Let’s Talk Gratitude
We have all experienced a feeling of gratitude, the practice of being thankful and showing appreciation, from time to time.
What would happen if we evoked this emotion on a regular basis? Can you imagine the impact on our lives if we mindfully experienced gratitude every day?
What Does the Research Say?
People who practice gratitude describe themselves as overall happy because they have developed the skill to see the world in a more positive light. Practicing gratitude actually trains our brains to be more positive. So, even during times of difficulty, grateful people can more easily find the good in the situation and feel happier.
This all sounds great, right? But how do we do this? One way we can bring more gratitude and positivity in our daily lives (and especially in tougher times) is to practice gratitude journaling.
Gratitude journaling is simple! All you have to do is write down things that you are grateful for. That’s it! In order to maximize the benefits:
- Really make an effort to make the conscious decision to be happier and more grateful.
- Be specific about what you’re grateful for. For instance, it is more impactful to write, “I am grateful that my friend brought me soup when I was sick on Tuesday” instead of, “I am grateful for my friend”.
- Focus on people you are grateful for over things for which you are grateful.
- Try to record events that were unexpected or surprises as these usually bring about stronger emotions.
- Don’t overdo it. Research has shown that it is more effective to practice gratitude journaling 1- 3 times a week instead of daily.
The Take Home Message
Basically, when we force ourselves to focus on the good things in life we’d otherwise take for granted, we can’t help but to become happier and more grateful in our lives! There are some other benefits too. Gratitude improves physical health, psychological health, helps people to feel calmer and less stress, enhances empathy, reduces aggression, improves sleep quality, and improves self-esteem.
Grab a journal, use an app on your phone, a scrap of paper, or anything you can write on because there is no right way to gratitude journal. You can journal in the morning or at night. The only rule is to establish the habit of paying attention to gratitude-inspiring events.
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