Gratitude is a way to look inside your life to appreciate everything that you have in your life, and keeping a gratitude journal affirms these beliefs and appreciations in your life.
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” – Proverb
But really, what exactly is gratitude?
Robert Emmons, in “Why Gratitude is Good?” states that “gratitude is an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received… We acknowledge that other people—or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset—gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.”
Is being grateful only for when you are feeling depressed?
Even if your life is going very well at the moment and you feel happy, taking a moment out of your day to focus on the things you can feel grateful for can really make a positive difference in your life.
How do you go about changing your attitude into a more grateful one?
Well, keeping a gratitude journal is an excellent way in which to record this gratitude in your life. In fact, there are so many reasons to think about what makes you feel grateful and happy in life.
Here are some of the reasons – some may surprise you!
1. Being grateful can change your brain and your thought processes.
In this busy and modern world with tragedies happening all around us and bad news being shown on the television, it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking in a negative way. This can do a lot of damage in how you perceive the world, your overall attitude and how you relate to others.
Many studies over the past decade have found that people who consciously count their blessings tend to be happier and less depressed.
If you choose to focus on the positive and to take the time to feel grateful for what you have, you are making a commitment to changing your thought processes for the better.
Instead of complaining about what is going wrong in your life, how about writing down what you are thankful for?
In this way, your subconscious mind is being told that it needs to operate in a more positive and productive way. Once you have kept a gratitude journal for a few weeks, you should notice your thoughts beginning to change.
2. You will see the glass half full instead of half empty.
Injecting optimism into your life can have profound effects on your mental health, how others perceive you and your self-worth.
Research has shown that adopting a more grateful attitude can definitely help you to reduce your stress levels and can even improve your overall mental, physical and emotional health, making you a more productive and happier member of society.
A happier mental state translates into a fitter person physically and a more adapt person socially. In other words, being grateful or gratitude can create happiness and alter your mood for the better,
“The connection between gratitude and happiness is multi-dimensional. Expressing gratitude not only to others but also to ourselves, induces positive emotions, primarily happiness. By producing feelings of pleasure and contentment, gratitude impacts on our overall health and well-being as well.” – Positive Psychology
3. Journaling can improve your sleep.
Not only can a gratitude journal help to improve your sleep, but it can also help prevent nightmares and allow you to dream of more positive things.
If you struggle with insomnia, nightmares or interrupted sleep, writing in your gratitude journal just before bed can help with this. It is a known fact that worrying about finances, relationships and other pressing issues just before bed can all contribute to feeling anxious and worried throughout the night.
Studies have shown that ending your day on a positive and more grateful note can set the tone for how you fall asleep and what you dream about. It therefore makes a lot of sense to take a few minutes out of your evening to invest in a better night’s sleep by journaling about what you are grateful for during the day.
4. Being grateful makes you stronger and better able to overcome adversity and obstacles in life.
It is obvious that it is very easy to feel grateful when things are going well in your life. But what about when you hit a rough patch and need to remain strong?
Writing in a gratitude journal on a daily basis – whether you feel positive or negative – can help to make you a stronger person and better able to overcome problems and obstacles in your life when they occur.
For instance, if you suddenly begin having problems at work but you have a strong daily gratitude routine already in place, your mind will be much more resilient and you will be less likely to break down at the slightest problem.
This is because keeping a gratitude journal helps you to access your inner calm and to connect with your inner sense of peace, which comes in handy when you need it the most!
5. You will thank yourself for it later.
If you think about the person you want to be in 5 years time, it is probably not a negative individual who complains about everything!
Everyone wants to be happy and if you start investing in this future happiness today, you can certainly become the contented individual you dream of becoming in a few years time.
“Enjoy the little things. For one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”– Robert Brault
6. You will be able to help others who are struggling in life.
Keeping a gratitude journal is not a selfish pursuit. Most people want to become more positive and stronger but feeling thankful can also help you to encourage others when they are struggling.
By encouraging someone who is feeling very negative about their situation to adopt a more positive attitude, you could create a chain reaction where that person could eventually help someone else in a similar situation and so forth! As they say, kindness is contagious and the world would be a better place for it!
Gratitude can also come in for of saying Thank-you to people in everyday life. The best part is that you feel good and the person your are paying the compliment to feels better as well.
If you can’t seen anyone right now, then writing Thank-You notes can also conjure happy feelings of gratefulness and gratitude for yourself and other people.
7. Being grateful can improve your overall health.
A negative thought process is dangerous, especially if this is one’s permanent way of thinking. Later on, if not addressed, it could cause depression, anxiety and low mood which can all result in problems that manifest themselves physically in the body. For example, if you are a pessimist and do not take time to record what you are grateful for every day, this excess worry could cause you to develop a stomach ulcer.
In this day and age, we want more of everything: more money, a better car, better house, newer clothes, etc. However, if we change this mindset and simply state how thankful we are for what we have, we can move away from never being happy with what we already have.
8. Keeping a gratitude journal is easy
“Recent evidence suggests that a promising approach is to complement psychological counseling with additional activities that are not too taxing for clients but yield high results. In our own research, we have zeroed in on one such activity: the practice of gratitude. “
We recommend that you take 10 minutes out of your day to retreat into a quiet place where you can work on your gratitude journal.
Think about what has made you happy, excited or content today and write it down. In this way, you are training your mind to be more optimistic about life. Soon, you should find yourself laughing, smiling and giggling much more!
“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”G.K. Chesterton