Why write a gratitude journal? Read our guide on appreciating your life through writing in a gratitude journal.
Practicing gratitude is essential to boost your happiness and avoid focusing on the negative parts of life. Gratitude journals are for recording daily experiences, such as how you interact with people, memories you don’t want to forget, and other personal things that make you thankful.
A science-based study shows that daily gratitude journaling has many benefits. Expressing gratitude in writing can allow you to feel more connected to others, keeps you in a positive mood, and can increase overall physical and mental health.
Top 7 Purposes of Writing a Gratitude Journal
1. It Makes You Happier
You’ll reflect on all the good things you usually ignore when you list them in a gratitude journal. You’ll also discover the sources of joy in your life, build stronger relationships, savor heartwarming experiences, and transform negative emotions into positive ones. Many psychologists and researchers confirm that daily or weekly gratitude journaling helps people become more satisfied with their lives, leading to happiness and improved well-being.
When bad things happen, those with gratitude journals can read their old entries to remember the events that brought them joy. It prompts them to realize that although there are bad times, there will always be happy times. In addition, journaling can reduce symptoms of mental illnesses, such as excessive sadness and overthinking, leading to anxiety and depression.
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2. You’ll Have a Healthier Body
Being conscious of why you’re thankful boosts mental fitness. When we think of positive thoughts, the brain releases dopamine that makes us feel motivated and satisfied with our life. Some also consider writing their blessings as something therapeutic. It helps in sorting out their thoughts so they don’t focus on just one aspect of how their day went.
A study about gratitude and well-being found that people who do gratitude journaling:
- Feel better about their life
- Are healthier with very minimal physical problems and complaints
- Have more hours of quality sleep
- Take part in regular exercise
Another experiment discovered that after gratitude journaling for four weeks, people with arthritis improved their self-efficacy. It also helped them relieve pain and pain-related anxiety caused by the disease. Something as simple as reflecting on the last five things you’re thankful for in a day improves your mental and physical health.
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3. It Improves Your Self-Worth
Individuals who are deeply grateful for everything around them have higher self-esteem. Knowing what you’re thankful for makes you understand yourself better. You can focus on what you think makes life worth living, so your goals are more precise. Decisions come easy when you’re confident in what you want in life.
Keeping track of positive events also lets you see how people treat you well. This awareness reinforces your self-worth, allowing you to foster a healthy intrapersonal relationship.
A gratitude journal is a personal activity where you can freely write your thoughts. Talk about your accomplishments without the fear of being judged and compared to others. Here’s a great tip when doing your entries: Stop seeking or asking for more. Instead, learn to appreciate what you have. When you successfully overcome this hurdle, you’ll be able to let go of your frustrations and cease feeling sorry for yourself for failing to achieve specific life targets.
4. You Will Sleep Better
If you belong to the 70 million Americans who experience trouble sleeping, a few minutes of writing in your journal can help. It’s often unavoidable to overthink during nighttime. Even if these thoughts are unwelcome, they keep you awake and anxious. By writing positive things you had during the day, you’re gently shifting these thoughts into a happy and more peaceful direction.
Writing a gratitude journal entry only takes 10 to 15 minutes, depending on how invested you are in recording your activities. These few minutes are enough to let your mind mellow down, so you’re ready to hit the hay. Concentrating on positive thoughts will subdue any unease and worries. Gratitude journaling is an excellent addition to a soothing bedtime routine to fall asleep easily.
5. It Reduces Stress
As mentioned above, people who maintain a gratitude journal are more satisfied with their lives. In addition, being content helps fight stress and keeps you more grounded, so you’re ready for any challenge.
One of the primary reasons for stress is bottling up emotions and pretending everything is okay. Writing is an excellent way to express your feelings freely. Releasing your frustrations through journaling manages stress, so it doesn’t drag out and cause more problems. These issues can be health-related, such as headaches and hypertension.
People with gratitude journals like to write and be thankful in the morning to reduce the stress they may face throughout the day. A few minutes of gratitude helps you relax and prepare for hard work or school tasks. Being grateful teaches you to be more accepting of what life brings. If you’re looking for a therapeutic way to manage stress, start writing a gratitude journal.
6. It’ll Change Your Inappropriate Behaviors
Research suggests people with heightened gratitude have more patience and self-control. Rereading your entries will aid you in reflecting on your actions. There may be a time when you acted poorly and ended up hurting yourself or others. Reviewing your actions will guide you on how to react better in future situations. As a result, you can change your behaviors and grow as a person.
For instance, in a previous confrontation with someone you care about, you matched their harsh words to hurt them as much as they hurt you. Recording that event in your journal can help you recognize your mistake. So the next time you face the same plight, instead of acting brashly, you’ll remember what you’ve written in your journal and know how to handle it maturely.
7. To Focus on What’s Good and Important
Life goals are important. They keep you motivated and inspire you to continue improving yourself so you can keep progressing and have the future you want. However, we often get too absorbed in these goals and become obsessed with achieving those goals, resulting in worry and anxiety.
To reach our dreams, we want to do many things. Yet, juggling work, friends, families, and others, we prioritize unimportant things and forget to live now. A gratitude journal lets you remember what matters most: your happiness. It consistently reminds us of what we should appreciate the present moment.
Gratitude journaling is effective in keeping your mind focused and clear. To aid you in achieving your goals, write about people you admire in your journal. Note the things, methods, and behaviors they used to be successful. You can expect similar results by following their steps and using them as your inspiration.
Are you new to writing journals? Check out our guide on how to write a journal.