Hiya Sweet Friend:
Do you love simple habits with awesome benefits?
Looking for something quick and easy to add to your routine that will uplift your spirits?
You’ve got to give gratitude journaling a go!
It’s the little activity with big benefits.
And all you need are a pen, some paper and a few minutes a day.
Here’s why I think you’ll love it (and how it’ll love you back)
Why I’m Gratitude Journaling
I recently pulled out my gratitude journal. It’s been sitting on my bookshelf for… oh goodness, who even knows how long! Was there a minor collection of dust on the cover? I’ll never tell! 😉
This was a long term, regular self-care activity for me for quite a while. But it fell to the backburner. And that’s totally ok! I’ve said it before, but I’m going to say it again – your self-care should fluctuate with your interests and needs. It’s ok to stop doing something if it’s not currently working for you. In my case, I think my journal simply fell to the wayside accidentally while I focused on other self-soothing things. (And boy oh boy, have we ever needed a ton of self-soothing since 2020, eh?)
It’s been a tough year and a half. Feeling grateful hasn’t always been easy. But, as I learned back in my early Graves Disease days, the times you struggle the most with gratitude are the best times to bust out your gratitude journal.
Practicing gratitude is about training your mindset.
A huge benefit of gratitude journaling is learning to marvel at all of the wonderful things in life. Whether they’re huge, or small. And, in my experience, the tiniest things are often the biggest and most wonderful when you learn to look at them with tons of appreciation. Practice makes perfect; after gratitude journaling for a while you will likely find that after a while you’ll be able to carry the essence of gratitude with you throughout the day.
Learning how to practice gratitude doesn’t mean that you’ll be happy all the time.
Good vibes only is impossible and, frankly, a toxically positive worldview. You’ll continue to experience an array of emotions throughout life. Feelings like sadness and frustration are normal and healthy to express.
A grateful mindset is not about denying your negative emotions. It’s about making it easier to find glimmers of goodness and feel grateful for them, even (and most especially) in those tough moments. The night sky is better for the stars, right? Your sad days are brighter when there’s little pieces of goodness to hold onto too.
I wish I’d thought of my gratitude journal again sooner.
I’m buzzing with gratitude for being fully vaccinated and able to go out again (as an immunocompromised person, I’ve spent A LOT of time at home… I never thought I’d be so happy to see the mall!) But, with my forgotten journal in hand, I’m pretty excited to dive back in and build up my grateful mindset back up.
How To Gratitude Journal
Gratitude journaling can be hard at first. There are no real rules. Grab some paper or a journal and write out whatever you’re feeling grateful for. Big or small. And that’s pretty much it. But figuring out what to write isn’t always easy. And that’s ok.
Not sure what kind of things to reflect on and write about? Here’s some ideas:
Did you cuddle with your cat this morning and smile at the adorable moment? That’s gratitude journal worthy.
Did you enjoy a nice walk during your lunch break? Boom, pop it in the journal.
Have a friend you watch movies with weekly that you adore? You get me, put that in your journal.
You can also add loved inspirational quotes, happy doodles, old memories that light up your face. Whatever makes you feel thankful.
Celebrating big, obvious things is wonderful and they definitely belong in the journal too. But the teeniest, tiniest seeming things deserve to be among your gratitude pages. Whether you write 3 things or 27 things, you’re doing great!
If you prefer to have prompts, you can buy gratitude journals full of fun ideas. But your standard blank journal works perfectly too. It’s all about whatever’s best for you.
Amazing Reasons To Gratitude Journal
1. SLEEP BETTER
Hands up if you’d like to fall asleep faster, sleep longer and feel better throughout the day? Sign me up, right? Well, it turns out that this is one serious benefit of practicing gratitude.
One study of 400 adults, 40% of which had sleep disorders, found that those who learned how to practice gratitude gained all the goodness I listed above.
