Gratitude – the 5 Ws!

Developing the Gratitude Feeling...

shaun-humphries gratitudeBeing aware of and acknowledging gratitude is something that has become very popular. Keeping a gratitude journal or diary can provide a really powerful experience. Some people have found the process of thinking about the things in their own lives that they can be grateful for have given the a chance to focus on something positive. This positive focus doesn't just exist at the time the diary or journal is completed, but can also provide a really positive experience days, weeks and even months later.

If you have thought about keeping a gratitude diary, but didn't really know what this involved, here is a quick guide using the 5 Ws why, when, what, where an how.

The thing that you will obviously need to bear in mind when you decide to do this is that it is important to commit to keeping the diary going regularly.

The First W - Why?

It has been said many times that it is much better for you to be thankful for the things that you have rather than to focus on the things that you don't have. However, gratitude can go a lot deeper than this. The above quote focuses on tangible and physical things and there is so much more to life and living than just things.

There are many important things such as love, the feeling of safety, belonging and self-awareness to name but a few. These things are often over looked and forgotten about in the overly consumer based society we live in. Especially as we approach Christmas and there is such a focus everywhere on advertising and getting the latest toy, gadget or must have thing.

Being able to see the joy in everyday things that already exist can give a really settled feeling and can help you to feel so much more grounded. This can lead to a greater sense of calm and allow you to feel so much happier. This feeling can improve your day and make you feel so much more positive about the things you do, the things you don't do and the way in which you interact with others.

Of course this does not negate the fact that you may well want to get new things and improve you standard of living. However, it does make sure that the focus is on what you have and not only the dreams of the things you would like, but the journey toward achieving those things. This thinking can help to enhance not only the feeling of owning, completing or experiencing the things you really want, but also the process of achievement.

The Second W - When?

shaun-humphries gratitudeIt is a really good idea to do this regularly for the effect to actually work. Some people find journaling every day a real chore and it just doesn't sit well with them. there are obviously lots of different ways around this, but the key thing is to do what works best for you. There is lots and lots of advice available, including downloadable templates and so on but if you find this difficult to work with on a daily basis then it may be worth looking for alternatives.

It may be that you want to look at this from a little more distance and write something once a week. As long as the process is completed regularly you should find that the benefits of completing a Gratitude Diary completely outweigh any initial concerns of fears of being able to commit to writing things down.

If the thought of having to work on this for a long time is something that really puts you off, then it might be worth having a go at a 30 day Gratitude Challenge. A template for this is available here. This is a completely free template and is to provide you with something to start with. Often getting started seems to be the most tricky part. If you would prefer to have this in .pdf format, please click here.

Try to set a time aside every day to do this. If you make this part of your daily routine, you will find that it can become a habit much more easily. When would be the best time to start? If you are thinking of starting a gratitude diary, then the right time is probably now!

The Third W - What?

What you store in your Gratitude Diary and the things you decide to be grateful for are entirely up to you. It is a really good idea to make sure that you start off with the easy things and allow yourself to grow into the process over time.

You might initially write things such as:

  • I am grateful for my wife and children.
  • I am grateful for my job.
  • I am grateful for my home and the safety it provides.

It is important to make sure that you avoid writing the same thing twice in the diary so after a few days or week you may feel that things become a little harder, but the process of working through that is really where the true value of keeping a diary lies.

The Fourth W - Where?

shaun-humphries gratitudeThere are so many ways of recording, writing down and storing your Gratitude Diary. You could use a physical copy of something that you print out and write on, you could use a notebook or a notepad. Some people enjoy the process of writing things and stepping away from a tablet, phone or computer.

You could use the templates on the computer and type out things. This keeps everything stored electronically and can help you to keep things private. Programs such as Word, Pages, Excel, Number and Acrobat Reader allow you to password the file to increase security and keep it away from people that you don't wish to read what you have written.

There is also a massive range of Apps that you can download to your tablet or phone that can be free, with paid options or ones that you may need to pay a small charge for. Many of the apps give you a chance to follow a set pattern of questions (that can be customised) and also to share your diary with other applications such as dropbox or Evernote. This means that you can synchronise what you write about across different devices and can access things more easily depending on where you are.

