I’ve never been one for keeping a journal, never mind a gratitude journal.
I prefer to think about all that I’m grateful for each day and just keep a mental running tally of all the good in my life.
But after reading a report about a study that was conducted by the University of Minnesota and the University of Florida, it changed my mind.
According to the study, “…having participants write down a list of positive events at the close of a day — and why the events made them happy — lowered their self-reported stress levels and gave them a greater sense of calm at night.”
When I read this line, I knew I needed to reconsider my take on just taking a mental note and instead put forth the effort to write it down.
That was a few years ago, and since that time I’ve kept a gratitude journal and write in it almost every day.
There are many benefits to keeping a gratitude journal besides the two reported above, but even if I only reduced my stress levels and had a greater sense of calm each night – well, that would be totally worth it.
And so my gratitude journaling journey began.
The Benefits of A Gratitude Journal
Because I’ve seen first hand in the benefits of gratitude journaling, I created a beautiful printable gratitude journal page for myself. I liked it so much I decided that I share it with you all too. Go ahead and grab yours below!
After using the journal page consistently in the last two years here’s what I’ve learned and the benefits I’ve seen.
1. JOURNALING MAKES YOU HAPPIER
According to the research, spending just five minutes a day writing in a gratitude journal results in feeling 10% happier. Now I don’t know about you, but I like being 10% happier and I bet you would too. In the end, gratitude improves our health, relationships, emotions, personality, and career. Not too shabby is it?
Related: The Power of Gratitude In Our Lives
2. GRATITUDE MAKES PEOPLE LIKE US
In two separate studies of 243 people, those who were 10% more grateful than average had 17.5% more social oomph.
The result, adopting an attitude of gratitude makes us nicer people, more trusting, more social, and more appreciative. As a result, it helps us make more friends, deepen our existing relationships, improve our marriage, and people like to be around us.
3. GRATITUDE MAKES US HEALTHIER
There have been countless studies that prove gratitude improves our health. In a 2003 study, keeping a gratitude journal caused participants to report:
- 16% fewer symptoms
- 19% spent more time exercising
- 10% has less physical pain
- 8% more sleep
- 25% increased sleep quality
- lowers depressive symptoms by 30% as long as the practice is continued
- a decrease in blood pressure
- increase vitality and energy
Just five minutes a day and you can reap all these benefits? Isn’t it worth five minutes of your day?
4. GRATITUDE HELPS KEEP OUR EMOTIONS IN CHECK
Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. His research confirms that gratitude increases happiness and reduces depression.
5. GRATITUDE IMPROVES SELF AWARENESS
Keeping a gratitude journal helps you learn more about yourself. If you’re someone who wants to become more self-aware, maintaining a gratitude journal has been shown to help in this area significantly.
Related: 6 Ways To Be More Content
6. GRATITUDE IMPROVES SELF ESTEEM
In a recent study published in Journal of Applied Sports Psychology, it found that gratitude increased athlete’s self-esteem, which is a critical component to successful performance. Other studies have shown that gratitude reduces the need to compare ourselves to others. Rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money, a better job, or a nicer home – which is a major factor in reduced self-esteem – grateful people can appreciate other people’s accomplishments.
7. GRATITUDE INCREASE MENTAL RESILIENCY
Researchers are confirming what they suspected for years that gratitude plays a significant role in overcoming trauma. In a study published in Behavior Research and Therapy, it fond that Vietnam War Veterans who demonstrated higher levels of gratitude in their lives experienced a lower rate of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Other studies confirm this finding and found that gratitude was a key element following the terrorist attacks on September 11th. Those individuals who practiced gratitude were more resilient than those who did not. Being able to recognize what you do have – even during the most difficult times of your life – improves resilience.
8. GRATITUDE MAKES US MORE CONTENT WITH WHAT WE HAVE
Looking to become less materialistic? People who are most grateful don’t suffer from ‘I can never have enough’ syndrome. Individuals who appreciate what they already have are less likely to fixate on getting more. Plus being grateful and less materialistic enjoy greater life satisfaction. Ya gratitude!
9. GRATITUDE MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD
Think back to the last delicious meal you had, or a night out with dear friends, or the feeling after a holiday celebration that was nothing short of spectacular. You know that feeling when you can just sit back, reflect on the day and take a nap. That sense of contentment is felt by most of us only on particular occasions. But you can change that by developing gratitude. With gratitude, you can feel happy and content all the time. Gratitude is simply happiness you recognize at a later date.
I’ve given you nine great reasons and an opportunity to grab a free gratitude journal.
If you’ve been thinking about cultivating a bit more gratitude in your life, then you’ll want to jump to it sooner rather than later.
Waiting means you’ll be missing out on all these awesome benefits for your body, mind, and soul.
And really – why wait?
There’s no better time like the present to get going and start implementing your gratitude journey. So grab your free gratitude journal or if you want to try the Five Minute Journal, try that.
The point is – try anything and start seeing the benefits almost immediately.