6 Surprising Benefits of Keeping a Gratitude Journal

6 Surprising Benefits of Keeping a Gratitude Journal

Discover the Surprising Benefits of Keeping a Gratitude Journal

At this point most people have heard of gratitude journals and the importance of having a gratitude practice. But it doesn't seem like we spend as much time talking about the actual benefits of doing this every day. While the concept may seem straightforward, the benefits of regularly writing down what you're grateful for are surprisingly profound. Let's explore some of these unexpected advantages and how they can positively impact your life.

Most of the headings below will seem familiar to you, and you might ask, "What's so surprising about this list?" Read under each heading and I will do my best to explain. 

Boost your Mental Health 

People might expect gratitude journaling to provide a small mood boost, but they may be surprised to learn it can significantly reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety over time.

How? By focusing on positive aspects of life, you train your mind to shift away from negative thoughts, fostering a more optimistic outlook. That then creates a loop, the more optimistically you view the world, the more good things you notice, and then that reaffirms your idea of viewing the world optimistically. 

Sleep Better at Night

People who take a few minutes to write about what they're grateful for often find that they sleep more soundly and wake up feeling refreshed. Why? This practice helps calm the mind, making it easier to drift into restful slumber.

It may be unexpected that a simple practice like writing down things you're grateful for can improve the quality and duration of your sleep. This is typically a benefit credited to other sleep hygiene practices, not necessarily gratitude journaling. 

Build Emotional Strength

Emotional resilience is the ability to bounce back from life's challenges, and gratitude journaling can help build this strength. By consistently recognizing and appreciating the positive aspects of your life, you develop a more robust emotional foundation.

How? Because this practice helps shift your focus from negativity, reinforces your strengths, and fosters a more resilient and optimistic mindset. This then helps you navigate difficult situations with greater ease.

Enhance Your Empathy

One cool side effect of keeping a gratitude journal is that it can make you more empathetic. The idea that focusing on your own gratitude can enhance your ability to empathize with others is not an obvious connection, making it a surprising benefit.

By focusing on the positives in your life, you become more aware of the needs and feelings of others. This heightened empathy can improve your interactions and deepen your connections with those around you.

Boost Your Confidence

People might not expect that recognizing what they are grateful for can lead to a significant increase in self-esteem and confidence.

Recognizing your own achievements and positive attributes can lead to a higher sense of self-worth and confidence. This practice helps you see yourself in a more positive light, enhancing your overall self-esteem.

Shift Away from Materialism

The notion that gratitude journaling can shift your focus from material possessions to valuing experiences and relationships might not be immediately apparent.

In a world obsessed with stuff, gratitude can help you focus on what really matters. By focusing on the intangible aspects of life that bring you joy, such as experiences and relationships, you may find yourself less attached to material goods.

These benefits are surprising because they reveal how a seemingly simple and straightforward practice like gratitude journaling can have deep and wide-ranging effects on various aspects of life, both psychological and physiological.

My opinion:

I think the missing ingredient in most people's gratitude practices is the feeling. Personally, writing 3-5 things per day doesn't do it for me. It's more of a task or a chore and I wished I could turn it into something that FELT like gratitude, rather than a mental thing. 

"Proof of Good" is a journal I created for myself when I discovered my desire for a deeper experience. It's undated and has no daily minimum or maximum entries. I typically find myself writing 20, 30, 40 things down before I get to the items in my life that hold the true feeling of gratitude, appreciation, awe, and thankfulness. 

If you would like to take a peek at my journal, feel free, you will find it here. Don't let it's simplicity fool you. These pages are magical. 


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