I personally use an App that I can have on my iPad and iPhone that I can sync with Evernote. This is very useful for the way in which I prefer to do things. The choice is obviously completely yours, but be prepared to go with it and make changes the way in which you work. If it doesn't feel quite right, then it probably isn't. It is always better to allow yourself some space and room to make changes. After all the purpose of writing a Gratitude Diary is because you want to, just for you. The time and space you make for yourself to do this is yours - you can choose to make it inspiring and fulfilling!

The Fifth W - Who?

This is really easy, when you think about it. The purpose of doing this is very simple. Remember that this diary will give you an enormous amount of pleasure when you read back through the things you have written, and evoke powerful and positive memories.

Not only that, the process of keeping the diary will give you a chance to have some time and space just for you in which to be reflective and develop your self awareness. All very important things in this busy, hi-tech and at time relentless society in which we can find ourselves.

Final thoughts...

shaun-humphries gratitudeHopefully this has inspired you to begin your own Gratitude Diary, or even consider alternative ways of recording those moments in your life where you know things are just as hey should be - even if only for a moment.

The act of Gratitude is very powerful and can allow even the slightest, seemingly insignificant, events you experience to become truly life changing and totally inspiring. How a go at the 30 Day Gratitude Challenge and make a start today! (Click here for a .pdf version to print) Make a comment below to let us know that you have made a start and how it's all going.

Shaun Humphries

Shaun Humphries Administrator
Shaun is currently involved in developing a Music Theory Course that will help people of all ages gain a greater awareness of the building blocks of music. Shaun began playing the cornet at the age of seven. He joined the Salvation Army Junior Band and obtained his grade 5 by the age of 10. It was at this time Shaun was truly inspired by an amazing teacher at school who made a real difference – way beyond what he could ever have imagined. Shaun moved onto tuba during his last year at secondary school. He joined Swindon Pegasus Brass and then the NYBB a year later under the direction on Colin Shiner. Shaun read Music at Anglia Polytechnic University, majoring in composition and performance under the direction of Alan Bullard and Michael Clack. He taught for a year at Wells Cathedral School as a practice supervisor, and was conductor of a number of small ensembles. Shaun continued his studies and achieved his MA in Music Performance, under the direction of Nicholas Hitchin (ENO) at Colchester Institute School of Music. Shaun has worked as a peripatetic brass teacher for a number of years with the Swindon Music Co-operative, Wiltshire Music Service, Bath & North East Somerset Music Service, and Northamptonshire Music Service. He has performed as a tuba player within a variety of ensembles including the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain, West London Sinfonia (as principal tuba), Swindon Pegasus Brass, and MK Brass. Shaun is regularly asked to perform as a deputy tuba player for Trinity Camerata, Aylesbury Vale Symphonic Wind Band and Towcester Studio Band. As principal tuba with NOW, Shaun was invited to perform at Carnegie Hall and Central Park in New York, and worked with Andrew Hall, John Dankworth and Cleo Laine as an Associate Musical Director for the opening of the MK Dons Stadium. Shaun has been heavily involved with music in Buckinghamshire and has worked as a director with a number of bands including Towcester Studio Band, MK Brass (as a deputy conductor), MK Development Band, Secklow Brass (as a deputy conductor), Great Horwood Silver Band, Wolverton Band, Brackley Wind Ensemble and is a founding member and conductor of Fantini Chorus. Shaun is currently principal tuba with Banbury Symphony Orchestra and Musical Director of Hook Norton Brass Band. Shaun has been Musical Director for a number of shows, including productions of Calamity Jane, Little Shop of Horrors (With Buckingham University), Grease, Joseph, and Footloose. He has recently performed as the Director (and Musical Director) for Honk! Junior. After studying for a PGCE at Oxford Brookes University, Shaun has worked as Head of Department in a number of secondary schools in Milton Keynes, Rugby, Bedfordshire and Oxfordshire. He is now a peripatetic music teacher offering lessons within his home studio or via Skype if required. Shaun is also a certified Life coach, a Certified Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and a Certified Hypnotherapist. He enjoys working with and helping individuals increase their self awareness, develop focus and improve productivity. With his past experience he is able to help you to develop greater resilience, confidence and self belief within your workplace or home life. Through developing thinking strategies, breaking through barriers (such as limiting beliefs and thought patterns) and developing new behaviour patterns Shaun can help you realise your true potential!

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