Day 5: Nightly Gratitude Journal
If I had a nickel for every person who tells me they don’t sleep well because of the stress they carry to bed with them from the day, I would be a very rich woman.
Did you know the national spending on sleep aids reached $32 billion dollars in 2012 and the trend continues to rise today?
In addition, sleep-related issues resulted in $63.2 billion dollars in lost productivity across the United States per year.
Are you one of those who dreams about putting the day behind you and leisurely falling into easy slumbers of sleep?
You are not alone as evidenced by the growing number of people google’ing sleep aids – both natural and pharmaceutical – 47% of people online are looking for easy answers to a growing problem – “I can not sleep.”
Take a moment to think about this paradox: people are spending money for something that is free.
Kind of mind blowing isn’t it?
Two main reasons why people have difficulty falling asleep are:
- They don’t take sufficient time to wind down from the physical and mental activities of their day
- They carry their daily stress to bed with them
The good news is there is a very effective gratitude practice you can implement which sets you up for a peaceful rest and an energized awakening.
This specific gratitude practice is the use of a Gratitude Journal.
By purposely taking time in the evening before retiring to review your gratitudes of the day you will reset your focus, shining the spotlight on that which you are grateful for rather than focus on stress and angst whiling feverishly wishing for a peaceful rest.
How to use a Gratitude Journal:
- Dedicate a notebook, binder, or journal to record your gratitudes.
- Approximately 20 minutes prior to your normal bedtime, turn off all the electronics and find a comfy, cozy distraction-free space. Yes, this could be your bed but it doesn’t have to be. Maybe you have a favorite chair or table where you like to sit and write (you get extra credit when you add a night time tea such as a sleepy tea or a relaxing chamomile).
- Take in 3 deep breaths – in through your nose and out through your mouth. As you exhale imagine letting go of your day as your shoulders drop away from your ears and all of your muscles soften.
- Call to mind what you are grateful for in your day. These could be people, actions, events, accomplishments, small gestures or large gestures. First let them come to you and then focus on absorbing them completely, taking on the emotion of moment.
- Write down at least 5 gratitudes. Begin with “Tonight I am so grateful for………….because………” Use this sentence stem to begin each new gratitude. I know, I know, this may seem long but LONG is good. No need to shortcut great feelings. Slow it down, take it in and then take a deep breath between each gratitude. With each exhale let go of the day a little bit more.
If you’d like to play with a few other sentence stems try these:
- Something that made me smile today is….
- Something that touched me today is….
- Somebody or something that inspired me today is ….
6. Notice how this makes you feel. As you focus on all that you have, all that you want takes up less space and the discomfort between what you have and what you want dissipates.
7. I suggest completing this practice 7-10 days in a row. Certainly continue the practice beyond that if you’d like but I recommend a minimum of 7-10 days to fully experience the benefits and to establish a shift in your thinking process.
Extra Credit: It’s easiest to continue with a practice when you see the results of your efforts. For extra credit track your sleep from day 1 to the end. I recommend tracking the length of your sleep as well as the quality of your sleep (ability to stay asleep and/or feeling rested upon awakening). You can either track on paper (perhaps in your gratitude journal) or use one of the many apps now available for download.
“What if you woke today with only the things
you thanked God for yesterday?”
Thankful for you,