I originally got the idea to start keeping a gratitude journal from my friend Nic Gregoriades. Nic is pretty captivating when speaking about his experiences and he shares a lot of good ideas.
Writing in a gratitude journal 1-3 times a week brings about a genuine sense of calm appreciation for everyday life. You start to see that many of the things you can’t change are actually things you should be grateful for. Everyone could use more gratitude. Here are 4 reasons to start keeping a gratitude journal.
1. It brings you into the present moment
Writing in a gratitude journal makes you consider what you’re grateful for right there at that moment. It forces you to notice things that are around you all the time, but that you don’t appreciate because you’re too caught up in the business of life. Gratitude is an emotion just like any other, and emotions are felt in the body, in the present moment.
2. There is science behind it
If you think this sounds like New Age spiritual nonsense, then you should know that there is established academic literature and ongoing research surrounding the benefits of cultivating gratitude. The Emmons Lab at UC Davis have been publishing papers on gratitude for the last 15 years. Research from the University of Pennsylvania has shown that expressing gratitude motivates pro-social behaviour. UC Berkeley is currently spending $5.6 million on a research project based around expanding gratitude. If you don’t feel like reading through all that, then this article from Harvard sums it up nicely.
3. It keeps you motivated
If you’ve made some progress in your life thus far, then some of the things you write in the gratitude journal are probably going to be accomplishments. When you take the time to appreciate an accomplishment, you also appreciate what you had to put in to accomplish it. You feel good about what you’ve done, and feeling good makes you want to bring about more good. With gratitude, you even start to appreciate the obstacles that are preventing you from reaching your current goals. And this, above all, helps you to overcome them.
4. It makes you happy
Spend a few minutes writing down all the things you are grateful for in life and try not to feel happy. It’s impossible. Choosing to deliberately experience gratitude is an exercise in the purest positivity. Look at your life, in its present state, through the most positive possible lens, and you will start to see the Universe as benevolent and the world as rife with opportunity. Which of course they are, if you only decide to look at them that way.
So next time you have a spare moment, grab a pen and paper, and take a little time to thank God or the Universe for all the good things you have in life. Start a gratitude journal today, and I promise you won’t regret it.
Read next: 6 Tips for an Effective Gratitude Journal
When was the last time you were truly grateful for something? Do you already keep a gratitude journal? What’s it like? Your life is full of things to appreciate, if only you’ll take the time to appreciate them.