spring weather, having supportive people around me and working on plans for a trip we have coming up. I found the more specific I got about the details; the better I appreciated them or committed them to memory.
Choosing my partner to write about for exercise number two made me appreciate the many things he does for me. Even his being dedicated to cooking well (something I rarely have the patience for) makes a big difference.
Finally, the exercise I found most tricky was to write down what you are most proud of about myself. Starting off with the prompt, I thought about recent accomplishments and examples of risks I’d taken that had paid off.
Before I knew it, I had managed to fill five full pages in my new notebook and the hour was up. The prompts were such a good way to get the ball rolling. I noticed the woman sitting opposite me getting through pages herself too.
PERSPECTIVE, MINDFULNESS, AND BEING IN THE PRESENT
Taking the time to write, to allow a digital break, to give my mind a chance to consider what I had to be so thankful for has really helped with some of the things I have gone through of late. At the moment, I am dealing with a very personal loss. Having the exercise as a reminder of the good things in my life allows me to feel more mindful and present. From the smallest things to the biggest achievements, being grateful for them and making time to appreciate them sets off a positive chain, which is infectious.
Having started gratitude journaling, and felt how it has made me appreciate more in my life, I am going to continue writing in my gratitude journal on set days a week. At the moment my friend and I share three things we are grateful for each day to keep ourselves accountable. Putting pen to paper, makes me stop to consider and process in greater depth, so I am determined to keep going with it.
Gratitude journaling is one of the simplest yet most powerful ways to enhance wellbeing and improve mental health.
To find out more information about Time To Write and how you can get involved head to: http://www.officeworks.com.au/campaigns/time-to-write
OVER TO YOU
What are some things that you are grateful for today?
Have you had a good coffee? Did you have a nice walk into work? Had a good laugh with friends? I would love for you to share one thing you are grateful for today with me in the comments below.
Do you still write by hand? Think you would be keen to get away from the computer and write for 15 minutes a day to see how it feels? Honestly, it is not that long at all and I think you will get a lot out of it! Let me know how you go!
PHOTOGRAPHED BY: MARIO RECCHIA
*Sponsored post in collaboration with Officeworks