Get Healthier, Wealthier and Happier with Gratitude Journaling

thankgiving

by Christine Smith Sanchez Peterson and Nancy Dahlbom Libersky

Although Thanksgiving is the time of year most people give thanks for what they have, writing about gratitude daily could make your next Thanksgiving really GREAT!

Keeping a gratitude journal is a simple process. Daily, write down five things for which you are grateful. The benefits of this simple process are transforming and often immediate. It’s true. Be grateful for what you have and you will have more. What’s interesting about this phenomenon is that research now supports it.

Dr. Robert Emmons, a leading expert in gratitude research, believes that stress is responsible for up to 90 percent of all doctor visits. Dr. Emmons’ research measured the level of the stress hormone cortisol in participants at the start of the study. Split into three groups, one group journaled gratitude daily for six weeks. One group journaled negatively and the third group was neutral. After six weeks, cortisol in the gratitude journaling group measured 23 percent less than the other groups. The gratitude group showed improved self-care, regular exercise, healthier diet and regular physical exams. They also reported better sleep patterns and increased energy levels. Overall health improved because practicing gratitude today reduces worry and anxiety about tomorrow.

Becoming healthier was not the only finding. Vanessa Buote, Ph.D. Psychology, studied workplace satisfaction, engagement and performance at Plasticity Labs. Of those who journaled gratitude, 88 percent were happier and more satisfied than those who didn’t. Also, a longitudinal study found that happiness levels in college students could predict income 16 years later. Cheerful students earned $25,000 more per year than their gloomy classmates. As an indication of wealth, consider Oprah Winfrey, one of the first public pioneers of the discipline. She often said that journaling gratitude was the most powerful process that she practiced and that it transformed her life.

Over the span of 15 years, Gratitude in the Moments has seen similar results with small groups and individuals. Christine Smith Sanchez Peterson and Nancy Dahlbom Libersky are gratitude coaches at Pathways Minneapolis and co-founders of Gratitude in the Moments. Contact them on Facebook at Gratitude in the Moments.

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