If you seek a positive sobriety experience, it may come as no surprise to you that you’ll have to be – well – positive. While there are many ways to achieve that end, the fastest, easiest, most low-effort way of achieving the scientifically proven benefits of practicing gratitude is by starting a gratitude journal.
But what if that’s just not your preference? What if you just don’t like the idea of starting yet another journal or adding another writing practice to your day?
Lucky for you, you may not have to, because there are tons of other ways to practice gratitude daily, fill your life with positivity, and heighten your chances of enjoying a happy, alcohol-free life.
In this article I’ll share 7 ways to practice gratitude daily without a gratitude journal.
Let’s dive in.
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7 Ways To Practice Gratitude Without A Gratitude Journal
1- Start An Instagram Account For Gratitude
One way to sneak a little gratitude into your day without starting a gratitude journal is by going for different visual representations of what you’re thankful for instead.
For instance, if snapping quick pics is your thing – why not take a daily photo (or several) of things you find beautiful, soothing, or are grateful for, and upload them to your Instagram feed? Even if you don’t like Instagram that much for personal use (or are totally averse to selfies), you can start a feed just for gratitude and only use it to take pictures of other objects. It can even be anonymous!
I literally only post quotes on my Instagram feed and it’s totally fine. Why not start a feed for flowers, teacups and landscapes? Your feed, your rules!
2- Get Colorful & Artistic
It doesn’t really matter how you express your positive thoughts and emotions. What really matters is the intention.
If you don’t like writing all that much, but you enjoy doodling, it’s totally fine to draw and add pops of color to your intention.
While on a run to the dollar store to pick up a few household items (I LOVE that place lol), I went down the school supplies section and saw a little blue box that had pre-cut squares of note paper in it.
I thought it was super cute, so I grabbed that plus a set of colored markers. It’s been my thing lately to mindlessly doodle and color positive, uplifting words and draw hearts and flowers and stuff on them.
In the image above you can see some of my amazing artwork (not)!
I do these a couple times a week, but what’s amazing is flipping through the ones I’ve already created! I have about 30 or so now and I swear thumbing through them gives me all the gooey feels! That colorful pop of inspiring words just feels good.
I realize the types of things I’ve written (as you can see in the picture) are more on the motivation/affirmations/goals side of things, but it’s just for the sake of illustration. You can do this for gratitude too!
Just write or doodle happy things that you like, color them as you see fit, and have your own little collection!
I couldn’t find anything exactly like what I use online, but these on a keyring are super cute! It’s important to have a separate area for your cards so they don’t get misplaced, and to have it so it’s easy to thumb through. Reviewing the cards is just as important as creating them – actually a bit more important really. You don’t want to misplace them.
Here’s a perfect set of colored markers that aren’t too expensive and will get the job done, too!
3- Talk To Yourself About Gratitude
Do you talk to yourself? I mean, out loud?
I don’t know if this is common, but when I’m alone I talk to myself ALL the time. Like navigating myself through something… I’ll be like “okay… so let me take this… and do this… got it!”
Is that just me? (Please say no)!
Either way, talking to yourself out loud is a great thing to do – especially if you’re intentionally using GOOD words.
Instead of writing, drawing, coloring or snapping pictures, it’s absolutely sufficient to just – talk to yourself!
It doesn’t have to be some weird, deep ritual, either. Just maybe in the shower, stretch and exfoliate your skin and say, “I’m so happy to have this warm water, running all over my body… it feels SO good!”
Or when you’re combing your hair and you notice how pretty it is, say “wow I’m grateful for such thick, beautiful hair”.
Or if you hit all green lights in traffic, “this is so amazing… all green lights today, woo hoo!”
Every little bit counts and helps to elevate your mood, I promise.
4- Share Your Gratitude For Others WITH Them
Even better than vocalizing your gratitude with yourself, is sharing your gratitude with others. Especially if it’s ABOUT them. You’re not only making yourself aware of the good in your life, but you’re making other people feel good too!
Though my son is only two years old, I make it a point to tell him all the time in as many ways as I can how grateful I am for him. How I’m so happy to be his mother, how I’m so grateful that he’s such a cute, sweet boy. How I enjoy his high energy and I love being able to run around and play with him.
