The benefits of Gratitude Journaling

  1. Greater connection to others.
  2. Increased personal joy.
  3. Better sleep.
  4. Exercising more regularly.
  5. Lower symptoms of physical pain.
  6. It slows down the aging process.

Negativity bias

Gratitude Journaling works because, on a subconscious level, it counter balances the negativity bias of our brains.

For example, if someone compliments you, you will likely not remember it in the future. On the other hand if someone criticizes you, you will likely remember it forever.

In a nutshell, a gratitude journal is a journal in which you express gratitude for persons, experiences and objects that you feel grateful for in a periodic manner.

Example: thrice a week, take 5 minutes and express gratitude for something that you feel thankful for.

Suggestion

Writing a Gratitude letter for an important person in your life could be a more interesting way to start your journal. A person that you know had a significant effect on your life, but you did not thank enough (think parent, spouse, dear friend).

What the struggle was? What was the help? How it affects you emotionally? Spend a half an hour writing the letter and explaining how the person changed your life and why that person is significant to you.

Note that if you will deliver that letter to the person in case, the wellness results will be felt by both you, possibly a stronger effect on your chosen person.

So if you feel comfortable to share the letter via email/chat, read it via a call or, for the best impact, meet in person and read the letter.

Tips

Some general tips for gratitude journaling:

  1. Focus more on people than events. It is more personal this way and packs a better punch.
  2. Be specific on what and why. The more specific you are, the better the effect. Think "I am grateful for the way my wife greets me every morning" instead of "I am grateful for my wife" (this also helps your relationship with your spouse by avoiding the "taking for granted" effect)
  3. Writing regular is better, this way you can build a habit, aim for 3 times a week.
  4. If you run out of ideas try thinking what if the subject of gratitude would not exist, how would you feel.
  5. To actually feel grateful the feeling should happen in our chest, that place where we feel the intensity of a new love and excitement that's when you know the gratitude works
  6. Well-being is a subjective experience. Improving your relationship with yourself means improving your subjective experience of well-being. Gratitude practice is a pro-social behavior/mindset.

Sources

  1. berkeley
  2. intelligentchange
  3. huberman lab podcast