“Attitude of Gratitude”
Through my journey as a care partner, it was suggested that I practice gratitude in a journal, so I researched why this is important. A gratitude journal is a tool, a practice, to record what you are grateful for, and research has documented that it can lower stress levels.
A study of gratitude journaling found that both types of gratitude have a positive impact on well-being, affect, and depression: reflective (finding things to be grateful for) and reflective-behavioral (expressing your gratitude).
Time Required - 15 minutes per day, at least three times per week but write regularly; commit to a regular time to journal, then honor that commitment.
How to Do It - There’s no wrong way to create a gratitude journal. You can use a journal, diary, notebook, or just a piece of paper, or your computer or an app. Write down up to five things for which you feel grateful. I’ve learned the physical act of writing is important. The things you list can be relatively small in importance or quite large. The goal of the exercise is to remember a good event, experience, person, or thing in your life—then enjoy the good emotions that come with it.
As you write, here are important tips:
- Be as specific as possible, specificity is key to fostering gratitude.
- Go for depth over breadth. I am grateful for _______ because _________.
- Focusing on people has more of an impact than focusing on things.
- Seeing good things as “gifts” guards against taking them for granted.
- Record unexpected or surprising events as these tend to elicit stronger levels of gratitude.
- Writing about the same people and things is OK but find a different aspect.
- An interesting twist: rather than just recording all the good stuff, be grateful for the negative outcomes you avoided, escaped, prevented, or turned into something positive—try not to take that good fortune for granted.