How to use the Gratitude app effectively?
By Pritesh, maker of the Gratitude app
I built the Gratitude app out of a personal need. I was in a rut around 2 years back and I tried changing a lot of things hoping that these changes will get me out of it. Eventually, I realised that I need to focus my energy in changing myself. Just like Rumi’s quote: “Yesterday, I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today, I’m wise, so I’m changing myself.” In the pursuit of bringing a self-change, I read several books, watched videos and attended mind power workshops. And my biggest takeaway from this research was practicing gratitude. That’s how I took to Gratitude journaling. Being a tech savvy person, I went on to try journaling apps. But none stuck, so I built one. In this post, I would love to tell you on how you could use the app to practice Gratitude in an effective way while also giving a bit of a background on why I chose to build it like that.
Here are some of the questions that I’ll cover in the post
1. Writing your Gratitude.
I was very much influenced by the 28 day practice from the book “The Magic”. Day 1 in the book was about writing 10 things that you are grateful for. I loved how it provided a template and began with “I’m so happy and grateful for ‘what?’ because ‘why?’” I chose to use that in the app.
Once you open the app, and click the “+” icon to write your journal entry, you see this template. I would recommend you to try it while writing your gratitude. So, your entry could be “I’m so happy and grateful for my work because it helps me to pay for my daily expenses”. From my previous post, you would recognize that the why part is very important.
2. Personalize with colors and images
Colors really reflect your mood. The app pre-selects a color at random for you for every entry. You can choose to change it to your selection from the choices. Use the icon at the bottom left to change and select a color to reflect your mood. After a few journal entries, you’ll notice how your journal becomes colorful.
If you are someone who loves to take photos, you would love this feature. The app allows you to select a photo/photos from your Phone gallery or Camera to attach it to your journal entry. At times, if you can’t think of anything to be grateful for, simply use the photo feature and you’ll find a photo of a moment from your gallery that might strike as something to be grateful for. I do this quite often!
3. Write a Letter of Gratitude
At times, you might want to write a few words of appreciation or Gratitude to a family member, friend, colleagues or someone who made your day. The app has a feature of “Writing a Letter of Gratitude” that allows you to do this.
The app allows you to change the layout of your editor to a letter like layout. You can click the person icon at the bottom of the entry editor to change the layout from entry to letter and vice-versa. In the letter layout, you can address the person that you want to write your Gratitude to in the first section. And write your message about why you are grateful to that person in the second section.
4. Using the “Ideas”
The bottom right button on the editor screen is the Ideas section. Use this when you want to stretch yourself to think about newer things to be grateful for. Or if you struggle to find anything to be grateful for.
5. Edit the date on your Journal entry
Sometimes, we forget to write our Gratitude for that day. This happens especially when it gets late and it’s past midnight; so it’s a new day. You can use the clock icon to change the date to either yesterday or day before. The app doesn’t allow you to go past 2 days and edit the date on your journal entry.
If you want to practice Gratitude, it’s very important to take out a moment at least 3-4 days a week to look, express and write your journal. Postponing gratitude is natural and hence the app asks you to become more mindful by only allowing to go back a day or two. Make practicing Gratitude a daily ritual and avoid using this feature as much as possible ;)
6. Adding a Passcode lock
When I was looking for a journal to write, I needed something that could only be accessed by me. This is something that I have brought into the app. No login or signup or account creation is needed to use the app. All the app data is only accessible to you. As an addition, you should also set up a passcode lock in the app. This allows you to lock your journal and only open it yourself via biometric authentication or a passcode. Once you write your first few entries, make sure to protect it using this feature. You’ll find this feature from the left hand side drawer on the homescreen.
7. Set up Reminders
When I started practicing gratitude and keeping a journal, I would need frequent reminders to stop me from dwelling on the negativity and finding something that I was grateful for during the day. Reminders help! And you’ll love the app reminders because they come up with a random prompt question. During the day, the app reminder goes off and it asks me “What made you smile today?” It triggers me to search for those moments from the day and write about it. It’s an instant mood changer!
8. Daily Zen
Practicing Gratitude doesn’t guarantee that you won’t have to deal with a negative situation ever. Hard times are a part of our living. And during these times, we need some motivation or a quote to live by. Remember to take a moment and use the Daily Zen tab to ponder over the thoughts of the day. These are curated by me and it’s one of the favorite features of our app users. You can also use these to share them as your Whatsapp status or Instagram story or privately share to inspire others.
9. Look back through your journal
This is my favorite! Once in a while, especially if I’m having a rough day, I would open up the Gratitude app and read up some of my older entries. It reminds me and helps me to cherish those moments and how far along I have come in the journey. I remember looking at my journal recently and cherish my journey of building the Gratitude app. One of my first entries in the journal was about receiving the first 5 star app rating! :)
10. Positive Affirmations
Once you open up the app, you find a tab “Affirmations” on the home screen. This section was added later in the app. I found affirmations really useful to watch my self dialogue. I remember how I thought I was worthless and I wasn’t enough when I was in a rut. Affirmations help to become self aware about your inner dialogue. If you are already familiar with the Law of attraction and positive affirmations, go ahead and write a few of your affirmations. I would be writing about how to practice positive affirmations effectively in detail in the coming post.
These are great pointers to get you started with the app. I’m immensely grateful to you for choosing the Gratitude app and I’m sure you’ll find the app really meaningful in your journey. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.
Lots of love and gratitude!