Let’s face it. We can’t change our lives in only 5 minutes, can we? We’ll give you a tip. It gives you happiness and fulfillment 24/7, it is always with you and the best: It lasts forever. Already an idea? Gratitude. A powerful tool that can completely change your life. We met Kevin from Intelligent Change. This company produces the wonderful Five-Minute Journal, which has already helped millions of people to be more mindful and grateful in their everyday lives.
Why is it so important?
Here’s an advertisement you’ll never see. “Hey you don’t need our product. You don’t need to improve the core of who you are. You are whole. You are loved. You are right where you need to be. You are enough.”
So much of living in a market system is constantly being bombarded with messages that you always lack something. Never enough. You must get to the next thing. Improve this. Optimize that. Hack your career, relationships, fitness.
Gratitude is the antidote. To quiet that anxious voice. To add a different plot to the “never enough” narrative.
How did the company came up with the idea of the gratitude journal?
Originally, co-founder UJ Ramdas had a journaling practice that would take anywhere from 20-30 minutes per day with one of the components being writing down what you’re grateful for. His friend Alex Ikonn always wanted to get into journaling, but was not ready to commit to such an intense process. And thus an idea was sparked: How do you simplify journaling to a quick, but meaningful daily habit?
This would become The Five Minute Journal, a simple daily journal as the name suggests to be completed in about 5 minutes per day. 3 questions in the morning to get your day off to a great start and 2 questions at night to bookend your day on a high note. Aside from the daily gratitude question, we looked at the leading positive psychology research and based the other questions to help focus your mind on the good and set intention for the day.
How do you use the journal correctly?
We have two versions of the journal, the physical journal and an app. For the physical journal we recommend keeping it by your bedside so you do it first thing upon waking. For the app, you can set a notification reminder.
The morning section consists of three questions designed to focus on gratitude, set intention for the day, and form more positive thought patterns (daily affirmation).
Before going to bed, you fill the journal out to list the good things that happened during the day and one thing you could do to improve for tomorrow.
The main thing we tell people is to pause and really feel the emotion behind what you write down. Sometimes this takes a few extra moments, but experiencing the benefits of gratitude lies in the feeling, not intellectualizing it. This takes some practice, but is worth the long term payoff.
How can we use gratitude in our daily life? (Even if we are in a very grumpy mood… ;))
When everything is going good, it’s quite easy to feel grateful and on top of the world. But yes, what about those times when you got dumped, lost your job, had a fight with a friend, or feel like death?
Gratitude is not a replacement to cover up negative feelings. We highly recommend accepting and processing having a “bad” day and not trying to put on a positivity mask.
For the hard days, we recommend simply saying, “I’m grateful that I got through today. Yes, all this other stuff sucks, but this other stuff is still pretty great. I’m grateful I’m not beating myself up for having to feel a certain way about my bad day. Etc.”
On the hard days, gratitude becomes more a meditation tool for acceptance than anything.
Is gratitude the recipe for a fulfilled life?
We think so. As the saying goes, “If you can’t be happy with what you have, you won’t be happy with what you get.”
A recent study was done this year with 2,000 people who have a net worth of at least $1 million (including many whose wealth far exceeded that threshold) and they were asked how happy they were on a scale of one to 10, and then how much more money they would need to get to 10.
All the way up the income-wealth spectrum, basically everyone said they’d need two or three times as much to be perfectly happy.
Why? Constant comparison. Not just wealth, but also to attractiveness, height, and other things that people fret about.
In a very visual, Instagram heavy culture, it’s so easy to constantly focus on what you lack. To have FOMO. To think you should always be optimizing everything from your wealth to career to relationships to fitness routine. Hustle. Grind. “Become your best self” talk.
Again and again, we have to remind ourselves to play our own game. Celebrate what you DO have. Accept that you are doing the best you can. Accept that you are a constant work in progress.
There is certainly a time to look at yourself with a critical eye, but it must be balanced out with a grateful attitude…that is if you actually want to experience peace and contentment.
Thank you, Kevin, for the wonderful talk!
Do you also want to change your life?
Get your Five-Minute Journal now! Link Below.