Do you often feel burdened by the frustrations of life? Maybe the “light” you see at the end of the tunnel is a speeding train coming in your direction. Have you considered the things that make you thankful?
Five Benefits of Keeping a Journal of Gratitude…Write Down Why You Feel Thankful
If you’re already writing in a journal each day, you know how it can offer better insights into your life. Why not consider creating a section or dedicated journal for your countless blessings? Writing down what you’re thankful for can ease these five fears.
1. Your Physical Health
Although your body won’t last forever, your lifestyle can influence the quality and length of your life. Part of optimal physical health includes a balanced diet and regular exercise. But did you know that being thankful can also benefit your body?
First, expressing gratitude can offer peace and calmness internally. You probably recognize those overwhelming feelings of anxiety that make you feel like you’re about to die. Panic and chronic stress keep your survival instinct on autopilot and floods your body with excess stress hormones.
Perhaps some of your stress is brought on by unfounded fears. Do you constantly fret about your job, finances, and relationships? It could be that these are in better condition than you realize. Keeping a gratitude journal can make you appreciate what you have and have less stress.
You minimize stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline as you bring down your stress levels. While these are necessary for an emergency, chronic overflow can contribute to coronary disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even certain cancers. According to an article published by UCDavis, keeping a journal with a blessings list can reduce your stress hormones by 23 percent.
Are you afraid of developing diabetes, or do you already have it? While questionable eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle can lead to Type 2 diabetes, stress is also a contributor. A study published by the Journal of Positive Psychology found that being grateful may help lower your blood sugar levels.
Have you ever noticed that you don’t feel well when you have a negative outlook? Maybe you see unexplainable aches and pains and have a general pessimist view about your health. According to an article published by the Journal of Personality and Social Science, being thankful for your blessings can make you complain less about your feelings.
2. Your Sleep Health Can Make You Feel Thankful
The modern world is in such a busy frenzy that many people consider sleeping a luxury. However, your entire well-being depends on getting enough revitalizing sleep. If you’re sleep-deprived, it will negatively affect each aspect of your life.
One reason that you may be counting sheep every night is chronic worry. You toss and turn as you contemplate the events of the day. It plays like a perpetual film strip in your mind as you change the scripts for different outcomes.
As you watch each hour pass on your alarm clock, you feel tired, but your anxiety won’t let you sleep. So, you drag yourself out of bed each morning, wandering through brain fog the rest of the day. Does this scenario seem familiar to you?
Poor sleep habits are often related to your thought processes. Ruminating about the past is not only futile, but it can lead to depression. The deeper you fall into depression, the less satisfied you are with life and the less sleep you get.
The good news is that journal writing can help you deal with some of your negative thoughts and feelings. Make it a habit to schedule about 20 minutes each evening for recording worries and fears. Set a timer fret over every worst-case scenario.
When the timer dings, fold the paper and throw it in the recycle bin. You stop worrying for the day. Now, review your list of blessings and add to them as more come to mind.
3. Your Spiritual Life
When everything is going in your favor, you feel on top of the world. It’s easy to be happy and thankful during these times. However, things can go wrong, and your happiness can be fleeting. You may develop a fear of failing and feel your soul sinking in despair.
Keeping a gratitude journal can be like a candle that illuminates your spirit. Even when problems, fear, and pain surround you, you can be thankful for the good things. Instead of fickle happiness, appreciation fosters a joy in your heart that doesn’t depend on your situation.
As you count your blessings in your journal, you feel empowered with inner strength. You can also change your internal dialogue from negative to positive. Instead of simply existing and allowing life to happen “to” you, appreciation makes you realize that life’s happening “for” you.
Often, a troubled spirit tends to be self-absorbed. You may be so focused on your current situation that you can’t think about other people. Many studies acknowledge the link between gratitude and empathy. Per the article, you become more grateful for your blessings, enhancing your compassion for others.
4. Be Thankful for Your Self-Esteem
It’s only human to occasionally feel like you’re not as good as everyone else. Sometimes, you may be afraid to step out and do something new because you have low self-esteem. Instead of concentrating on the things, you can’t do, keeping a gratitude list reminds you of things you can do.
You play the piano, and someone asks you to perform in a local charity event. You’re hesitant to say yes because other more accomplished musicians will also be playing.
Try to be thankful for the gifts and talents you already have. An article published by Applied Psychology states that gratitude can boost your self-esteem. You’ll also have more confidence to build on your abilities and try new things.
5. Your Relationships
Whether it’s personal or professional, relationships won’t go far without appreciation. When people take each other for granted, it does nothing but creates resentment and distance. On the other hand, when someone acknowledges something you’ve done, you appreciate them for it.
Being thankful for your mate, family, or coworkers can also improve their feelings toward you. It only takes a couple of seconds to sincerely thank someone or tell them how much you appreciate them. Sometimes, couples get lax and forget to tell each other how they feel.
According to an article published by the Journal of the International Association for Relationship Research, daily gratitude can improve romantic relationships. When your lover does something special for you, be thankful. It can create a deeper connection and satisfaction in the relationship.
How to Create a Gratitude Journal
Are you ready to push negativity aside in favor of a life overflowing with gratitude? It’s not difficult to make your journal for recording your thoughts and blessings. There’s no better time to start than the present.
1. Prepare Your Journal
The only rules for personal journal writing are the ones that you make. Your blessings journal can be as straightforward or as elaborate as you choose. Some people use plain school notebooks while others purchase or make lovely, printed journals.
If you are tech-savvy, you may choose to create a journal on a word processing program or use an online blog platform. List the things you’re grateful for in any way you want. You can also decorate your journal with inspirational clippings or your artwork.
2. Write Down Why You Are Thankful
It’s also up to you to arrange your journal and how often you will write in it. Some people compose an initial blessings list and add to it from time to time. However, you may get the most benefits if you try journal writing every day.
You can jot down a few thoughts from the day, a paragraph, or an entire page. The most important thing is that you write important stuff for yourself. Even if you journal for fifteen to twenty minutes each day, you’ll notice the benefits.
Your journal is more than just a collection of writings to close up in a drawer and never see again. Not only does it help you put words to your emotions and experiences, but it offers you the wisdom of hindsight.
You better understand where you’re going when you know where you’ve been.
Take time each evening to reflect on your blessing list and see if you can add to it. Read some of your past entries and see how far you’ve come in your thought processes. You may discover that most of the things you feared never came to pass.
Final Thoughts on Keeping a Written Record of Why You Feel Thankful
Nobody goes through life without problems, frustrations, and heartache. However, counting your blessings can help you realize that the good outweighs the bad. When you keep a journal of gratitude, you can see how you are blessed each day.