There are several profound health benefits of journaling. Every minute of your day is used in the manner you choose, whether you think you have control over it or not. Today is based on a series of events and actions that have taken place in the past and have landed you right here, right now. Maybe you made some good choices that you are proud of. Maybe there were a few poor decisions that had a great impact on your life. Or maybe you were dealt a tough hand from the very beginning of your life.
The thing about gratitude is that it can still impact your life in incredible ways from the place where you are standing at this very moment. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been or where you are going. It is life-changing in this moment. In this article, we’re taking a closer look at the health benefits of journaling.
What is Gratitude?
Gratitude means being grateful or thankful. It means being able to show compassion and kindness and care toward others, toward yourself, toward a higher being, or toward life in general. A definition of gratitude needs to include appreciation – such as the appreciation of all the goodness in your life despite the hardships, struggles, and other negative aspects. There is always good to be found and those who practice gratitude can often find it. And, being thankful for that small piece of good can have a huge impact on your overall quality of life.
The Importance of Practicing Gratitude
Getting in the habit of practicing gratitude means that you will soon find your body and mind are feeling the benefits. It is true — gratitude can bring positive changes and transformation that you may have never otherwise imagined. These include:
Better overall mental health. You will find that toxic, negative emotions will begin to be outweighed by positive, happy emotions. In fact, many research studies have shown that feelings brought on by gratitude reduce depression.
Improved physical health. Studies show that those who regularly practice gratitude are more likely to care for their overall health and live longer lives.
Better sleep. Keeping a gratitude journal by your bed and jotting down a few things you are thankful for before going to sleep leads to better quality sleep.
Decreased aggressive, angry emotions. When you learn to look at the positive aspects of every situation, you begin to adjust your focus. This results in a reduction of negative emotions such as anger and aggression and replaces them with feelings of happiness, empathy, and even sensitivity.
Greater self-esteem. Gratitude helps you view everything in a more positive light – including yourself. You will find that the more you practice gratitude, the easier it will become to appreciate others and yourself. And, let’s face it – when your self-esteem begins to soar, so will you.
A reduction in stress. When you can truly see that there is goodness, you are no longer allowing yourself to get worried or worked up about things you cannot control. Guess what? You can control your ability to find gratitude in every moment.
How Keeping a Gratitude Journal Can Help
Practicing gratitude is one of those things that we know we should do – and need to do – but we don’t always find it so easy. We may have very good intentions, but in the middle of a tough moment, there is a low likelihood that you will stop and say, maybe I should take a moment to look at the things I am grateful for. Sure, it’d be wonderful if you could do this, but most of us are not wired that way. We need to get in the habit first. We need to practice. The more we do, the more we will find ourselves looking for that silver lining in every situation.
This is why a gratitude journal can help. It is a way of making your mind focus on the things you are grateful for every day. No, you may not stop in the middle of an argument to reflect on gratitude, but at the end of a rough day, you can look back over it and find things to be grateful for.
A gratitude journal should ideally be used every morning and every evening – as the perfect way to begin and end your day. Sit in the quiet for a moment and reflect on your day and your life in general. Then, write down at least 3 things you are grateful for.
That’s it. A task that doesn’t have to last longer than 5 minutes can have intense benefits on your life.
Creating Your Own Gratitude Journal
Now that you know just how powerful a gratitude journal can be, there is a good chance you want one, right? Great! Creating your own gratitude journal is simple – and it is the best way to bring positivity and light into your world.
Ready to get started? Let’s go!
- Find Yourself a Journal. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy at all. You can go buy a new one at the store or you can use an old notebook that you have left from school. Choose what is easiest for you – -as long as it has plenty of space to write. Remember, what matters most is not what the outside looks like, but the words written inside.
- Determine When You Will Practice Gratitude. Will it be in the morning? At night? Both? During your lunch hour? You are trying to develop a habit so you need to find a time during your daily routine that will allow you to do that.
- Choose Your Method of Gratitude Journaling. You are showing gratitude for 3 things, but it is up to you if those 3 things are just general things, or 3 fantastic things that happened during the day today, or 3 things that will make your day great (if journaling in the morning), etc.
Starting a gratitude journal is taking a step toward a positive future. It is not easy to make changes to your life, even when you know it will have great benefits. But, setting yourself up for success is the perfect place to start.
Get your gratitude journal, keep it where you will remember to use it, and watch the powerful transformation that happens.