How Gratitude Journals Can Change Your Life

How Gratitude Journals Can Change Your Life

Gratitude Journals make you happier. We may think that money, fame or a perfect body will bring us happiness, but research again and again shows that it's not these things that bring true happiness. Rather, it's the simple joys of everyday life — making a good meal to share with friends, enjoying a walk on a sunny day, spending time with people you love — that ultimately provide the most lasting happiness.

There's a lot to be said for how gratitude journals affect our brains. Research has shown that gratitude can:

  • Make us happier. We may think that money, fame or a perfect body will bring us happiness, but research again and again shows that it's not these things that bring true happiness. Rather, it's the simple joys of everyday life — making a good meal to share with friends, enjoying a walk on a sunny day, spending time with people you love — that ultimately provide the most lasting happiness. Gratitude helps us appreciate the things we already have, which makes it easier to enjoy our everyday lives rather than always longing for more "stuff."

  • Help us be more optimistic and energetic. Research has shown that people who are regularly grateful are more likely to cope well during tough times in their life than those who aren't as grateful. Those who regularly practice gratitude also tend to be more energetic and optimistic about their future goals and aspirations compared with those who don't practice gratitude on a regular basis.

  • Help us give back to others. People who practice regular gratitude are often more empathic towards others and feel compelled to "pay it forward," making them more likely to help others in need when they can. Practicing gratitude also helps reduce social comparison; since it encourages you to focus on what you already have instead of what you wish you had, being grateful helps ward off envy and bitterness towards others' success or possessions so we can instead celebrate their accomplishments as if they were our own.

  • Help us achieve our goals faster by helping us stay focused and motivated about accomplishing them so we work harder at actually achieving those goals rather than constantly putting them off for later or losing interest altogether (like when someone says they want to start eating healthier but keeps going back for all-you-can-eat pizza). Gratitude also reduces anxiety because thinking positive thoughts tends do decrease stress levels overall compared with negativity (i.e., worrying).

Gratitude makes you more optimistic.

Gratitude journals have been shown to make people more optimistic in their life outlook. This is because when you're practicing gratitude, it helps you see the glass as half full rather than half empty. So if you're not a naturally optimistic person, that can help change your mind about how negative you tend to be about things. In general, being an optimist means that things will likely go better for you in life. You'll also be able to see your own positive qualities much easier and realize what strengths and skills you already have that can help you attain other goals in life.

Gratitude increases your level of energy.

There are many reasons why we may feel less energetic, including eating the wrong foods, not getting enough sleep, or not doing enough exercise. But one fundamental reason that you may be feeling low on energy is because you’re focusing on the wrong things.

If you spend your time worrying about what other people think of you, or how other people are better than you, for example, this can directly influence our energy levels.

The good news is that having a daily gratitude practice can help to focus your energy on what matters most. When we are grateful for the things we have in life rather than focusing on what we don’t have or want more of (making comparisons with others), it can help us feel more energised and motivated throughout the day.

Gratitude improves your health.

A number of health benefits are associated with grateful people, including lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of depression. Gratitude is even linked to better sleep, which can positively impact a person’s well-being.

Furthermore, those who are regularly grateful feel more pleasure and contentment in their lives. But perhaps most importantly, gratitude can help you live longer. Grateful people report fewer aches and pains while also having more energy than less-grateful counterparts, according to research by Emmons and his colleague Laura King. Furthermore, they are also less likely to smoke or drink alcohol heavily as well as exercise regularly — all behaviors that contribute to living longer.

Gratitude can help you sleep better.

Trying to go to sleep at night but your mind is racing? Maybe it’s a good idea to take some time before bed to slow down and reflect. This can mean taking the time for a relaxing bath, sipping on some chamomile tea, or writing in your journal.

Writing in a gratitude journal before bed can help you sleep better because it’s been shown that there’s an association between gratitude and well-being (1). Gratitude helps you sleep better by simply shifting your focus from negative things like stress or worries towards positive things like showing appreciation for something someone did for you as well as other positive thoughts.

Gratitude can also boost your self esteem (2). It brings out feelings of being content, happy, loved and cared for which can have a ripple effect on your overall mood. You will feel more satisfied with yourself and the world around you because you focused on the positives rather than dwelling on the negatives.

How do I write a gratitude journal?

We suggest beginning with three things each day that you are grateful for. Your three “grateful” items could range from people in your life who make life easier like parents, children or friends; experiences such as road trips or new hobbies; parts of nature like trees and flowers; even if it’s just being grateful for something simple such as having enough food to eat each day! By starting small with just three things each day/night, this will give you time to get into the habit of writing in your gratitude journal before moving forward with more daily entries.

Gratitude improves your self-esteem.

When you express gratitude, you're actively recognizing your own inner worth. It helps you see yourself as a good person who deserves to be happy and treated well. When you take the time to identify all the wonderful things that make life special in a journal, it becomes impossible not to appreciate yourself and the things that bring joy into your life.

As you make an effort to practice gratitude every day, it will become second nature for you to think about what makes your life worthwhile and how good it feels when people treat you with respect. You'll start noticing the difference between those who are respectful toward you, and those who don't really care about your feelings or needs. Gratitude helps us realize that we deserve a positive outlook on our lives!

Gratitude helps you reduce materialism.

Taking time to write down the things you’re grateful for on a regular basis helps you put your life in perspective. It gives you a moment to stop and appreciate what you have and what others have done for you, instead of focusing on the things that are missing from your life.

Also, by writing about the things that are going well in your life, it will help decrease your tendency to focus on envy and jealousy. When we see someone who has more than us or is doing better than us, normally our minds go straight to “I want that too!” Without even realizing it, we start thinking of ways we can get what they have. We start looking around at how other people live their lives, wondering how they could afford certain luxuries or how they found success, instead of focusing on our own lives and all the great things we already have going for ourselves.

Gratitude lets you appreciate the small things in life and be grateful for what you have in this moment instead of longing for what is missing from your life (and thinking about how much better things could be).

Gratitude reduces stress and negative emotions. Counting your blessings helps you appreciate the good things in your life, even if they're small, so you don't get caught up in thinking about what's missing or how much better things could be.

To learn more about the benefits of gratitude, read this article: [“The Science Behind Gratitude and Why it Matters”](https://www.happify.com/hd/the-science-behind-gratitude/) at Happify Daily.

Being thankful for what you have can improve all aspects of your life

  • You’ll become more optimistic.

  • You’ll be a happier person.

  • You’ll have better physical health.

  • You’ll have better psychological health.

  • Your immune system will get stronger.

  • Your pain will feel less painful.

  • You’ll sleep better and longer.

  • Your heart will be healthier.

You'll live longer! In fact, some researches found that people with high levels of gratitude often live longer lives than those who do not practice gratitude in their lives, even when other factors are taken into account, such as age and socioeconomic status! But that's not all, being grateful also has a positive effect on your mental health and inner peace:

  • You will experience more positive emotions, including joy, optimism, enthusiasm, love and happiness;

  • The more grateful you are the less envy you feel

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