Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others
Keeping a gratitude journal has been proven to have a positive impact on individuals. Unlike keeping an ordinary 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 are more likely to progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal, and health-based).
- With young adults-gratitude journaling resulted in higher reported positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness, and energy.
- Individuals who kept gratitude journals were found to help others who had a personal problem or offered emotional support.
- With neuromuscular disease, keeping a 21-day gratitude journal resulted in:
- More significant amounts of high energy positive moods
- Greater sense of feeling connected to others
- More optimistic ratings of one’s life
- 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
- 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 essential is keeping that feeling fresh and alive.
* Research by Emmons and McCullon.