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Keeping A Gratitude Journal Has Major Benefits

Being the thoughtful sister that she is, Darby gave me the best gift I could have asked for. After a stressful year and plenty of complaints on my end, I found myself saying I needed to practice being more present and grateful a LOT of the time. So, this Christmas, Darby finally gave me the perfect excuse to actually write down things I'm grateful for each and every day.

She gifted me with The Self Journal, which has a space for you to write down what you're grateful for each morning and each night. You don't have to have a journal that's specifically designed for practicing gratitude — any old notebook will do — but, it has helped to have gratitude become a regimented part of my day — a ritual, if you will. At least until I get better at realizing it more on my own without being prompted to do so. Hey — practice makes perfect, right?

I first started to realize that writing what I feel thankful for might be something I needed to do after listening to the "In Progress" podcast — if you haven't given it a listen, you really should! Anyways, the host of the podcast was saying that she forced herself to keep a gratitude journal and write three things she was grateful for every day for a solid year. The hardest part — she didn't allow herself to repeat at all. So, every single day, she had to think of three new things to be grateful for.

Thinking of that many good things in your life can really help to put things in perspective! Plus, the act of writing things down make them feel more permanent, make them feel actualized and make them easy to look back upon whenever you need a reminder of all the great things you've got going for yourself, as we all need from time to time.

I officially started my gratitude journaling process on Jan. 1 after receiving the journal from Darby. The beginning of a New Year seemed like just the right time to embark on an endeavor of this kind, and so far I'm really enjoying the process! I've only been doing it for a few days, but I've managed to be consistent, and I've noticed that it's really helping me find little joys in each one of my days.

Starting it first thing in the morning and ending with it at night is a nice way to begin and end each day so that I'm never getting too caught up in negative thoughts in those quiet moments sipping coffee or getting ready to settle in for the night.

And I'm not the only one who would sing the praises of keeping a gratitude journal, either. According to the Huffington Post, journaling of this kind can lower stress levels and help you keep things in check so you don't have to sweat the small stuff. Hallelujah, am I right?!

According to Forbes, gratitude not only does wonder for your psyche, but it has some physical benefits as well. The Forbes article sites a study published in Personality and Individual Differences, which reported grateful people feeling less aches and pains and overall healthier than other people.

While I personally haven't noticed drastic transformations just yet — I have noticed an improvement and my mood and outlook lately, and I don't think you can solely chock that up to the New Year.

I'm very much looking forward to what this practice of realizing all that I have to be grateful for — things big and small — will do for me this year. I hope you're inclined to join in on the process, too. Because there's definitely a lot to gain from something like this!

Here's to a happier, more grateful you in 2019 and beyond!

While we're toasting to the New Year, check out this post on keeping your resolutions and all of those promises you made to yourself.

Images: Photo by gabrielle cole on Unsplash (1); The Self Journal (1); Photo by Ella Jardim on Unsplash (1)

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