Being Thankful: Making a Gratitude Journal

Submitted by Ila Langner on Mon, 11/23/2020 - 10:00 PM
Man embraces being thankful.

Live Better with Gratitude Journaling

The Journal of Psychology recently published an article called, "How a Gratitude Intervention Influences Workplace Mistreatment," a timely article around Thanksgiving.

In this study, 200 participants at a data management company kept a gratitude journal for two weeks. Participants reported less negative ostracizing behaviors such as gossiping, after using the journals.

This reminds me of Shin Buddhism, whose founder, Shinran Shonin, lived a life of humility and thankfulness. He looked at, "everything in life as a gift," according to Dr. Alfred Bloom. With this perspective, people can find inner peace and harmony in their hearts.

It seems that introducing a gratitude journal into our weekly routine may be helpful in these stressful times. What better time to try than Thanksgiving?

Benefits of Maintaining a Gratitude Journal

Here are some of the many benefits of writing in your gratitude journal:

  • Better sleep
  • Being healthier
  • Being happier

Based upon the popularity of Yale’s "Happiness" class, many people definitely seek to find ways to be happier!

How to Start a Gratitude Journal

Developing mindful gratitude through journaling can be developed as a part of your weekly routine. Like exercise, the positive feelings that you will experience when writing in your journal will soon make this a weekly habit.

All, you will need is a simple notebook and a writing utensil. You can get one of those fancy gratitude journals, but it is not necessary. You may also decide to write digitally. The important thing is the actual practice of being mindfully grateful.

Each week start writing in your gratitude journal at least one to three times a week. Researchers have found that writing in the journal daily lessens the impact of savoring the "gift of gratitude."

In each entry, record five things for which you are grateful.

Writing Tips for Your Gratitude Journal

Robert Emmons of University of California at Davis, is widely considered the leading expert of gratitude.

He recommends these tips in maintaining your journal:

  • Be as specific as possible; it is the "key to fostering gratitude."
  • "Go for depth over breadth."
  • Focus on people and how you are grateful towards them
  • Do not just write about what people add to your life. Also write about will happen without them.
  • Good things = gifts. Equating the two will improve your perspective about not taking others for granted.
  • Savor surprises, which increase feelings of positivity. The aspect of surprise is the reason why experts do not recommend writing daily, as the positive feeling caused by surprise is lessened.
  • Repeating gratitude is possible, if looking at the event in a different way.
  • Write regularly to make the act of writing in the journal habitual.

Please send me any questions in the comments section!

Blog Category
Adult Nonfiction

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