Did you know that practicing gratitude can produce a remarkable 35 percent reduction in depressive symptoms?
Gratitude is consistently and strongly linked with a greater sense of well-being. And a gratitude journal allows you to create time and space to reflect on all you might be grateful for in life.
Do you want to know more about how to practice gratitude? Continue reading to learn how to journal, as well as seven excellent benefits of writing down what you’re grateful for.
1. Lower Stress Levels And Reduce Anxiety
We create a lot of anxiety and stress by wasting our precious time regretting the past and worrying about the future. A gratitude journal can help you come into the present moment by acknowledging the good things you have in your life right now.
In terms of science, practicing gratitude lowers the stress hormones in the body. And the brain also releases the chemicals serotonin and dopamine when we express gratitude. These two neurotransmitters are responsible for regulating mood and are essential for your mental well-being.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a mental health crisis. A 2021 study found that mature gratitude is a great coping mechanism, allowing anyone and everyone to reframe life through a positive lens.
2. Greater Satisfaction With Life
By practicing gratitude, you’ll enjoy a better mood and be more at peace with whatever life gives you. There is a large body of research in the field of positive psychology which links gratitude to greater happiness and life satisfaction.
A simple act of gratitude can cause an upward spiral in your whole life. Spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle wrote, “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”
Focusing on the positives instead of the negatives will have a significant effect on your mental health. Even on the darkest days, we can all still find something to be grateful for.
3. Better Sleep
You can also enjoy an improvement in sleep by noticing and appreciating the gifts that life gives you. Writing in a gratitude journal in the evening can help calm the mind and release tension, setting yourself up for a better night’s sleep.
Research shows that being grateful can boost your sleep quality and duration. Sleeping issues are often linked to anxiety, and practicing gratitude can help you avoid going to bed ruminating over conversations. Positive thoughts can gently send you into sleep, instead of spending hours driving yourself mad about all the things you hate about your annoying coworker Jenny.
4. Create Healthier Relationships
Relationships in your life will thrive by recognizing their value. Gratitude encourages us to be more generous with our family and friends. The famous Tibetan Buddhist leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, said, “When you practice gratefulness, there is a sense of respect towards others.”
Expressing that gratitude to another can strengthen the relationship because it shows them that you care. You’re creating a loving and kind environment for all your relationships to flourish.
By recognizing the goodness in others, we pave the way for future acts of kindness. A gratitude journal not only helps you think more positively, but it will impact the people around you too.
5. Decrease Materialism
Despite what all those advertisements may tell you, material objects are not necessarily helpful for achieving happiness. In fact, materialism is linked to anxiety and depression.
Materialism and gratitude run in different directions. Those who are more grateful tend to be less materialistic. Meanwhile, materialism feeds upon your craving for fulfillment.
A 2018 study showed that practicing gratitude not only reduces materialism, but also increases generosity. People who kept a gratitude journal gave 60 percent more to charity.
6. Boost Your Self-Esteem
A tremendous benefit that is often overlooked is that people who practice gratitude are more likely to have higher self-worth and self-esteem.
When you acknowledge the goodness in others, it becomes easier to acknowledge that goodness in yourself too. A gratitude journal can help reduce envy towards others, instead choosing to celebrate your everyday life and all the gifts and people that come your way.
Gratitude can play a massive role in boosting your confidence. It can significantly reduce that familiar feeling of lack that human beings typically try to shake off with material objects. Practice gratitude and your self-esteem will be better than ever.
7. Enjoy Physical Health Benefits
We’ve touched upon the psychological benefits of gratitude. But there are also some fascinating physical health benefits.
Grateful people are healthier than their less grateful counterparts. A 2012 study found that grateful individuals experience better health because of their greater psychological health and inclination for healthy activities.
As well as better sleep, practicing gratitude is also believed to improve cardiovascular health, inflammation, and pain perception. However, further research is needed to examine the relationship between gratitude and physical health.
How To Get Started On Your Gratitude Journal
You can’t get started without something to write in. Your phone is an option, but it’s much nicer to get it down on paper. PAPAYA has a wide range of beautiful journals that are fit for this purpose.
Put on some relaxing background music and take some time alone to think. It can be challenging if you’ve never done it before but try to let the gratitude flow. Even if it’s just a smile or a flower, there’s plenty to be thankful for.
There’s no right or wrong way to keep a gratitude journal, but you can try a few different methods. See what resonates with you:
- Write down three things from your day that you’re grateful for
- Journal about people you’re grateful for
- Write a gratitude letter or a thank you note to someone
- Take time to be grateful for your remarkable body and your senses
- Consider what your life would be like without certain people or things, and be grateful for the negative outcomes that you’ve avoided
Show A Little Gratitude
Now you know how to practice gratitude, and there’s no better time than today to experience the wonderful benefits for yourself. Your mental health will thank you. For maximum effect, write regularly in your gratitude journal.
If you enjoyed this article about the benefits of gratitude, you should take a look at more of our fabulous lifestyle blogs.