Keep the Thanksgiving Spirit Alive All Year Round With a Gratitude Journal
At Thanksgiving, people around the country gather at tables filled with a bounty of food and take turns telling each other what they are thankful for. This is a great tradition, but these sentiments are usually expressed in the moment, and fade as the day wears on. What most people don’t know is that they can improve their own sense of well-being year-round by expressing gratitude daily. One of the easiest ways to do this is by keeping a daily gratitude journal.
Remembering to Be Thankful Daily
Expressing gratitude has been shown to improve one’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It enables a person to more effectively cope with stress, handle adversity, and focus on the positive. A gratitude journal has been shown to ease depression and improve your general outlook on the world. The trick to making it work, however, is remembering to use it every day. Keep it by your bedside, with a pen nearby. That way, you can make a practice of jotting something down every night before bed or every morning when you wake up. Keeping your gratitude journal in sight, and in the same place all the time, makes it easier to remember to use it.
As you get into the habit of using your journal, you will notice that your thinking is starting to change. You will begin to focus less and less on the negative things that happen in your life, and instead begin noticing the good things that you experience every day throughout the year. Eventually a good vibe will begin to flow through you on an almost automatic basis, cheering you up on a day that otherwise might have been just another day to get through.
Gratitude Tools Get Overlooked
Gratitude may be one of the most overlooked tools that can help every one of us, whether wealthy or downtrodden, to improve our inner feelings about ourselves. It doesn’t cost a cent and doesn’t take much time, but the benefits that can result can pay back the effort in spades. Research has shown that gratitude journals can offer benefits such as:
- Improving physical as well as mental health
- Enhances empathy for others
- Can improve relationships and open the door to start more of them
- It can help reduce aggression
- Grateful people have less trouble sleeping
- It can help improve your self-esteem, which leads to a multitude of positive feelings and can help foster resilience in tough times
Give It a Whirl
Try it. Get yourself a blank notebook and maybe a special, or colored, pen to use only when writing in your gratitude journal. Then just start writing. Every day. Sometimes you may only have a sentence or two to write and that’s fine. Other days, something fantastic may have happened and you’ll want to record every bit of it. That’s fine, too. The key is to get into the habit of writing at least something you are grateful for every single day. It isn’t nearly as hard as it might seem, and it gets easier every single day. Eventually you will get so that you look forward to writing in your gratitude journal.
Keeping a gratitude journal, writing a thank-you note, or thanking someone in person are all effective ways to avoid negative thinking and make your world a more positive place.