There is much scientific evidence supporting the benefits of a Gratitude Diary. I have started a gratitude journal in the past and this year I am determined to keep up my practice. I have set myself the goal of writing 3 items in my Gratitude Diary each evening. I document positive events that have occurred for me during my day.
My aim is to maintain my Gratitude Diary until it becomes a habit. It’s a peaceful time to reflect on my day and to note what has gone well. Even on the most challenging of days we can find 3 items to add to the Gratitude Diary.
Benefits of a Gratitude Diary
- Well-Being: Grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and stress.
- Exercise: Those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).
- Empathy: People with a strong disposition toward gratitude have the capacity to be empathic and to take the perspective of others. They are rated as more generous and more helpful by people in their social networks (McCullough, Emmons, & Tsang, 2002).
- Materialism: Grateful individuals place less importance on material goods; they are less likely to judge their own and others success in terms of possessions accumulated; they are less envious of wealthy persons; and are more likely to share their possessions with others relative to less grateful persons.
- Connection: Grateful people are more likely to acknowledge a belief in the interconnectedness of all life and a commitment to and responsibility to others (McCullough et. al., 2002).
- Focus: The process will help you focus on what really matters.
- Self-awareness: Keeping a gratitude diary will help you learn more about yourself.
- Positive Vibe: A useful tool to use if you are feeling down. Shift your energy back to a positive vibe by reading your Gratitude Diary and seeing everything that you are thankful for.
- Goal Attainment: People who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based).
- Helping Others: Those that kept gratitude journals were more likely to report having helped someone with a personal problem or having offered emotional support to another, relative to the hassles or social comparison condition.
A few tips for maintaining a Gratitude Diary
- Purchase a beautiful book or diary to acknowledge the significance of your Gratitude Diary. A special place to record and journal.
- Plan to write your Gratitude Diary every night before bed. I find it easier to write at night so that I can reflect and process my day.
- Keep your Gratitude Diary to hand so that it is easily accessible at night such as by your bed.
- Set a number of things you are going to record each night. It can be between 3-10 items.
- Record whatever you are thankful for and it may differ from everyone else. This is your personal diary so record your own personal thoughts. It doesn’t have to be deep thoughts. You can record simple things such as “family”, “sunshine” and “this evening’s dinner”. Just record what feels right for you.
- Challenge yourself to come up with something new each day. Remember tiny things can have an effect such as noticing a rainbow, seeing new leaves on the trees. Be fully aware during your day and acknowledge these items in your diary.
- Have a gratitude partner. To establish healthy habits it is useful to share with others. Find a like-minded friend who you can share your Gratitude Diary and discuss the effects of the diary.
The best time to start your Gratitude Diary is NOW! Give it a go and experience the benefits for yourself.
“Gratitude opens the door to…. the power, the wisdom, the creativity of the universe. You open the door through gratitude.” ~ Deepak Chopra