Has all the buzz in recent years about gratitude practice got you wondering how to jump on the joy train? The benefits of having a gratitude practice have been written about extensively. Current studies reveal fabulous health and overall wellness benefits including lower blood pressure, stronger immune system, higher occurrences of positive emotions (i.e., joy, optimism, happiness), more compassion and generosity, and a lessening of feelings such as loneliness and isolation. One simple way to get started with your very own gratitude practice is to keep a journal.

Keep a Gratitude Journal

Start a notebook or journal dedicated entirely to gratitude. Then, pick one or more of these to try:

  • Write down four things you are grateful for each day.
  • Answer two questions in your journal every night:

    • What are you grateful for today?
    • What did you enjoy today?

You can write one word answers or whole paragraphs. The ideas don’t need to be monumental. They could be as simple as gratitude for having a soft pillow. If possible, make yourself write longhand instead of typing on a device. I learned during a question-and-answer session by Daniel Levitin, author of The Organized Mind, that the physical act of writing has more benefits to your neural structure than typing on a keyboard.

Whether you write longhand or type, you will still get all the health and wellness benefits of keeping a journal dedicated to gratitude practice. Robert Emmons, a UC Davis professor of psychology and author of Gratitude Works, writes that once you’ve embraced gratitude, give it around three weeks before you expect changes, “long enough for a behavior to become a habit. … Changes can be permanent,” he says, “as the brain re-wires.”

Start your gratitude journal today and check in with yourself in about three weeks’ time. What positive differences do you notice? How are you feeling?

With something this simple and effective at your fingertips, there’s no reason not to start improving life right here, today.

Please share your thoughts. . .