Journaling is a well-loved practice! It allows people to reflect on their days, preserve memories, and spend time on a productive hobby. Throughout history, you’ll find no shortage of people who kept diaries to organize their thoughts and process emotion. But why not take things a step further and up your game and write in a gratitude journal?
Gratitude journals are a method of cultivating higher levels of gratitude. They involve spending routine time writing down what you can be grateful for since you last wrote. They can be as simple as access to food and water and as notable as getting a job promotion. It’s a form of journal writing that encourages you to share positive experiences and express your gratitude for them.
But is there any point in journaling this way? It can feel a little silly and overly sappy when you’re not used to it, but its benefits are clear! Since it trains gratitude, it also provides all the positive effects of increased appreciation. Not convinced? Here are four reasons you should write in a gratitude journal backed by science!
1. It Creates Happier Emotions If You Write In A Gratitude Journal
When you write in a gratitude journal, you actively express positive emotions. You bring good thoughts to the front of your mind and focus on them. This naturally trains your brain to continually focus on positive emotions, even seeking them out in everyday life. Studies have long shown how good gratitude can make you feel! Here are some of the happier feelings that a gratitude journal can create:
We can’t leave out the most fundamental positive emotion! Gratitude increases overall happiness by boosting your satisfaction with life. In fact, it does so in a unique way, according to research. You see, there’s a concept known as hedonic adaptation. This concept shows that we resist pleasurable emotions and experiences over time. Things that once filled us with happiness tend to fade in effectiveness slowly. It can then require more intense, satisfying experiences to achieve similar satisfaction again. But gratitude isn’t one of those emotions! No matter what, appreciation continues to increase happiness over time, immune to the woes of hedonic adaptation!
· Increase Optimism When You Write In A Gratitude Journal
It’s only natural that you also think more positively when you look for more positive things in life. Studies show that the act of keeping a weekly gratitude journal results in a 5% optimism increase. Similarly, when you write in a gratitude journal daily, you boost optimism by 15%. This makes sense: the more you perceive good things in the world around you, the more you believe in the potential of your life. You see so much positivity, so you naturally think it will happen to you – and you’re right!
Gratitude can help you feel less stressed out with life’s challenges. When you’re grateful for things, you don’t feel as bogged down by stressors as your focus isn’t on them. While not as effective as meditation, when you write in a gratitude journal, you help yourself relax!
Resilience, or the ability to bounce back from negative emotions and input, is aided by gratitude. While gratitude can’t make you immune to these bad experiences, it can help you cope. Research shows that those who have higher levels of gratitude have a more positive and proactive way of coping. They’re also more likely to experience growth through tough times, are less likely to develop trauma disorders, and are more likely to request help when needed.
2. When You Write In A Gratitude Journal, It Improves Your Social Life
Did you know that gratitude can work wonders for your social life? When you write in your gratitude journal, some of your grateful expressions will be directed at those in your life. These feelings you have towards them shine through. They also make you a more approachable person who radiates positivity. To get specific, gratitude journals can help your social life by:
· Making You More Selfless
Self-centeredness is the enemy of a healthy social life. Some degree of selfishness is acceptable, but being so focused on yourself that you neglect or hurt others is sure to kill bonds! When you’re more grateful, you tend to shift the focus to other things. You appreciate the people around you more than you spend time focusing on yourself. In moderation, this attracts great people to your circle! Plus, this selflessness is born from higher self-esteem, meaning it’s intrinsically rooted. You think better of yourself, so you’re not concerned with proving yourself or making others like you. You can be authentic and interested in others much more quickly.
· Helping You Make and Keep Friends
Being grateful to others is a great way to make a first impression. People draw closer to you when you express appreciation and let your positivity shine through via gratitude! Plus, that appreciation towards your existing friends makes them feel valued, deepening your bond. You’ll get closer to those in your life by showing how much you’re thankful for in your relationships!
