What gratitude can do for your health

We all have busy lives full of jobs, households, spouses, pets, kids, northern VA traffic and high cost of living.  The way we manage these stressful blessings play a large role in our overall health – how we sleep, our happiness, whether we age gracefully and how we maintain or gain weight – just to name a few. If you are battling any of the aforementioned struggles, consider changing your attitude.  Enter the Gratitude Journal.  Just like many of you, I manage a great deal of stress.  Under the care of a nutritionist and holistic medical practitioner, I have made drastic diet changes with the hopes of increasing energy, improving my mood and a handful of other things.  Stalled in my progress after several months, I started studying the effects of giving thanks and the impact it can have on your brain and body.  All research indicates that writing down what you’re thankful for can positively change your life.

“Gratitude works its magic by serving as an antidote to negative emotions. It’s like white blood cells for the soul, protecting us from cynicism, entitlement, anger, and resignation.”

Frustrated with your weight, overcommitted and under-appreciated, or suffering from a serious case of Mom Guilt?  Rather than venting to your loved ones about all the things about today you would change, how about a fresh perspective?  Put pen to paper about a few things you are grateful for instead and see what happens.  A better mood?  A lighter conscience?  A better night’s sleep?  Yes, yes and yes.

You have nothing to lose.

Don’t fret about creating a journal.  You don’t have to be an author to do this.  Start with bullet points.  Maybe creep into sentences. As long as its your voice, your honesty and your genuine feelings in print.  Writing releases hormones that generate happiness.  Especially when we are writing positive vibes.

The thing about happiness is that it changes everything.  Picture the person you enjoy being around most.  You know, the fun, happy ones.  They are the speakers of kind words, the helpful hands and the life of the party.  A sense of gratitude can help you be that person.

Happiness directly affects our body chemistry, which controls all of those struggles like weight management, sleep deprivation, aging, fatigue, and essentially our ability to enjoy life.  A simple act of journaling positive thoughts can shift our entire lives into a more positive one all around.


Here are a few tips for maintaining your Gratitude Journal

1. Plan to write in your gratitude journal every night for a few minutes before bed.  Start with just a few minutes and maybe some nights you’ll get carried away with positivity and take longer.


2.  Keep your journal by your bedside.  Your journal may even become a symbol of gratitude so that when you just look at it, you will feel a sense of appreciation.

3. Write as many things as you want in your gratitude journal. Writing down 5-10 things that you are grateful for each day is a good number to aim for.

4. Your gratitude journal doesn’t have to be deep. What you are thankful for can be as simple as “family” or a “new book I enjoyed”.  Your items will differ from everyone else.

5. The timing of when you want to write is up to you. While I try to write in my gratitude journal every night, sometimes it becomes every other night. That’s okay. Journal when it feels right for you — the benefits really are worth it.