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Gratitude Journals

It's a simple list-making activity where you give thanks for the best things in life. But how do you do it, and why bother?

Gratitude journaling is writing down things you're grateful for on a daily basis. Whether it's the brilliance of NHS workers, the kindness of strangers or even just being able to sit in the garden with the sun shining, making a note of it gives you a permanent reminder of the good things in life.

Gratitude is a key part of many religions and cultures, but after a study found that 'counting one's blessings' in a journal improved psychological and physical well-being experts started to take note.

Gratitude is the single most important well-being practice as it increases positive emotions, like satisfaction, hope and optimism, and it lowers level of stress hormones, anxiety and loneliness.

The recent crisis has encouraged people to think about what they're grateful for to overcome feelings of fear or worry. Gratitude can be especially powerful when everything feels a bit topsy-turvy because it reminds you of the good in the world.

Not sure where to start?

Follow these simple tips

* Pick a consistent time to write in your journal every day. Some people prefer to do it first thing in the morning, others before going to bed.

* Treat yourself to a lovely pen and notebook. When you're writing in it, play a song or light your favourite candle. Find ways to make this an experience you look forward to.

* Think about what you have in comparison to others who might not be so lucky. Maybe it's your health, a roof over your head or a loving family.

* Think about what you have gained. Maybe you had a chance to relax or spend time with the kids. What is better today than yesterday?

* Consider who you're grateful to. This boosts your capacity for empathy and compassion.

* Give thanks for things you see, hear, smell, taste and feel, such as birds chirping or homemade cake. This 'savouring' will ground you in the present.

*What are you excited for? There's much to look forward to, and you can be grateful that good times are ahead.

Remember don't overthink it. Jot down whatever comes into your head, big or small.


Julie Anita x

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