Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others
Keeping a gratitude journal has been proven to have positive impact on individuals. Unlike keeping a normal daily journal a gratitude journal requires just a few highlights from your day.
The benefits include*
- Individuals exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week.
- Individuals more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based).
- With young adults-gratitude journaling resulted in higher reported levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy compared to a focus on hassles or a downward social comparison (ways in which participants thought they were better off than others).
- Individuals who kept gratitude journals were found to help others who had personal problem or offered emotional support.
- With neuromuscular disease, keeping 21-day gratitude journal resulted in greater amounts of high energy positive moods; a greater sense of feeling connected to others; more optimistic ratings of one’s life, and better sleep duration and sleep quality*.
How to keep a gratitude journal
Each night before you go to sleep write down five items that:
- make you happy or
- have made you happy
These can be anything from small to big things e.g.
- “Had a great meal”
- “Saw Alice and Tim”
- “I have two lovely kids who I love”
- “The sun was out today”
- “I helped a lady cross the road today”
You will repeat some of the items, but what is important is keeping that feeling fresh and alive.
* Research by Emmons and McCullon.