· Reducing Feelings Of Envy
Envy can kill and smother relationships with unhealthy comparisons and toxic competition. Luckily, the more gratitude you feel, the less envy you experience. It’s hard to covet the things that others have when you’re appreciative of your blessings and theirs, after all. Research goes as far as to show that daily experiences of gratitude inversely affect everyday experiences of envy. This means that if you start being grateful today, you’ll already be less controlled by the green-eyed monster!
· Making You Friendlier In General
When you’re grateful, you can perceive kindness and positivity from others better. That which you perceive then radiates, in turn, from you. Because you see and appreciate friendliness from others, you’re more likely to provide friendliness of your own back outwards!
3. It Can Boost Your Career When You Write In A Gratitude Journal
Everyone wants to do well in their career. If you write in a gratitude journal, you may get that boost you’ve wanted! It sounds far-fetched, but it’s entirely true. Here are some ways that journaling about thankfulness can provide career improvements:
· It Improves Decision-Making
Making choices is constant throughout life but is imperative in your career. You likely have to make many decisions every day in your work environment. It’s a tiring endeavor, and many people automate it, letting their subconscious do the work for them. But when you write in a gratitude journal, you get to process your thoughts in a safe space. You get to lead with gratitude and its benefits, like optimism and confidence, which help you make wiser choices.
· It Improves Your Management Skills
This is a pretty hefty benefit, as management at an adequate level requires considerable skills. At its core, it requires utilizing multiple facets to coax the best performance out of a team. Criticism is a go-to option for many managers to keep teams in line. But that doesn’t always work! Specific, appropriate, and behavior-oriented praise is much more effective, but it has to be genuine.
When you write in a gratitude journal, you’ll likely take note of the things you appreciate about your team. Studies show that praising them in this honest, accurate, and timely way can boost motivation. Better yet, these types of gratitude don’t lose effectiveness over time and can continue to keep a team on-task long-term. In a work culture so often devoid of appreciation, you can promote improved management through thankfulness!
· Write In A Gratitude Journal To Boost Goal Achievement and Productivity
Everyone has goals in their career, but not everyone can meet them. It can be stuff to stay on track! Those who practice gratitude regularly often have better concentration and direction with their goals. This allows them to be more productive. Plus, focusing on gratitude will make you more intrinsically motivated!
4. You Don’t Need To Share Your Gratitude To Benefit From It
Gratitude itself has all of the benefits above. But gratitude journaling is a unique way to gain those benefits for a specific reason. That reason is that gratitude doesn’t have to be shared with others for you to benefit from them. You gain all these benefits just because you write in a gratitude journal, say studies, without expressing those thoughts aloud!
This is not to say that you shouldn’t express thanks to those in your life who deserve it! Instead, it serves to prove that journaling in this way has benefits for those who aren’t able to do so. You can write out detailed accounts of your gratitude towards people who’ve inspired you but never met, and you’ll still get excellent benefits.
The power of the pen in a diary is significant! You don’t have to communicate gratitude to experience it and appreciate it. So when you can’t express your thanks out loud, you can take comfort in a simple journal. You’ll understand those around you – and yourself – so much more, and that will speak for you while uplifting you in numerous ways.
Final Thoughts On Why You Should Write In A Gratitude Journal
When you write in a gratitude journal, you receive tons of mental, physical, and social benefits. The slow and steady training of a grateful mindset will only provide good things for you in your life and should be encouraged! You don’t have to journal daily, but writing at least once a week is a good start.
Are you trying to get into the habit of writing in a gratitude journal? Try leaving it by your nightstand, so you see it every night. You can also set the alarm to remind you to write in it. You don’t need to write a lot – just fifteen minutes of quiet contemplation is often sufficient! You should aim to write between five and ten things you’re grateful for each time, or more if you desire.
Many people think a gratitude journal should be deep and detailed. There’s an idea that it has to be thoughtful or insightful. But it’s just a journal for you to write down your thoughts, free of judgment, where no one will ever see them!
You can write things that are as simple or as detailed as you like. Shallow or deep, it doesn’t matter! At the end of the day, the benefits of gratitude speak for themselves. Writing in a gratitude journal may enhance your life and your appreciation of the world around you!