Make a gratitude journal your new habitSep 30, 2020
This year keep a gratitude journal to make a real difference to your health and well-being.
A guest blog by Dr Marcelle Crinean, PhD, owner and director of Brain Reframe.
If you’re feeling stressed, anxious or depressed, and you find yourself focusing on the negative events in your life, then try writing a ‘gratitude journal’ or keeping a list of three good things that happen every day.
Research shows that gratitude is important for how we feel both in body and mind. People who are grateful tend to be happier, healthier and feel more fulfilled and satisfied in life. Indeed, being grateful has been shown to reduce stress and help us cope so much better with day-to-day difficulties; it can even increase our ability to achieve goals.
Unfortunately, we are naturally pre-disposed to focus on the things that go wrong or could go wrong in our life. We are quick to notice and remember problems, but we generally spend very little time thinking about all the good things that have happened. So, we have to consciously learn to focus on the positives and get into the habit of being grateful.
I ask all my clients to write down three good things that happened that day. Good things can be small (e.g., “I got out of bed this morning” or “My husband made me a cuppa”) or large (e.g., “I won the lottery”). It’s important to write these down, not just commit them to memory. And use ‘positive’ language – e.g., “I went for a long walk” rather than “I didn’t sit in front of the TV all day”. It’s easier to make this part of a daily habit by tagging it onto something you already do, such as writing before bed or first thing in the morning as you’re drinking your morning coffee.
This action is simple but incredibly powerful. It’s about reframing our brains to notice the good things in our lives. This can take effort but, like any habit, it gets easier with practice and can make a real difference to how you feel.
By way of example, my beautiful 9-year old god-daughter and 13-year old god-son make a ‘gratitude jar’ for my best friend every Christmas as a tradition. Every year, the family fill a jar (or, this year it was a ‘wonder-pig’ – a pig-shaped pot decorated as Wonder Woman!) with fun memories and notes about good things that have happened. Then, on New Year’s Eve, they read them aloud to remind them of how blessed they have been in the year. Isn’t that a wonderful idea?
If you’re feeling anxious or depressed and you’re struggling to focus on the positives in your life, then please get in touch.
Dr Marcelle Crinean, PhD, owner and director of Brain Reframe, is a highly qualified therapist, coach and lecturer www.brainreframe.com
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