Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, it is a good time to talk about gratitude. Most of us have heard all our lives to be thankful for what you have – especially when faced with a crisis. I say – be thankful for what you have every day. In fact, keep a gratitude journal and see how much it improves your outlook on life.
Research shows that being thankful is very beneficial to your well-being in so many ways – and has become a popular tool used by individuals who are focusing on self-improvement.
I have to admit this makes me feel very wise since over 30 years ago, I told my 21-year old daughter who was a very long way away from home and struggling with challenges and homesickness, “Every night before you go to bed, take a few minutes and write down three good things that happened during the day,” which she did – and it made all the difference.
Today, I am sharing this same wisdom with you. Below are five reasons to keep a gratitude journal:
- It Can Change Your Thinking Patterns
You are probably already aware of the strong mind-body connection. When we feel stressed, anxious or drowning in negative emotions, it has negative effects on your physical health
When you change your focus and think about the things, events, and people you are thankful for – the good in your life, you create positive thoughts and feelings that help reduce stress levels – and reminds you that regardless of what happens, there are always reasons to be thankful.
Commitment to keeping a daily gratitude journal refocuses your mind on positive events, conversations and relationships. It enables you to see beyond just negative experiences that can fill your mind and dominate your thoughts when they happen.
It also changes your thought patterns because your limiting beliefs will begin to weaken and you will start to push boundaries on a regular basis.
Keeping a gratitude journal and reviewing it regularly not only expands your mind, it improves your general outlook on live and increases self-confidence. It literally opens your mind, heart and soul to vast new possibilities.
- It Can Improve Your Health
The mind-body connection works in both directions. As you focus on positive thoughts and feelings of gratitude through a journal, your physical and mental health will also improve
Studies have shown that regular gratitude journaling can:
- Relieve stress and anxiety
- Improve sleep
- Broaden and clarify perspective
- It Can Make You More Optimistic
When your mind if full of cobwebs and darkness, it is difficult to see the beauty around you. You tend to focus on upsetting experiences and troublesome, nagging thoughts that drain your energy.
Your mind can only focus on one thing at a time so when you take time to sit quietly and think about things you are grateful for, the negative thoughts and feelings are replaced with positive ones.
This may not be easy at first – especially if you have been living in a negative state of mind for an extended period of time, but when you stay with it, you will begin to notice a change in the way you look at life.
- It Can Help You Sleep Better
Adequate rest is necessary for emotional, mental and physical health. It is important to have a regular amount of good sleep each night for your overall well-being.
Writing in your gratitude journal each evening before bed can contribute to more restful sleep because it is a positive activity that is fun and calming. It promotes happy thoughts and good feelings. Filling your mind with pleasantries instead of worry and stress will help you sleep more peacefully and increase the chances of happier dreams.
- It Can Be Fun
I think you will find that keeping a gratitude journal is something you will look forward to every day – a few quiet, enjoyable minutes that will enrich your life.
The type of journal you use is unimportant – it can be a plain notebook or a really fancy one. I do recommend that you write in longhand rather than on your computer – it makes it far more personal.
You can jazz it up by using coloured pens or pencils. You may even want to decorate the pages or draw pictures. The only key instruction is to let it reflect the real you and the joyful aspects of your life.
If you want to create a positive change in your life, keeping a gratitude journal may be exactly the tool you need. It basically costs nothing except a few minutes of your day. It is easy, fun, and very beneficial to your emotional, mental and physical well-being.
What better time to begin your gratitude journal than now – as we enter a new holiday season beginning with Thanksgiving. ENJOY!