Why Gratitude Journaling is Good for your Health
As a freelance writer, I’ve been journaling for most of my life. Since I can’t afford therapy, I’m sure you can imagine just how many journals I have poured my heart and soul into over the years.
So, when the inevitable happens and I’m down to the final page, there are few things I love more than a leisurely trip to a local bookstore to see what new journals they have to choose from. It’s an exciting new chance to select one that calls to me to begin the next chapter of my life.
While the benefits of journaling about daily inspirations, life’s little lessons, or positivity in general, are fairly well known to most of us, this weird and not-so-wonderful time in history has skyrocketed Gratitude journaling straight to the top of The Self Care Bucket List.
What is Gratitude Journaling really all about?
My Latest Gratitude Journal - Always Believe Something Wonderful is About to Happen
Photo Credit: S.E.Linn
Practicing daily gratitude is really about conditioning yourself to bask in being completely present.
Noticing the heady scent of strong coffee as you bring the cup to your lips and that feeling of warmth as the mug warms your hands.
Enjoying the last few morning moments in bed and feeling how soft your sheets are on your skin.
Choosing that extra minute you decide to stay in a delicious, hot shower before getting ready for work.
And Gratitude Journaling is one of the simplest ways to improve your mood and sense of well-being because when you shift your mind to ‘thankful mode’ it is impossible to think negatively.
So, this just happened. My teenager always uses the last square of toilet paper and doesn’t remember to replace it with a new roll. Instead of being annoyed, I thought – I am so grateful that I stockpiled hundreds of 3-ply Charmin 24 packs during Covid times even if I am the only one who swaps out the empty rolls.
See? That one tiny grateful thought just literally saved a young life. And now I’m a hero.
But is there an actual Science behind it?
According to world-renowned psychologist Martin Seligman, gratitude is one of the 10 most positive emotions and is right up there with joy, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, and love – all those juicy, feel-good vibes that inspire our utmost creativity and turn on our happiness taps.
But why is gratitude really such a powerful emotion? Well, it turns out that being conscious of what you are thankful for is scientifically good for your health.
5 Real Health Benefits of Gratitude Journaling:
1. Daily gratitude practices can lower blood pressure, improve immune function, and facilitate more efficient sleep. (Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at UC Davis)
2. Expressing gratitude reduces fatigue and depression and boosts your overall sense of well-being.
3. Promotes stronger resilience against high-stress situations, lower blood pressure, better heart health, and raised immune function – positive emotions allow us to bounce back from stressful events and to find positive meaning in negative experiences.
4. Increased performance and engagement – When you are feeling gratitude and joy at work and are able to handle stress with more ease, you will be more likely to do a better job and therefore have higher job satisfaction and take pride in your work.
5. People who keep a gratitude journal have a reduced dietary fat intake — as much as 25% lower. Stress hormones like cortisol are 23% lower in grateful people. And having a daily gratitude practice could reduce the effects of aging on the brain.
Our world is in a strange time of transition right now, so there’s no time like the present to celebrate life’s little moments that might get overlooked.
This Oprah quote nails it…
‘Every morning when I open my curtains for that first look at the day, no matter what the day looks like—raining, foggy, overcast, sunny—my heart swells with gratitude. I get another chance.’
Every day above ground is a good day! And when you start to journal about what you are thankful for, you will condition yourself to notice the tiny things in life that bring you joy…and soon you will be on the lookout for more and more.
And if that’s not something to be thankful for, what is?!
Comment below and let us know if you have a gratitude journal or if you're ever tried journalling yourself!