Why Keep A Gratitude Journal?
Why keep a gratitude journal? In 2020, many people have suffered emotional, physical, and financial hardships. When experiencing challenges, it is easy to focus on the negative and lose sight of positive things. Keeping a gratitude journal is a good way to train our minds to focus on the positive. In 2003 a study conducted by Emmons and McCullough, found that keeping a daily gratitude journal lead to better sleep, reduction of pain, a greater sense of well-being and more resilience dealing with change. When we focus on good things, we are healthier and happier.
Experts recommend different ways to keep a gratitude journal. One approach is to take 5 minutes each day and write down a few things you are thankful for. A second option is to set aside 15 minutes once a week for two weeks to establish a pattern. A third approach is to write journal entries 3 times per week to make a positive change. Whatever approach you take, the key seems to be consistency. Training your mind to consistently focus on the positive.
The article by, Greater Good in Action, provides people with ideas on how to keep a gratitude journal. I have summarized their suggestions in the following list.
- Write down 3-5 things for which you feel grateful.
- Be as specific as possible.
- If you describe people in specific detail it has more impact than making a superficial list.
- Focus on people rather than things. We are more impacted by relationships.
- Be aware of subtraction, not just addition. Don’t just make a list of good things. Consider what life would be like without specific people or be grateful for negative outcomes you avoided.
- Enjoy surprises. Record events that are unexpected.
- Do not just write about the same things, consider different aspects of a person or situation.
- Honor your commitment to write regularly.
Most importantly, you don’t have to keep a perfect gratitude journal. Just get started!