The Five Minute Journal ~ Practicing Gratitude Every Day ~ Part 2
We’re back with Part 2 of our special series on The Five Minute Journal.
In case you missed my post last week, we’re talking about gratitude and how to transform your life by writing in the Journal five minutes a day.
Creators of the journal, Toronto based UJ Ramdas and London based Alex Ikonn, are inspiring, thought-provoking guys. I recently sat down with UJ to find out more about The Five Minute Journal and why he and Alex wanted to share it with the world.
KK: How did you come up with the idea for The Five Minute Journal?
UJ: Alex and I were taking a hike on a summer day. Conversation drifted from business and marketing to morning and night rituals. We already had established morning rituals at the time, but Alex was curious about my night ritual, which involved journaling in a very specific way.
As I explained the process to him and what I wrote out by hand every night, he said, “This sounds great, but I’m too lazy to write out the process every day. How about we create a journal so we can share this process with others?”
Right then, a lightbulb went off. The idea was born.
KK: You encourage people to write in the Journal immediately upon waking and before going to sleep. Why do you think those two times of the day are ideal for practicing gratitude?
UJ: Most people decide within the first thirty minutes of waking how their day will go. If they can consciously begin to think and feel good as soon as they wake up, it can completely change how their day flows. Building a habit of gratitude as soon as you wake up can have a powerful effect on not just you but on your partner, family, and friends as well.
It’s the same when the day ends. The beginning and the end of the day are perfect times to reflect on what is truly important for us. It seems during this time, our minds are more open to change.
You’ll find in personal development literature that there’s consistent emphasis on focusing on your goals as soon as you wake up and before you go to bed. People who are effective at what they do have an intuitive sense of this truth and use it to their advantage.
KK: How has gratitude helped and shaped you personally?
UJ: When I was about 11, I read a book called The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. That book left a lasting impact on me and how attitude can make a big difference. Gratitude to me is living in the abundance of the present moment. To be totally and completely present to the richness of life. Of the luxury of the senses. To drink in all that life has to offer. Every second.
It’s shaped me in ways I couldn’t even really express in words. I believe it has brought me everything I cherish. Better still, it allows me the ability to cherish deeply.
KK: You created the Journal with your friend, Alex Ikonn. How was it working on such an inspiring project with a friend?
UJ: It’s been great! Our values align, which I think is important in any partnership. We’ve always been able to have honest and open conversations, which really helps decision making. We also have complementary strengths, which is ideal.
KK:I love that you begin each page with an inspiring quote. One that really reached out and grabbed me is by Albert Pike, “What we have done for ourselves dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” What are you hoping to give the world with this Journal?
UJ: The most powerful beliefs that we can have is, “I am responsible for my happiness.” We designed the Journal to build that belief, so people could share joy and love and priceless moments with people they really care about. The world would be a better place if every person used The Five Minute Journal.
KK: I enjoy each part of the Journal process, but the “3 Amazing things that happened today” question has taught me that the smallest, seemingly insignificant thing can be amazing. Planting that seed and getting people to notice amazing things is such a gift. Do you think we can take that a step further and say that when we start to see amazing things, more amazing things will happen? We attract them? It’s a powerful idea.
UJ: There a concept in positive psychology called “priming the brain.” Researchers found that when participants in a study were told they were going to watch their favorite movie, the neurotransmitter linked to pleasure increased significantly in anticipation of watching the movie.
Our attention creates our reality. The interesting thing is that when we really pay attention, it’s the smallest, seemingly insignificant things that make us feel great – the smell of fresh cut grass, a kind gesture or a song that brings back memories. Building the habit of reflecting on what brings us joy creates more joy.
KK: Besides the obvious things like your parents, friends, loved ones, etc. Share with us five things that you are grateful for.
UJ: My bed. I love sleep.
Breathing. I hear that’s the secret.
My meditation practice. It’s where I find my zone.
Physical training. I love working out with kettlebells.
Leave a comment below telling us what you’re grateful for. Be creative. Dig deep. Pull out something that’s made you you and share it with us. We’ll be grateful to learn more about you.
Five winners will be chosen at random and announced on Monday, August 19, 2013!
You can also get a copy of the Journal by clicking here. Be sure to enter the code “karena” at the checkout to receive a 10% discount. The Journal also makes a thoughtful and unique gift for someone you’re thankful for.