Starting a gratitude journal only takes a few minutes a day but it can make a world of difference. I’ve included some interesting TED talks to help explain how gratitude helps. Read on to find out how.
Firstly, what is gratitude?
According to the Oxford English Dictionary ‘gratitude’ means:
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“The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”
Secondly, what is a journal?
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a personal journal is:
“A daily record of news and events of a personal nature; a diary.”
So, how do you start a gratitude journal?
Easy! You need a book to write in, preferably a pretty one, a pen or pencil and 5 minutes a day. A lot of people like to write their gratitude down before bed. Aim for at least 3 things.
Try to find new things every day, but, feel free to repeat things regularly. It works best if you explain why you are grateful for that thing.
It is often a good idea to reflect on your notes at the end of a week and see what you were grateful for that week. Did you miss anything? Is there a theme?
Finally, why should you start a gratitude journal?
1. Gratefulness makes us happier!
There is more and more science that backs this up and happiness is important because it makes us more productive, healthier, creative and it is contagious to other people. Read more on this in the ‘5 life-changing reasons you should try to be happier’ blog post.
We have already shared this video in the post ’14 must-see TED talks to understand happiness’ but, if you haven’t watched this video now is the time to do so.
2. Gratitude builds resilience
Resilience is ‘the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness”. When you practice gratitude frequently it is easier for your brain to tap into what is good in your life when difficult times hit, Making it easier for you to move past them.
Want to learn more? Check out this podcast:
3. Practicing gratitude helps us find the silver lining
There is always a lesson to be learned or a silver lining of some kind in every bad situation. In saying that it is not always very easy to find. Finding the silver lining is like a muscle we need to train for it to grow.
Regularly keeping a gratitude journal can help us do this. On bad days we are forced to find three things we are grateful for regardless. It helps us get more creative, think outside the box and find the lessons that are sitting in front of us, waiting to be found.
4. Gratitude helps you appreciate your body more
When you practice gratitude daily you start to find new things to be grateful for. One of these is your body. Because, well, it is amazing! You appreciate life more and you become more thankful that you have this wonderful body that holds you here and you want to look after it more.
Aligning your mind and body in this way helps motivate you to eat a healthier diet, exercise more and pamper yourself. You then kick yourself into a positive mind-body alignment cycle and continue to gain more energy and look after yourself better, the cycle continues.
5. Gratitude accentuates the joys of life
When we are writing down our three gratitudes in the evening we are re-living them for those 5-minutes. We can feel the positive emotions return.
If we write our gratitudes in more detail and explain why we were grateful it is easier to re-live them again later down the track. They might even be things we would have completely forgotten had we not written them down.
Instead of just living something good once we have now supercharged it so we can relive it again. It is also a good tool to have nearby when you are feeling down. Simply pick it up and flood yourself with goodness to help yourself feel better.