Find something to be grateful for today. It doesn’t just make you feel happier, it also helps to improve your physical and emotional health.
When Bet Diening-Weatherston started to write her gratitude journal 13 years ago, she wanted to feel better about every aspect of her life and be a better role model for her two sons.
Every night she reflected on her day and wrote down 5 things/people/situations she was grateful for.
“I believe that gratitude attracts more gratitude, just as resentment draws in more resentment. It was a conscious choice I made to shift the energies in my daily experiences,” says Bet.
After keeping up with her regular practice for a while she started to notice that she had become much more positive about life. “I had less judgments and criticism floating around in my mind and I had became more compassionate and empathetic to those around me,” says Bet.
How science now confirms why gratitude is good for you
Gratitude journal is one of the easiest and (scientifically proven) effective ways to motivate yourself towards emotional and physical healing making you understand where you are at the moment.
|Emmons, the world’s leading expert on the science of gratitude, says that after 10 weeks of writing a few sentences each week on what had gone well, the participants were optimistic and felt better about their lives. Also, they exercised more and visited physicians less than the ones focusing on aggravation.|
They also proved more than a thousand people became more alive, optimistic and happy. And writing a journal created significant social benefits as people became more helpful, generous and forgiving and felt less lonely.
|The University of Stanford has proven the positive effect of gratitude journalling on stress management. And as a result provide a class focusing on daily gratitude journalling, meditation, forgiveness and sharing life successes. After the course, students show a 27% reduced stress level than prior to the class.|
Nurturing and healing relationships through gratitude
Gratitude journalling consists of acknowledging the good in life and understanding where that good came from. In the beginning it may be of a surface level not reflecting on where the gratitude came from but over time it becomes deeper and results in the long term improve.
Remember that it can also be affected by others and invisible forces around us giving us another perspective and causing us to become more helpful and forgiving towards other people creating compassion between people and healing relationships.
Bet learned that sharing her own gratitude with her sons Jorin and Connor encouraged them to do the same.
“We consciously spoke about how our family was a team, that the world is a big and overwhelming place at times, and that we wanted them to know that we, as parents, are always there for them.”
4 simple steps to get your gratitude journal going
- Find a notebook that would be comfortable enough to carry and to make daily notes in it whether you are on holiday or working.
- Start by writing down 5 good things that happened in one week. Be as precise and detailed as possible. Go for quality not quantity.
- After practicing writing gratitude once a week, upgrade yourself by journalling twice per week (or daily) at a concrete time – either first thing in the morning or last thing late at night before falling asleep.
- When you forget your diary, don’t skip the day – you can also count your blessings and list the good that happened in your mind. It’s all about creating a habit.
Bet started off effortlessly by having a journal book and pens/markers on the night table right beside her bed. Just before falling asleep each night, she picked her journal, closed her eyes and reviewed the day. Five things fell easily onto the page. Some years later Bet started to take her journal on her trips and to make it more inspiring, she started drawing. “I loved it!” she said.
Most people start by listing what they have recently received: food on the table, ability to walk, salary, house etc. This is all part of the subtle transition to a time when both receiving and giving and positive and negative become part of your gratitude journalling. Remember that challenges and problems in life help you grow – so be grateful for that difficult situation which taught you something you would have otherwise missed…
Tips from the world’s leading expert on the science of gratitude, Emmons
To excel at writing a gratitude journal:
- Imagine what your life would be without certain blessings, rather than just add up what comes to your mind.
- Focus on people who provided you with something to be grateful for, rather than on things.
- Remember the surprises as those tend to evoke stronger feelings of gratitude.
- Keep an eye on how you feel – when you write daily, you might adapt to positive events but also might not. When you feel that you are not being happy, adjust your writing frequency and find out the best for you.
- Decide to become happier today – when journalling, science proves this being more effective.
“Because of my years of expressing the things I am grateful for in life, my life has changed its focus completely. I am able to deal with the tough bits of life, see the gift in all of life’s experiences, and stay present and conscious in my actions. Gratitude has become one of the key foundational energies of how I choose to show up in life. I say “YES” to life knowing I will be grateful for what’s to come.”