Despite how it might sound, positive journaling isn't one of those sugar-coated techniques where you just sit around thinking happy thoughts. Rather, it's about focus and awareness.
A few months ago, I did an experiment where every morning for 30 days (to start with) I wrote in a journal in which I would focus on only two things:
It started with simple curiosity: "I wonder what effect it would have if I created a space where I focused only on positive things."
The first thing I discovered was that my brain started more actively noticing the positive, as if it were saying, "Uh-oh. I have to write about this stuff—I better start paying attention."
Second, incorporating gratitude journaling created a great reminder of how many things there are in my life to be thankful for. It helped keep things in perspective. (Here are some gratitude exploration prompts.)
Finally, though I tend to be a fairly optimistic person overall, the journaling shone a light on ways that I was getting in the way of seeing more of the positive in life.
Ultimately, the experiment had a significantly positive impact.
Don't take my word for it though. I could just be some windbag-guru full of hot air. Try the experiment yourself. Every day for 30 days (I found mornings worked best for me), keep a positive journal.
And if you do, let me know how it goes.
After years as a professional malcontent, Curt Rosengren discovered the power of passion. As a speaker, author, and coach, Rosengren helps people create careers that energize and inspire them. His book 101 Ways to Get Wild About Work and his E-book The Occupational Adventure Guide offer people tools for turning dreams into reality. Rosengren's blog, The M.A.P. Maker , explores how to craft a life of meaning, abundance, and passion.