Mental Health Benefits of Gratitude Journals
At some point in their life, many people will face a mental health crisis. Perhaps it is the stress from a divorce, anxiety from a move, or grieving the loss of a loved one. Even the ongoing cycle of having the same argument over and over can become overwhelming. There are numerous ways we can tackle mental health to make our entire well-being a priority. But one method that not nearly enough people speak about is gratitude.
Gratitude, or a feeling of thankfulness, is a powerful alchemist. It can instantly and dramatically change your mood. When one is feeling grateful, it is hard for them to feel anything else. And while you can easily think about all of the things you are thankful for, it is a better idea to write them down in a journal.
Here are some of the mental health benefits of keeping a gratitude journal:
It Helps Us Feel Valued
When we recognize how many blessings we have been given, it is natural for the perception of our own value and worth to increase. This boost in value and self-esteem has been shown to decrease feelings of anxiety, depression and stress. When we feel better about our worth, we are able to participate in our lives more fully and positively.
It Minimizes Negative Behaviors
As I mentioned, when we are focused on the positive, it is almost impossible for us to think about the negative aspects of our lives. This focus on positivity translates into better choices and behavior. We become kinder as well as more empathic and generous. These new ways of feeling and being continually perpetuate goodness coming into our life. And the new cycle continues. When we share these moments of gratitude as appreciations with our partner, the building up of positivity begins to outweigh the moments of distress and leave us more willing to work together to find compromise and peace. The Gottman Method refers to this as offering bids and building an emotional bank account. This is foundational to being friends and overall relationship happiness.
It Helps Motivate Us
When we allow ourselves to feel grateful, we begin to feel more and more inspired. This newfound inspiration ignites our inner passion and motivates us to become our best selves. We can then share that best self with others.
I cannot recommend gratitude journals enough. I have seen them perform miracles in my clients’ lives. Couples writing daily appreciations for one another and sharing those on a regular basis are a new communication skill I use with couples in the Gottman 6 hour week. If you need some help getting started on your gratitude journey, get in touch with me. I would love to discuss more how gratitude journals, and counseling in general, may be able to help you with the mental health challenges you are facing.