Philosophical writer and YouTube creator covering the topics of simplicity, homemaking, and the romantic vintage lifestyle.
Pick a journal format
A happiness journal is especially useful when you are feeling down or overwhelmed. During a challenging moment we may be tempted to focus on the negative, this is when it’s time to step back and see the big picture which is the tapestry creation of your life.
This can be a physical journal, file folder or a digital word document that is converted into a PDF, therefore readable on a portable device.
Step 1: Pull out a notebook or make a new file in your text editor document of choice.
*Moleskin makes a high quality notebook / journal which has a cult following by bloggers, artists and inventors.
Title your journal: “Happiness Journal”, within this joy journal you will create a series of lists.
Soon you may be amazed by how doing even one of the exercises will change your physical and mental state, breaking the pattern of negative thoughts. Each individual will have a unique list that speaks to them.
Create a list titled: “Action steps to feeling better right now”
Here are a few idea’s to get you started.
- Play music that puts you in a mood of peace or hope.
- Step out side and get some fresh air.
- Drink water, eat less.
- Breath deep and stretch.
- If you are able, lay down, and decompress the weight of gravity for 5 minutes.
- If your angry or depressed “chop wood”. Don’t just sit there or engage in idle chatter, lose yourself in a task, something easy with minimal thought.
- Reflect on joys and accomplishments over your lifetime.
- Review your purpose and lifetime goals.
- Enjoy a relaxing and delicious beverage such as gourmet coffee, herbal tea, hot chocolate, a fruit smoothie or milk shake.
- Read a Blog entry or book with helpful information on well being.
- Look at old photo’s and read your journal from years past, you will be surprised at how often you have overcome difficult times. See the beauty in the seasons.
- Know that hard times pass! The sun will come out tomorrow.
- Pray to be in the Lords will and for his hand to be upon you.
- Read the “Things that make me joyful” list (see next step).
Savor the present!
Happiness Art Journal Video
Create a list titled “Happy thoughts that make me joyful”
In the story Peter Pan, the kids had to think about one happy thought before they could fly with the fairy dust. Sometimes all it takes is one happy thought to carry you through the day in a joyful spirit.
Here are a few ideas:
- Remembering the joy of snuggling with your children, grand-kids, or pets.
- Reflecting on the simple pleasures of life such as having your favorite morning coffee as you look at the sunrise.
- Imagining yourself in a relaxing location. For example: Walking along the azure blue ocean bare foot in the warm sand.
- Visualizing one of your favorite places that you have visited either as a child or in more recent memory.
- If you are in the office take one moment to imagine yourself in a relaxing haven with a burning candle, and fragrant essential oils scenting the air.
- Think of your favorite bible promises.
- Get excited about your current interest, passion, or hobby.
Create a list titled: “Things that make me laugh”
When we are laughing it is impossible to experience the feelings of sadness or depression at the same time. The effects of laughter will last you for a awhile. According to Dr. Weil, even spontaneous "fake" laughter sends positive thought signals to your brain, and naturally releases the stress hormone cortisol.
Healthy activities to produce laughter:
- Watch a funny movie or a Weird Al music video
- Share a link to your favorite hysterical YouTube video’s
- Read a funny blog or book
- Force your self to smile and laugh
Create a list titled: “The best times of my life”
Often you may hear that the key to happiness is to stay in the present. To worry about the future or dwell on negative thoughts of the past is not beneficial, yet reflecting on the magic moments of your life will bring richness and meaning to your everyday existence. Today has potential for tomorrow's priceless memory's.
Cherish the joys and achievements of your past!
Goals and accomplishments
- Create a list titled: “My top accomplishments, honors and awards”
You can list items from your professional resume and/or expand to include accomplishments from your childhood (such as winning a dance contest or little league trophy).
Get excited about the future!
- Create a list titled “My top lifetime goals”
- Create a list titled “My top goals for the year”
Now that you’ve spent some time on these lists you can go back and insert digital pictures under your most meaningful list items to help you visualize these happy moments or future goals. This can be a lot of fun. Place an image in your digital frame that brings you joy and reflect on that thought.
Keeping a basic journal
Your basic journal is a record of your experiences and thoughts. This tool is very powerful for capturing life's treasures. We have so much power in the tone that is set in this daily or weekly journal. Is it one of gratitude with a spirit of adventure or is it one that is pessimistic and complaining? You are the author, see your life as a beautiful tapestry.
The author of The Happiness Project suggests only writing one sentence per day. This way you will not be tempted to procrastinate because of perfectionism, often the essence of the day can be captured in a one or two sentence summary or thought.
Keep a One-Sentence Journal
Get started now and stay clear of perfectionism
So what are you waiting for? When you get an idea to add to your lists try to jot it down quickly. As you read through magazines tear out inspiring pictures and place them into a folder or notebook. Your happiness journal will always be a work in progress.
© 2013 Rain San Martin
Nicole K on May 11, 2016:
I really love this idea! It would be very beneficial to look back at over the years and remember all of God's blessings.
Rain San Martin (author) from Fort Wayne on March 31, 2015:
I refer to my happiness journal throughout the year to celebrate the blessings in this life adventure. Sparkleyfinger, I appreciate the vote up and your comment.
Lynsey Hart from Lanarkshire on March 31, 2015:
This is a great idea! Everyone has some days where they feel a little low and useless. Being able to easily refer back to things to make you more positive and thankful will help the mood lift, I'm sure! I will definitely do this in preparation for some of my more moody days. Voted up and useful!
Rain San Martin (author) from Fort Wayne on June 24, 2014:
Sunil, I'm pleased that you found some useful ideas.
Sunil Kumar Kunnoth from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on June 24, 2014:
It is a wonderful idea. I will give it a try. Thank you for sharing dear. Keep on posting such informative ideas.
Rain San Martin (author) from Fort Wayne on March 19, 2014:
That's a smart discipline. I'd like to make a daily habit out of writing something I'm grateful for "every day".
thefedorows from the Midwest on March 18, 2014:
What a great idea! We do something similar called a thankful journal. After dinner we write something we're thankful for specific to that day and try not to repeat! When guests come for dinner, we ask that they write in it too. Thanks for sharing this idea.
Rain San Martin (author) from Fort Wayne on July 29, 2013:
Nice the hear that! You'll make the world a more positive place simply by reflecting on the good things of life.
jammin009 from visayas on July 29, 2013:
your article made me smile! thanks a lot! i have been writing happy thoughts in my journal recently. love this one-sentence journal idea so that only positive thoughts are written. =)
Rain San Martin (author) from Fort Wayne on July 08, 2013:
The best part of keeping a diary is it works like a mini time machine, transporting us back. When I journal I try to write with an eternal perspective, knowing that hard times pass. Thanks for the comment Chitrangada Sharan.
Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on July 07, 2013:
I like the idea of creating, 'A happiness journal.' I am into the habit of writing diary, but this is slightly different. It will be good to count the positives and will help to leave behind the negatives of LIFE.
Thanks for sharing an innovative idea!