Today is the United Nations International Day of Happiness. The day is meant to be an opportunity to “create a happier and kinder world together by adopting simple, daily practices.” And what better mood-boosting practice than keeping a gratitude journal?
To help encourage you to adopt this happiness-inducing daily practice, we’ve gathered four compelling reasons why you should start a gratitude journal… today!
Lower Your Stress Levels
Studies have shown that writing down your happy thoughts can help to reduce your overall levels of stress. Even spending just 20 minutes writing down the positive parts of each day can go a long way to improving not only your mental wellness, but overall physical health as well! Check out this great article in The Conversation for more information, including the study in the British Journal of Health Psychology that informed these findings.
Improve Interpersonal Relationships
The benefits of focusing on gratitude in your journalling go beyond the covers of your notebook. Gratitude has been shown to act as an antidote to negative emotions like irritation and hostility, meaning that the next time you find yourself in a frustrating conversation you will be better prepared to react calmly rather than out of anger.
Make a Lasting Impression
Writing something down by hand, whether it be a to-do list or your study notes, helps you retain the information for longer than simply reading or hearing it. The same goes for the things you are grateful for. Make each positive event a lasting memory by writing it down in your journal. By capturing those previously fleeting moments in writing, you can then pull on that happy feeling in the future when you need a mood boost.
Share the Happiness
The benefits of keeping a gratitude journal don’t only apply to the person doing the journalling. An interesting study conducted by the University of Oregon showed that people who keep a gratitude journal are more likely to derive happiness by witnessing acts of charity, and that writing in this type of journal has the same type of effect on your brain as do altruistic traits. By improving your own mood, you are in a better mental space to help others achieve the same.
Still need a little convincing? Check out our previous posts on gratitude journalling here.