It might seem like a pipe dream (or just a little woo-woo) that writing in a journal could be so beneficial. But the scientific evidence is in, and gratitude journals DO benefit you in big ways if you keep one for the long term and use it daily.
Experience Stronger and More Fulfilling Relationships
It sounds so simple – something everyone would want, right? The challenge with some of the most beneficial simple things is that they can be hard to accept. You are the one who makes yourself happy with your own choices. Another person cannot make you happy or grateful. Only you can do that. But something amazing happens when you express gratitude often – your relationships simply, magically, “open up” and become better. Those that don’t…well…you start to recognize the relationships for what they are. Sometimes, that means you have to let them go.
Become Physically Healthier
Being grateful for the ability to move and breathe will eventually cross over into wanting to ensure that you can always do that. Therefore, you’ll be more motivated to go on walks, eat right, stay hydrated, and live in gratitude for every aspect of your life. Working on your physical health also provides the side benefit of time to think about and be intentional about your physical self – and that’s a good thing! It’s hard to support a strong spirit when your body hurts, and you don’t move well.
Increase Your Mental Dexterity
The ability to take lemons and turn them into that sweet, delightful state drink of Arizona (aka Lemonade) can be gained by keeping a gratitude journal. The main reason is that you will learn on even a difficult day to pick out the good things, feelings, events, and people in it. That requires a good imagination and creativity and thinking on your feet.
Feel Less Aggression in Your Life
It’s hard to feel aggressive if you are happy and grateful. It’s okay to be angry about injustices in the world without being aggressive. But if you feel angry a lot due to your life, it may be due to not finding the things to be grateful about. There is always something for you to be grateful for, and the more consistent you are in looking for it, the more consistently you’ll be able to find it.
Act and Become More Empathetic
As you write more and learn to forgive yourself, and as you seek to fill your mind with thoughts of gratitude, you will start seeing others differently. You’ll have an increased ability to put yourself in their shoes and see things from their perspective without judgment. It happens when you learn to forgive yourself. We could all strive to communicate more empathy with our fellow human beings.
If you’re not anxious but go to sleep each night feeling thankful for everything you’ve learned, been exposed to, or experienced during your day (or at least most of it), it’s easier to sleep because you have less anxiety. Leave the challenges and problems behind – or write about them in your journal and get them off of your “top of mind” so that you can relax into dreamland.
Get More Done Every Day
Due to feeling more rested, less stressed, and more grateful, you’ll have a lot more energy to get things done every day. That’s always going to make you feel even more thankful because good things happen due to productivity. Productivity increases when you are rested because your mind will be sharper, your emotions more consistent, and your strength (emotional and physical) will be more vibrant.
Feel Better about Yourself
You can’t help but feel better about yourself when you have improved so many good qualities about yourself. Your self-esteem will go up when you express gratitude for what your mind and body can do for you. It’s important for you to acknowledge your achievements and what makes you special. Consider using Affirmations – short, positive statements spoken aloud in your own voice about yourself – to help you get started. It doesn’t take long, it can be done several times a day, and you can start right now! Check out our Affirmations to get you started and get your creative juices flowing.
If you want to be happier, get more done in life, and experience real joy in life, a gratitude journal can be the way to achieve it. The guiding thing to remember is that your thoughts cause your feelings, and you are the one in control of the actions you take once you accept your feelings. Accepting and affirming that you do have control is half the battle, and your journal will help to make it clear that you do.