Why? The benefits of keeping a gratitude journal include:
- More Positive Thoughts
- Fewer Negative Thoughts
I know this isn’t a math blog, but more good thoughts plus less bad thoughts equals a pretty awesome outcome, am I right? And a calmer mind is much better at catching those Zzz.
2. BOOST YOUR MOOD
Working on finding the silver lining can help to reduce worry and pessimistic thoughts, even when things get tough. (source)
Does it get even better? Heck yes it does!
You may also experience a boost in feelings of happiness and satisfaction. Gratitude journaling just three good things that happened to you every day can have a huge improvement on feelings of depression and overall happiness. And you can see these bonuses in as little as two weeks. (source 1, source 2)
3. BE MORE PATIENT
Learning to see the bright side doesn’t just boost your mood, it boosts your patience too. How cool is that?!
4. IMPROVE YOUR RELATIONSHIP
Spread gratitude like confetti. Without even trying!
It all has to do with taking time to feel thankful for the people you love. When you feel grateful for someone you start to feel more connected to them. And that can make your relationships feel more satisfying. (source)
Even cooler, telling a loved one that you’re grateful for them gives you an awesome boost in happy feelings (and does the same for them too). Be it in person, or in writing, there are some fantastic benefits to saying “hey, I appreciate you and everything you do!” (source)
So make sure to add a link in your gratitude journal about the people you appreciate in your life. And take the time to tell them too. <3
5. PRIORITIZE SELF-CARE
So this may seem like a stretch, but hear me out! Taking time to work on a grateful mindset can actually help you prioritize yourself and your needs. Seriously!
This study found that people who experienced higher levels of gratitude were more likely to make self-care a priority. Including important activities like exercise, enjoying nutrient dense foods and visiting the doctor.
It really looks like there’s a link between feeling grateful and taking care of yourself. Which is pretty amazing, because self-care is so incredibly important and we all deserve a little more of it.
6. ENJOY FEELINGS OF CONTENTMENT
Life comes with tons of ups and downs and lots of emotions. There’s absolutely no way to feel happy all the time. And that’s totally ok.
But working on a thankful mindset through gratitude journaling can help to create a general sense of contentment that, more or less, sticks with you.
According to Emma Seppälä, Science Director for Stanford Center For Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, Co-Director of Wellness for the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, happiness researcher and author of The Happiness Track:
“Gratitude is something that leads to much more sustainable forms of happiness, because it’s not based in that immediate gratification; it’s a frame of mind,” (source)
It’s all about that grateful state of mind, through the ups and the downs.
Practicing gratitude is about retraining your mindset and learning to marvel in awe at the goodness that surrounds you. Practice makes perfect; you will find that after a while you’ll be able to carry the essence of gratitude with you throughout the day.
Working on a grateful mindset through gratitude journaling doesn’t mean that you’ll be happy all the time. Life happens and feelings like sadness and frustration are normal and healthy to process and express. A grateful mindset is not about denying your negative emotions. It’s about making gratitude easier to get back to, simpler to find, and, in general, a feeling you can carry with you, even through the most difficult times. Gratitude journaling is a beautiful way to achieve that.
Have you tired gratitude journaling? Are you excited to give it a go? Share with me in the comments below.
Health and love,
HOW TO SUPPORT MSHEALTHESTEEM.COM
Ms. Health-Esteem wouldn’t be possible without you! I’m so grateful that you make it possible for me to share free weekly self-love, wellness and healthy lifestyle inspiration. Thank you!
If “6 Flipping Amazing Reasons to Start Gratitude Journaling” was your first Ms. Health-Esteem article, thank you tons for reading it and welcome to the Health-Esteem family <3.
Here’s how you can provide a little extra support:
Subscribe for freebies, extra inspiration, and much more!
Treat yourself to a $2.50 copy of Smoothie Love – How to Drink Your Fruits and Veggie and Love It. This 37 page recipe e-book PDF features 15 delicious recipes, a shopping list, beautiful photos, super simple instructions and tons of love.
Looking to promote something that aligns with Ms. Health-Esteem? Let’s talk about it