Year ends can sometimes feel like a mixed bag of emotions. The pandemic has resulted in grief and loss for many. What's more, it imposes a sense of uncertainty regarding what lies ahead. And it can all feel a bit overwhelming to deal with. While none of us control the future, it's easy to feel powerless right now. It's crucial to acknowledge that there is a choice to be made: live in hope and light or give into despair.
Learning to keep a journal of gratitude is one of the ways you can enforce that choice towards hope and positivity. This habit can instill optimism, general well-being and much more within you. Have a read to find out why you should consider keeping a gratitude journal.
1) It Increases Happiness and Instills Healthy Behaviour
A gratitude journal makes you realize the people and things you are grateful for and that results in a surge of happiness. When you express gratitude, it's accompanied by an overall feeling of contentment, satisfaction and joy. Your mind is concentrating on the positive aspects of your life, therefore encouraging you to do activities that foster a greater sense of appreciation with what you have. It's an effective way to counter stress. Research conducted by Harvard Health Publishing claims that people who made a habit of writing down what they felt grateful for were also the ones who exercised more and ate healthier. Hence, practicing gratitude is also one of the keys to self-care and reducing stress.
2) It Improves Self-Esteem
Gratitude also enables more confidence in yourself. When you remind yourself of everything you are grateful for, you highlight that part of your life that is related to your achievements, people you love and those who love you and support you. When you view yourself as being fortunate through the expression of gratitude, you are far less likely to resent others through meaningless comparisons. What's more, you are not only in touch with your reality but are filled with a sense of confidence to achieve whatever it is that you seek. Grateful people are more likely to work towards their goals and aspirations with positive intent, leaving behind jealousy and unnecessary comparisons.
3) It May Reduce Anxiety and Depression
Negative emotions like anxiety and depression magnify a threat-focused attitude. In contrast, the feeling of gratefulness gives way to positivity. It enhances a mindset that adheres to optimism. One study published in Psychotherapy Research observed the utility of gratitude in their patients. Those who wrote down entries or letters of gratitude exhibited better scores on general mental health ratings than those who merely wrote diary entries regarding their daily events. More importantly, those participants who were given writing prompts related to gratitude and used more positive words showed a significant change in their symptoms of depression and anxiety.
4) It Helps You Sleep Better
Writing your gratitude journal can be undertaken at any point of the day. But it's especially effective as a nighttime routine if you struggle with insomnia. Not sleeping deeply or restfully can impact your mental and physical health. Research suggests that recalling positive experiences and expressing gratitude towards people you cherish can reduce racing thoughts and worry and therefore improve the quality of your sleep.
Gratitude is a powerful feeling that can help you to improve the quality of your life. It can be a component of healing when combined with other positive changes in your life. Poignantly put, "The struggle ends when the gratitude begins."
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