The practice of gratitude is one of the most time-tested and proven tools for enhancing well-being, with benefits ranging from better physical health, to stronger relationships, to greater resilience and self-esteem. And the best part is, anyone can do it!
One of the easiest ways to cultivate a practice of gratitude is by keeping a gratitude journal. Researchers Robert Emmons and Mike McCullough found that people in their study who kept gratitude journals felt better about their lives, experienced fewer symptoms of illness, and got more exercise. The best part is that even practicing gratitude for a single week can have benefits that last for months.
Write down three to five things you are grateful for. You could be thankful for anything at all—aspects of yourself, your work, your friends and family, nature, material comforts that we take for granted.
Reflect on how you feel immediately after journaling. If one of the things you were thankful for involved another person, make a note to share your thanks with them. This step is optional but recommended for added benefits to you and the recipient of your gratitude.
Repeat this activity for a full week. You may find that just before bed is a great time to do this, as you have your whole day to reflect on.
When the week is up, consider whether you'd like to make it a permanent part of your routine!