With Thanksgiving around the corner, you've got a lot on your mind. From creating the perfect menu for a diverse group of diners to anxiously anticipating awkward conversations with out-of-town relatives, we often forget one of the most important, and rewarding, parts of the holiday: giving thanks. We're not talking about a forced pre-dinner ritual that your parents made you participate in as a child, more like an act of self-reflection. Research shows that there are many physical and psychological benefits of practicing gratitude, like better sleep, increased happiness, and fewer symptoms of illness. Our favorite way to regularly give thanks? A gratitude journal. It's a tangible way of focusing your attention on all the positive in your life. Try these 5 research-based tips to get the most out of your gratitude journal.
1. Don’t be extra.
A study found that people who wrote in their journal once a week for six weeks reported boosts in their happiness, and those who journaled three times a week did not.
2. It’s all in the details.
Just listing what you’re grateful for can be superficial. Try to uncover the reasoning behind your gratitude and don’t be afraid to elaborate.
3. Get personal.
Instead of just focusing on the things you’re thankful for, think about the amazing people in your life.
4. Appreciate the unexpected.
Make sure to record life events that were a positive surprise—you tend to be more grateful for them.
5. Motivation is key.
Don’t just go through the motions of giving thanks. Try to actually feel grateful instead of just listing good things in your life.
Ready to start?
Get journaling and enjoy the joys of gratitude!
Marsh, Jason. “Tips for Keeping a Gratitude Journal.” Greater Good, greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/tips_for_keeping_a_gratitude_journal.
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