Karen Hoving, Ph.D.
Karen Hoving, Ph.D.
Recently I have been reading a number of articles by psychologists that have researched Gratitude Lists. Now if you aren’t sure what a Gratitude List or a Gratitude Journal is let me give you a quick run down.
In the past, I have written articles about how effective Journals can be for individuals in and out of therapy. Well recently I’ve started asking my patient’s to add something to their daily journal. Every night before bed, I ask them to write 5 things that happened during the day that they are grateful for. You don’t have to get too uptight about this – even on the most horrific day you can find 5 things that you are grateful for. Here are a few suggestions:
1.I am grateful that today I got to work on time. 2. I am grateful that today I got a compliment from my boss! For people who don’t work outside of the house here are a few suggestions: 1. I am so grateful that today the children got through dinner and no one needed a time out! 2. I am so grateful to have healthy children/ a healthy spouse/partner to enhance my life. If you are struggling with a chronic illness : 1.Today I was grateful that my body felt more energetic than before. 2. I am so grateful I was able to fit in a nap today. 3. Every day, in every way, I’m feeling better, better and even better !
After a week of doing this before bed, write a brief journal about how you are feeling about your mood, or your life in general. If you don’t see or feel any changes no worries, keep using this technique every night. As I said, even on really bad days you can be grateful that the weather was good, that you appreciated that your heart pumped blood throughout your body, or for the love of your pets.
Recently I read a book that referenced a therapist that took a group of individuals that were unhappy. Half of them were asked to write a gratitude journal every night (just 5 things they were grateful for one week). The other group had no assignment. After a week the journaling group was told to stop. About 6 months later an objective questionnaire was given and it was determined that the group that had kept a gratitude journal for JUST ONE WEEK – and had NOT continued to do so, was 10% happier than the other group!
NOW 10% may not be much, but imagine how much happier you would feel if you focused on all the things you are grateful for in your life every night before you went to sleep and did it for LONGER than just a week?
So, if you still aren’t journaling now is a great time to run to Target or Wal-Mart to buy a composition book (with all the before school sales I can usually find them for 50 cents each. I stock up in August and September for all my new patients!). Keep it beside your bed with a pen and just write 5 things each night that you are grateful for. See how you feel by next month! (Oh if you are worried about kids or partners snooping, you can always hide your journal between the box springs and mattress of your bed 🙂
Shoot me an email in the next few weeks and let me know what changes you are noticing .
Today I am grateful that I am helping people through my blog to learn more, and experience more peace and love in their lives.
I am grateful that YOU came on and read this blog!
PS: for those of you that want some specific studies/articles on gratitude you can try:
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