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How to get the Most from Gratitude Journaling

Everyone's heard of gratitude journaling and I think we can all agree we get why it's a great idea, but are we putting it into practice? It's all well and good saying something will be great for us, but then we try a few times an it doesn't have much of an effect so we give up.

Thing is, gratitude journaling and in fact, practicing gratitude can be extremely beneficial to our mental health, it takes practically no time and it's completely free. Why wouldn't we, as busy mums desperate for a well balanced mind give it a proper go?

Why it's important

Firstly, to understand why it's so important, it's good to understand positive and negative bias. The negativity bias is our tendency not only to register negative stimuli more readily, but to dwell on these events. This negativity bias means that we feel the sting of a rebuke more powerfully than we feel the joy of praise and we dwell on negative events more than we do positive ones. Here's a good article that explains negative bias well. To combat negative bias and be mindful of our thoughts, practicing gratitude is a great tool.

How to do it

There’s no wrong way to keep a gratitude journal, but here are some guides to get you started. Choose a time of the day (before bed works really well) and write down three to five things for which you feel grateful. Writing it down helps the process, more than just doing this exercise in your head. The things you list can be relatively small such as the sound of the rain or the smell of spring, to the larger moments such as the birth of a baby. The process is to help you remember the good that happened in your day and to elicit the good emotions that come with it!

Time needed

Approximately 10-15 minutes each evening

Tips to help you get the most out of gratitude journaling

  1. Be as specific as possible, to ensure you conjure the positive emotion for what you're grateful for. I am grateful for the birthday cake my coworker made me, will work more than I am grateful for my coworker.

  2. Focus on people over things.

  3. Try not to take good things for granted, but imagining what life would be like without the good things that happened.

  4. Try thinking of the good things as gifts - blessings.

  5. Writing about the same people each day is fine, but try to hone in on different aspects that make you happy.

Get started today and keep it up for at least two weeks to see how you feel.


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