Acknowledging what you’re grateful for is about more than just appreciating life; it’s about maintaining your mental and physical health and being a better human to yourself and others. But being grateful isn’t always easy (especially when you’re having a rough go of it).
One easy way to keep our inner naysayer at bay: gratitude journaling.
It’s a simple daily habit of noting what you are thankful for in life — the rainbow you saw on the way to work, the friend who always seems to know when to check in, the parts of you that are healthy.
The best part: It can lead to positive outcomes in your life and the lives of others, says Joel Wong, a professor in the counseling and educational psychology department at Indiana University, adding that research showsfinding ways to be grateful has mental and physical benefits.
Beyond the personal benefits, says Wong, “people who engage in gratitude journaling were, to put it bluntly, less likely to be jerks,” citing a workplace studydone by the University of Central Florida published in 2021. “People who are grateful tend to be more altruistic, more friendly, connect better with other people.”
Ready to get started? Here’s how you can kick off the year right with a gratitude journaling practice.
First, find a medium that works for you
One of the great things about gratitude journaling is that it is budget friendly and there are different ways to do it depending on what works best for you.
If you prefer to handwrite your thankfulness, you can start with a pen and notebook. There are also a plethora of guided gratitude journals you can buy online or in a book store that have pre-written prompts to get you started. A couple we found with high ratings are the The Five Minute Gratitude Journal or The One-Minute Gratitude Journal, both available on Amazon. Or just buy yourself a blank journal with a picture on the outside that inspires you (flowers, horses, cars).
For more information on how to start gratitude journaling, from AARP, CLICK HERE.