While he may or may not understand exactly what I’m saying, it sure does make me feel amazing and I think he can at least tell by the tone, you know what I mean?
Likewise, I make it a point to tell my husband how grateful I am for all that he is, too. How he supports the family, how he has the ability to uplift me on bad days, how he has a hot bod…
You can never go wrong uplifting others.
5- Get Better At Accepting Compliments
I don’t know what it is. If it’s cultural, gender-based or what. But it seems many women just don’t do all that well with accepting compliments. Is it being modest? Or shy? Or do we genuinely not believe we are all the good things others say we are?
But if you pay attention to others or yourself – even in media. It’s like “oh man, Jess, you did an amazing job on this cake, you rock!”
“Really? I guess it turned out okay… maybe it needs something”.
A simple way to elevate your gratitude game is by elevating your ability to accept compliments and really take them to heart!
Most of the time people aren’t going to go out of their way to gas you up if they don’t mean it. Saying “thank you” and then really thinking about how beautiful you look that day, about how delicious your potato salad is, or the incredible job you really did do on that presentation is a sure-fire way to get you to appreciate how good some things in your life really are – and not just to you – to those around you!
The next time you catch yourself making an excuse for a compliment, re-route that into a genuine, heartfelt “thank you… I really enjoyed creating it”!
Making this a habit, over time, naturally heightens your expression of gratitude and will boost your baseline positivity without ever having to purchase a gratitude journal.
6- 11:11 Or Other Signs To Remember
I don’t even know how I stumbled upon this, but a while back it came to my attention that 11:11 was special. If you see 11:11 or other repetitive numbers frequently, some say it’s a sign to monitor your thoughts.
Regardless of your religious or spiritual beliefs, I think there’s something to be said here.
I’ve taken this to heart and over the past year have gotten dear husby in on it.
Now when either of us looks at a clock and see 11:11, we make it a point to tell the other and excitedly either make a wish or express gratitude for what we already have.
It’s a really fun game and a way to be more mindful and focused on the present, right?
Even if it’s like 11:02 we’ll be like “11:11 is coming up, get ready!
Now, your signal doesn’t have to be 11:11 (though I find it to be awesome and just… easy).
You can pick anything you want…
But having something you’re likely to see frequently helps.
I like numbers because they’re everywhere.
I’ve expanded this to all repetitive numbers, too. Like 222, 999, 888. It’s really fun and I just get excited and peppy when I see them.
Phone numbers, license plates, on receipts at the store… all the more reasons to be uplifted and positive and express gratitude, the better!
And this doesn’t involve a gratitude journal so it’s a fun, easy way to sneak a little gratitude into your day, right?
7- Take Notes, Voice Notes Or Video On Your Phone
A bit quicker and not as cumbersome as starting a gratitude journal, you can use your cell phone to make a habit of taking voice notes, video notes, or quick typed notes of things throughout your day that you’re grateful for, then review them at night.
This is something I just began doing recently in preparation for releasing fear of making video for my YouTube channel. So, it kind of came along by accident.
To get over fear of recording video or looking weird, I’d get into the habit of just… talking at myself on camera. I didn’t have much to say, so I figured “why not talk about things I’m really excited and happy about”?
It gave me practice looking into the camera and releasing those annoying “umms” and “ahhs”, but it had an unintended side-effect of just making me feel good.
So if you’re walking down the street, why not record a quick video or sound note of the things you see around you that inspire you? Jot down in your notepad function on your phone how crisp the air feels, or how nice the sun feels on your skin, or how you can’t wait to meet your friend for brunch in a few minutes, while you wait for her to arrive.
It’s so easy and the intention behind it sets you up for so much positivity down the line.
You Don’t HAVE To Journal To Express Gratitude
I firmly believe that you don’t reach a state of positive sobriety without intentionally becoming a more positive person over all. And this does take intention, effort and work.
But the good news is that it doesn’t have to feel like work.
The key to an enjoyable, positive sobriety experience is yes – doing the work – but doing it in ways that you truly find pleasant!
So, while you must shift your primary focus to the positive, there are no rules for how you do that.
If you hate the idea of starting a gratitude journal? Don’t do it!
As long as your intention is good, any way you practice gratitude will bring you to your peace.
Do you have any unique ways to practice gratitude of your own? Join my mailing list, then share your thoughts in the comments below!