Shayna Schmidt | July 15, 2018
Accentuate the positive
It’s super easy for us to find all of the negative things happening in our lives. We complain, vent, and bitch to our friends constantly. It’s much more challenging to focus on the positive. Especially because the regular sources of goodness in our lives (i.e. waking up in the morning, seeing the sun rise, having a strong, fully functioning body, having a supportive partner) are often taken for granted.
Over the past few years, gratitude has become quite the buzzword. Psychology researchers have not only identified the great social, psychological, and physical health benefits that come from practicing gratitude, but they’ve also zeroed in on some actions that can help us reap those benefits, which we’ll get into below. Keeping a gratitude journal is the main one.
Here are some of tips for getting the most out of your gratitude journal:
- Don’t just write it; feel it. When you’re first starting off, it’s totally fine just to go through the motions and write the things you feel you’re “supposed” to write. But as you get more comfortable, try to make the conscious decision to be more grateful before you even begin to write. Get yourself in that headspace, and we promise it’ll be more effective.
- It's about the people. Especially when you first begin this practice, focusing on people for whom you are grateful can be easier and can also have more of an impact than focusing on things.
- Go deep. Even if this means your list “only” has 2 items-- it’s better to really get curious about why each popped into your head and what about each one makes you feel gratitude than to just make a laundry list. Elaborating in detail carries more benefits.
- Try subtraction. Reflect on what your life would be like without certain people or things, rather than just counting them up. Reflect on the ways each person or thing enriches your life experience.
- Don’t overdo it. Shockingly (or maybe not), one study by psychology expert Lyubomirsky and her colleagues found that people who wrote in their gratitude journals 3 times per week did NOT actually report large boosts in happiness, whereas people who wrote in their journals only once a week for six weeks DID! It seems that we adapt to positive events quite quickly, especially if we focus on them a lot. So perhaps this is an activity that we should do only every once in a while! Who knew.
Questions about your gratitude journal practice? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to your Livekick trainer. We’re all on this personal development journey together.