By Bryan Goodland
During difficult times, it’s hard to be grateful for the things that we have. It is easy to fall into a state of depression over the loss of anticipated expectations and events. An effective way to change a life outlook toward a more positive view is to start journaling. Specifically, a gratitude journal.
The benefits of journaling in general are well documented. The practice offers the ability to express and confront feelings on whatever topic the writer decides to tackle. Journaling can also serve as a historical record – evidence of conquered hardships and hurdled barriers. A journal is a written personal testimony of who we are and where we have been in life, but it can also serve as a tool to precipitate change and healing.
Gratitude journaling is a variant of traditional documentary journaling. Simply, gratitude journaling is a way to list all aspects of life for which one is grateful. Done daily, this practice can transform how one perceives the world. The practice in itself is fairly simple, but the results can be profound. The key to getting the best results is to practice the task daily.
The field of psychology has long recognized the benefits of gratitude. Mainstream media has caught up with the trend and has been reporting on its worth for the past few decades. According to the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, studies have shown that gratitude journaling can help with depression, relationships, self-esteem and even sleep. Prolific scientific evidence and media coverage support the notion that gratitude journaling, in the end, will help one feel better.
How do you do it? The most accessible entry into the world of gratitude journaling is to simply choose three things that one is grateful for. Many choose the evening to reflect on the events of the day, or mornings can be effective for reflecting on the previous day. All that is needed is a journal and pen to jot down thoughts. Dating the page helps to keep a historical record throughout the year. As far as what to write, that’s up to the individual. Gratitude ranges from things like a career, home, family or even a warm cup of coffee in the morning. The content isn’t as important as the practice.
Gratitude journaling is a habit that provides intangible value and substance to one’s life and happiness. The more one acknowledges the best parts of life, the fuller that life becomes.