The benefits of a Gratitude Journal
Besides the very real, feel good nature of writing in your journal, there are a lot of benefits of maintaining a journal and, in particular, establishing a regular gratitude journal writing habit. As a reminder, some of these benefits are listed below:
- The expression of gratitude – recognizing it, documenting it and communicating it – is known to help lead a happier, healthier and “richer” life. A great resource to read on this is: The 31 benefits of Gratitude (Happier Human). If you are more scientifically inclined, you can also explore the science behind it at The Science of Gratitude (Happier Human) and Giving Thanks Can Make You Happier (Harvard Medical School). If that just doesn’t satiate your curiosity, here’s another resource.
- Maintaining a journal helps with structuring your thinking and is known to be a tool used by many folks in various walks of life. Many celebrated writers also maintained a diary.
- Writing in your journal allows you to express your inner self via an unfettered stream of consciousness. The key word here is unfettered – which means you are not so much tied down by the grammar, spelling or structure as to getting your thoughts written.
- A Gratitude Journal can help you form a bridge toward the expression and communication of your gratitude - either via words or action. This is a force multiplier that improves the well being of both the giver and receiver.
Writing a Gratitude Journal Entry:
What do you write in a gratitude journal entry? Start with whatever you are grateful for (and there are a lot of things that you can write about). If you are stuck, consider using a prompt. DO Journal, for instance, comes with the Five Minute Journal template that allows you to quickly capture some thoughts and provides a good structure to write in the morning and evening.
If you are looking to print out a gratitude journal template, look no further than our Adapted Five Minute Journal Template (PDF - Letter Size) which will let you print out the template and maintain a physical journal.
UPDATE: DO Journal now comes with our own Pure Gratitude (for focused gratitude expression) and Pure Productivity (for seizing the day) templates.
The challenge is to think hard and dig deep about what you are grateful for (you can only write so often that you are grateful for your family or health). One thing that we find useful is to focus on the things you take for granted but would sorely miss if you did not have them. As an example: your senses (there are 5 good journal entries, right there) - pick one, think deeply about it, and write at length about them and how they improve your life.
Finally, here's a great article from the Berkeley Greater Good Science Center with some tips on maintaining a gratitude journal (our favorite take away: "Go for depth over breadth").
What benefits have you realized as a result of writing in your journal? Let us know via the comments...
Note: Some parts of this post appeared as part of a bigger post we had published on the National Journal Writing Month blog (NaJoWriMo.org).
Get DO Journal and start your journal / diary journey today:
DO Journal is a beautiful journal / electronic diary application for Windows that has the capability to maintain multiple journals. DO Journal can also be used as a Windows PC client for Day One (using Dropbox sync for Day One Classic and the NEW Day One v2 Data Import Tool for Day One v2).