Practising gratitude can have a positive influence on your mindset and general wellbeing. Keeping a gratitude journal is a simple way to achieve this and having kept one myself for a number of months, there are many benefits I’ve found. If you’d like to learn more, then keep reading…
What is “gratitude?”
Gratitude is to be thankful and appreciative towards something and acknowledging its effects. In my own interpretation, it’s about being mindful of the “good” around you, especially that which is out of your control.
How do you start one?
There is no one way to do this. Personally, I write a list of 3 things I am grateful for at the end of every day.
To get the most out of this practise, it’s best to keep it regular. That could mean anywhere from everyday to once a week. However, if you already journal daily, it could be a good idea to add your list to the bottom of the page. That would also mean it’s all in one place.
You can write as many points as you like. If it’s something you’re going to do on a weekly basis then 10 would be a good number to aim for. Whenever I come up with my list, I try to let the day influence me. For example, if I’d been in town and seen a lot of homelessness, then I may write that I am grateful to have somewhere safe to sleep.
To really understand your gratitude at a deeper level, it can be helpful to write why you are grateful. It could be that you are feel gratitude towards a person who called you on the phone because you were in need some support.
5 Benefits of Writing Gratitude:
1. A feeling of calm
Taking a moment to write, at any point in day, can be relaxing. It allows space to unwind and by handwriting, an opportunity to do so away from a screen. Having a regular structure can also ease feelings of stress.
Relating each point to an event in the day is a natural form of reflection. This creates a stronger connection to oneself and in stepping back, avoids feelings of being overwhelmed.
3. Mood booster
Finding the positives of the day and focusing on them is an easy way to boost your mood. The difficulties become far less significant and perhaps you realise the day wasn’t so bad after all.
Taking time out to practise gratitude increases your awareness of the smaller moments. The relaxation provides the space to be present and check in with yourself and your surroundings. (Read more about ‘mindfulness’ here!)
5. Maintains perspective
It can be easier to focus on the negative aspects of your day as opposed to the positives. But by recognising how something could have been worse, and changing that into gratitude, it can be powerful in improving your mindset.
For example, if I was unable to go out that day I might write about how grateful I am that I feel safe in my home and I didn’t have to spend all my time alone. It can also be good to strip back to basics. Having watched some environmental documentaries lately, (more on them here!) I felt gratitude for having access to clean water.
There are so many benefits to be found from practising gratitude in this way; I would encourage anyone to try it out. You can write at your own pace and even once a month can be better than not at all.
Since starting my lists, I have become more aware of my privileges simply by taking the time out to reflect. I value that greatly as it not only aids general wellbeing but encourages self-growth too!
What’s on your mind?
Have you ever attempted writing a gratitude list? If so, what benefits did you find? Leave a comment below!
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