Gratitude is good for you: that’s a fact. It’s backed by science and advocated by Dalai Lama, Ophra and more. One of the ways to show thankfulness daily and making it a positive habit is by keeping a gratitude journal.
Gratitude Journal VS regular journalling
For some people, opening a blank page and pouring out your soul comes naturally to you – but for others, it doesn’t. Starting a Gratitude Journal is the answer to those who struggle with regular journalling. Regular journaling is also a great way to improve your wellbeing, but keeping a Gratitude Journal simplifies things. It focuses on jotting down the things you are grateful for and can help focus those thoughts every day. It’s a great habit to get in to – and you’ll have a collection of inspiring material to look back on when you need a bit of inspiration.
So, let’s talk about the benefits of a Gratitude Journal…
It shifts your perspective to positivity
It’s easy to fall into negative thought patterns, to lean towards negative thoughts and emotions. By sitting down and writing down what you’re thankful for, naturally over time you’ll become more positive. You won’t have to force it as much, giving less power to negative emotions and redirecting them. Writing down the positive things can also help make them feel more real, instead of thinking about what might happen. You’ll find yourself looking for the good things in life more often!
“When you seek out and focus on your blessings, they grow in significance, your experience of them is amplified and, by virtue of a positive feedback loop, gratitude opens the door to greater gratitude.” – says Sara Palmer Hussey
Your self esteem will improve
Journaling is personal and it will help reduce social comparisons as you’re more likely to focus on what you’re thankful for, rather than being resentful of others. Also, by listing your achievements and positive things, you’ll be internalising them and giving them the good recognition they deserve… leading to you feeling more confident and self assured in your successes.
You may also find yourself becoming more empathetic towards others. “Training ourselves through gratitude to become more empathetic and to recognise kindness in others makes us more likely to reciprocate with kind behaviour and emotional support, which engenders more positive relationships. If we concentrate on all the positive things others give us, it will encourage us to evaluate and increase our level of reciprocity in personal relationships, thus strengthening our social ties, as well as reducing feelings of resentment and envy” says Sara Palmer Hussey
You’ll feel happier
By writing down the good things in life, you’ll enjoy those good experiences more, will have more positive relationships and will overall feel better about life! Showing gratitude leads to a release of dopamine and serotonin, the neurotransmitters make us feel good and therefore ease feelings of anxiety and depression. Research says that giving thanks makes you happier.
It’s a stress buster
Focusing on the good, instead of ranting about the bad, in the long run will help improve your feelings of contentment and you’ll find yourself unconsciously looking the good in your day. You’ll feel more grounded and ready to deal with the world because you take better care of yourself. You’ll be more mindful and more present, looking for the joys in every day life and build up your resistance for dealing with uncertainties and when things go wrong.
It could help you sleep better
By reminding yourself of positive experiences from the day, you’re less likely to linger on your worries before going to sleep. Therefore, your mind will be clearer, and it may be that little bit easier to get that good night’s sleep we’re all craving.
Not sure where to start? Here’s how…
Firstly – there’s no right or wrong way to do this, but here are just some general tips to help you get started.
- Start easy: plan to write in your Gratitude Journal only once or twice a week. You can build this up when you’re feeling more confident.
- Make time: Carve out 15 minutes before bed to write down your thoughts. Get comfortable, pick up a pen (or whatever device you’re using to record this…).
- Put it in the schedule: this could be a time or a step in your routine, but make it part of your routine so you don’t forget or put it off. A reminder on your phone is helpful!
- Start writing: Start by writing five things for which you feel grateful for. This could be an event, an experience, a person, or a thing in your life. Think about the emotions that come with it.
- Consider subtractions, not just additions: think about what your life would be life without certain things or people, or negative situations and outcomes you avoided and turn these into something positive.
- Get personal: try and focus on people, rather than just the things you’re grateful for.
Remember: good things in life are gifts…. Savour the ones you’ve received.
- How are you feeling today?
- What have you achieved?
- What went well?
- What could have gone better?
- What could you have not got through the day without?
- What are you looking forward to?