According to research, practicing gratitude is one of the simplest ways to increase and maintain happiness. So it’s no surprise that gratitude journaling has made its way into the daily habits of many. It’s accessible to get started, simple to pick up as a habit, and can offer a full range of benefits. Daily gratitude journaling can lead to increased positivity, reduced stress, and a generally pleasant outlook on life. With the help of a counsellor, clients can take advantage of these benefits and create a positive new daily habit.
How to get clients started with gratitude journaling
Clients can sometimes meet gratitude journaling with resistance. They may be unsure, skeptical of benefits, or just find it difficult to incorporate a new habit into their lives. This is natural and understandable. So how can they work past that?
It’s important to make a new habit as easy as possible to reduce friction. So start as small as possible. Encourage clients to gratitude journal for just two minutes every day. That’s it. It may not seem like much, but by just showing up for the bare minimum, clients are already making gratitude journaling a habit. Once they’re comfortable with the two minutes of writing, slowly increase the time until you hit a new shared goal together. Whether it’s 5, 10, or 15 minutes, working up to new goals will not give clients the benefits of gratitude, but also the pride of knowing they stuck to it.
When to gratitude journal
It’s recommended that clients write in their gratitude journal first thing in the morning. Not only is it a great way for clients to incorporate a few minutes of ‘me-time’ into their day, but it’ll create a gratitude snowballing effect. When clients write down a few things they’re grateful for right at the beginning of the day, it’s easier to recognize more throughout the day. With confirmation bias on their side, clients will begin to realize just how much they have to be grateful for.
In today’s tech-focused world, digital tools are the easiest way to stay in touch with clients and keep them engaged with gratitude journaling and other homework. A digital homework app like Therachat can support the counsellor-client relationship. Check in on client progress, send them prompts between sessions, and boost gratitude journaling compliance. Equip your clients with the tools to reach their goals faster.
Gratitude journaling prompts and structures
Not sure how to get clients started or how to offer guidance? Keep reading for a few easy to implement tools and exercises. Once clients get comfortable with the basics, they’ll feel more confident picking up a journal and writing on their own. Here are a few starting points:
- The 5 Minute Journal: The 5 Minute Journal is an amazing tool for clients who want structure laid out for them in the simplest way. All it takes is a few minutes in the morning and a few at night to build the habit of gratitude journaling. The journal leads people to a better version of themselves.
- 5 specific things you’re grateful for: This is another great exercise for beginners. Ask clients to note 5 things they’re grateful for. The goal is to be as specific as possible. For example, rather than “I’m grateful for my family,” aim for something more like “I’m grateful that I got to speak with my mom on the phone today.” The specifics of gratitude not only produce more of an emotional response, but they keep things interesting.
- Gratitude in the physical space: This one doubles as a grounding mindfulness exercise. Ask clients to look at the physical space and either write or mentally note everything they’re grateful for. So if they’re on the bus, maybe they’d find beauty in the blue sky just outside the window, or watching strangers share a laugh. Clients can do this exercise anywhere, and anytime. So encourage them to take mental breaks during the day to tune into this exercise. Whether they’re at a park, in their home office, or in the middle of a trip to the grocery store — encourage clients to find the good in their space.
Support your clients with gratitude journaling
Introducing gratitude journaling is well worth the benefits. Over time, clients will feel more comfortable, confident, and even enjoy reaching for gratitude in their mental toolbelt. For counsellors looking to support their clients along the way, digital tools like Therachat will boost gratitude journaling compliance and build positive habits faster. Use Therachat as a channel for communication with your clients, and get them on track to become gratitude journaling pros. Learn more.