A couple of weeks ago I shared my morning ritual with you and, within that ritual, I include gratitude writing. I actually write in my gratitude journal twice a day – once in the morning and once in the evening before I go to bed. Each time I write, I list 3 things that I am grateful for. So, by the end of the day, I write 6 things that I am grateful for on a daily basis.
If you participated in my winter detox or if you’ve ever participated in my Eat Feel Live Love challenge, you’ll know that I put a great importance on gratitude writing as this practice is included in both of these programs.
Why is it so important, though? Can a simple thing such as writing what you are grateful for on a daily basis actually make a big enough impact on your life that you’d notice?
If you’ve ever doubted the powers of gratitude writing, this one is for you.
9 Reasons You Should Start A Gratitude Journal
It helps you become a more mindful person
This is one of my favourite things about gratitude journaling – I am instantly more mindful in all areas of my life. When you practice gratitude, there is no doubt you will become more mindful. When the sun is shining, you’ll notice it. When someone opens the door for you, you’ll notice that. The simple things in life will not pass you by, you’ll be mindful of them – more aware of all the good surrounding and happening to you.
It helps reduce your level of stress
In a study from 2006 published in Behavior Research and Therapy, it was found that Vietnam War veterans who expressed higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of post-traumatic stress disorder. Personally, when I am practicing gratitude, the things in life that would normally stress me out, seem to not be a big deal and I am able to let them pass through me without affecting my level of stress.
You will become a more positive and happier person
When you write out the things that you are grateful for, you will no doubt feel more positive and happier. As you do this routinely, like on a daily basis, these feelings will stay with you longer and longer. The more gratitude you practice, and the more consistent you are, the happier and more positive you will be!
It improves your physical health
According to a study in 2012 that was published in Personality and Individual Differences, grateful people are less likely to experience aches and pains and report feeling healthier than other people, likely because people who aren’t grateful tend to dwell on the negative, complain, and feel sick and unhealthy because of those reasons.
It improves your mental health
You know I’m all about a strong, robust, healthy mental game and if gratitude journaling can do that then I’m all about it! Robert Emmons, who is a gratitude researcher, has conducted many studies on the link between gratitude and a person’s well-being and has found that practicing gratitude increases happiness and reduces depression. This is why practicing gratitude is so important, especially during the winter months (and that’s exactly why I included it in my winter detox program!) Experiencing depression is very common in the winter months, but practicing gratitude has the power to pull you out of those negative feelings and provide you with happiness and positivity!
It improves your sleep quality
According to a 2011 study that was published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, those who spent 15 minutes writing down what they were grateful for before bed, slept better and longer. I can definitely agree to this study and its findings as I definitely have better, deeper, and longer sleeps when I gratitude write before bed.
It improves your self-esteem
For many years, especially throughout high school, I suffered from a low self-esteem. I wonder if I practiced gratitude if I would have had a different high school experience? I think I would have because in a 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that those who practiced gratitude also had increased levels of self-esteem. In other studies, gratitude writing has been linked to reduced social comparisons. Comparing ourselves to our best friends, co-workers, or anyone else in our life, can have a negative impact on our self-esteem, but gratitude can change that and allow us to admire people without feeling negative about ourselves and our lives.
It improves our relationships
Gratitude causes us to be more appreciative. When we are in long-term relationships, it’s easy to take them for granted and these relationships may start to experience difficulties because of that. However, when we practice gratitude and are always appreciative of the relationships we have, never taking them for granted, our relationships will be stronger, healthier, and happier.
It opens the door to making more friendships
If gratitude reduces your tendency to compare yourselves to others and increases your likelihood of giving someone a compliment or thanking them for something they did for you – like opening a door – it is opening doors for us to begin new friendships! If you’re practicing gratitude, these friendships will likely be very positive and meaningful ones as we will be a happy, grateful friend to have around!
As you can see, there are several reasons why you should start keeping a gratitude journal today if you don’t do so already. If you find yourself in a funk, I highly encourage you to pick up a piece of paper and a pen or buy yourself a nice journal specifically for your gratitude writing and begin this practice every morning and evening! It has made a huge, positive impact on my life and I guarantee it will do the same for you!
Pssssst! If you would like to start gratitude writing, but need some support, I’d love for you to join the March group of Eat Feel Live Love! We start March 7th and you’ll be supporting by myself plus a group of other amazing women throughout the 28 days of the challenge! Plus, I will send you a gratitude journal template as part of the challenge! Can’t wait to see you there – sign up here!