"Gratitude journaling? What does it have to do with my inner critic?🤔"
Did someone ever advise you to quit gluten?
And tell you that your only choice to better health was doing the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol?
How did that make you feel?
Perhaps, like me, you felt angry, and mad.
Furious even …
Irritated that you wouldn’t be able to eat your favorite pastries anymore.
“Huh, you’re truly thinking about going AIP? You tried all sorts of medicines & nothing worked. Why should THIS work? Who are you kidding anyway? 😆”
You know that voice too well, right?
It’s your inner critic being nasty. Again.
This is exactly what happened to me a few years back.
But then, it hit me that my inner critic was sabotaging my life. And deep down, something nagged me that I had to give it a try.
Shall I tell you how I made peace with my inner critic, and dumped my fears of going AIP?
‘Gratitude Journaling’ – Yeah, I gathered that from the title, duh…
I know, I know, it’s kinda obvious. But please hear me out 😉
Just pause for a sec.
What’s one thing for which you’re truly grateful today?
For some of us with autoimmune flares, it’s become quite routine to complain. Complain about how hard it is to eat differently from other people; to wake up feeling like an old lady; or fast foods not being an option anymore.
I was guilty of this too. As humans, it’s easy to adopt a negative mindset.
Who isn’t guilty of focusing on the bad side of life? While taking for granted all the blessings that we received?
👉 Practicing gratitude trains your mind to be positive. You affirm all the good things in your life. And identify where they come from. You know that God owes you nothing. And that your life in itself is a present that can’t be taken for granted.
This helps you to reflect and ponder. That’s how you begin to treasure even the littlest of things.
👉 Do you express your gratitude verbally or in writing? Whatever you choose, keep in mind that:
- Being deeply grateful doesn’t work when done half-heartedly.
- When you practice gratitude, you want to be present. Sincere. And genuinely thankful.
What’s Gratitude Journaling? 📝
Did you ever say out loud that you’re thankful for waking up energetically?
Well, gratitude journaling is kind of the same thing. But instead of voicing out your gratitude, you jot it down in a notebook.
👉 You write what you appreciate in your daily life. And when doing so, you make a conscious effort to enjoy the small things in this world.
“Gratitude Journaling? Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That! 😒”
Adding gratitude journaling to your already-crammed schedule can seem daunting.
I get it. But, believe me, this is in an effortless technique. 👉 You only need five minutes. One to three times every week.
Still wondering what’s so marveling about gratitude journaling? Let me show you how something as simple as writing in a notebook can transform your world.
Gratitude Journaling: Is It Worth The Effort?
1. It offers You A Brand New Perspective
Waking up with an autoimmune flare is never a good thing, right? How do you respond to your situation in that moment? It’s in moments like these that we tend give up.
“Why bother eat well? I’m gonna be ill anyway…”
Or something like, “Why do I keep falling ill? I’m fed up. What did I do to deserve this? Does God hate me?”
It’s in tough times like these that gratitude journaling comes to the rescue. When you flip through the pages of your journal, it dawns upon you how blessed you are. You get back the strength and motivation to keep going.
Despite everything, you’ve got people who love you. Who believe in you. And who’re always there for you.
Plus, although you’re not always in an amazing shape, you’ve come so far.
2. Gratitude Journaling increases Your Positivity 📈
In this messed up world, horrible news surround us like air. With countless tragedies and deaths, it becomes the norm to assume the worst case scenarios.
But have you attempted to shift your mindset? Strived to unearth the silver lining in every situation?
With gratitude journaling, this becomes viable as you look at this world in a more positive angle. Doing so thus transforms you into a more optimistic person.
3. Gratitude Journaling lowers Your Stress Levels 📉
Did you ever ponder over how you can decrease your stress?
A natural way of managing stress would be to focus on happy feelings. When you do so, you allow yourself to become stronger when facing problems.
Come to think of it. You can’t be stressed and grateful at the same time, can you?
4. It Turns Aggressivity into Something of the Past 🔚
Gratitude journaling can help people overcome their aggressive behavior. How cool is that?
In 2012, the University of Kentucky conducted a study on gratitude. It demonstrated that participants who were more thankful showed a lower possibility of seeking revenge. They were also more sensitive and compassionate towards society.
5. It knocks Down Depression and Improves Psychological Health
Can you think of 3 positive moments or things that happened to you today? This simple exercise can result in an impressive progress in depression and happiness.
And if on top of that, you’re thankful for these moments, your happiness increases and your depression decreases. Robert Emmons, leading gratitude researcher, discovered this when studying the link between gratitude and happiness.
6. Gratitude Journaling blesses Your Relationships 🔚
Feeling lonely or disconnected from the world because of your health issues?
You definitely have to give gratitude journaling a try.
Like, right now.
Be thankful for your partner and vice versa. This will increase your chance to connect with each other. But you’ll also be more content as a couple.
Don’t have a partner? No worries. Being thankful can still get you new buddies.
And if you just met someone, try to genuinely thank them.
Because when you do that, they’ll be more inclined to build a relationship with you. This came up in a 2011 study.
7. Gratitude journaling gifts You Self-Care 🥰
Did you realize that when you thank somebody, you’re helping yourself?
Well, expressing gratitude makes you love your body and take care of yourself.
Researchers discovered positive correlations between gratitude, physical, and mental health. Grateful participants were more motivated to work out, and eat real foods.
Fascinated? You can read more about this in the journal ‘Personal and Individual Differences’.
8. It gives You Back Your Long Lost Self- Esteem 🤗
A study published in 2014 found that athletes who were thankful, had more self-esteem compared to others. Moreover, since they believed in themselves, they trusted others on a higher level. Amazing, right?
9. Gratitude journaling gets You More Zzzzz Time 😴
On the lookout for a way to improve your quality of sleep?
Become more appreciative.
Yes, that’s it.
With gratitude journaling, you’ll sleep better and longer too. This is what a research published in the ‘Journal of Psychosomatic Research’ revealed.
10. It stops You from Overeating 🥢
Can’t resist that chocolate cake?
Even after several servings?
In such cases, do some gratitude journaling. This is what cognitive scientist and specialist in the Psychology of eating, Susan Peirce Thompson, advises.
👉 Write a few things for which you’re thankful for. This will help to clear your mind. Wondering how that’s possible?
Thompson says that being thankful replenishes willpower. And that when you cultivate gratitude, your impulse control improves. Which in turn helps you slow down and make better choices.
11. Gratitude journaling boosts Your Physical Health 🙌
Interested in having less physical pain and living a vibrant, healthy life?
Thanks to gratitude journaling, this is possible.
When you’re grateful, you take care of your health, exercise frequently, and make it a must to attend check-ups. This in turn contributes favorably to you living a longer life.
12. It revamps Your Mental Health 🤸♀️
In a 2006 study, researchers discovered that some veterans of the Vietnam War suffered less from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Do you know why?
Yes, you’re right. They were more grateful than others.
Gratitude Journaling: How Does It Work? 🤔
1. Want your gratitude journaling to be more effective?
👉 Try to make a conscious effort to be happier and more thankful. This is what Psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky and other researchers advised.
As for Robert Emmons, he mentioned that motivating yourself to be happier will make journaling more fruitful.
According to him, it’s vital that you make it a habit of being on the lookout for events that’ll make you grateful.
And no, you neither need a fancy journal nor be a pro at grammar 😉.
2. Tempted to do this exercise mentally?
Don’t. No matter how much you hate writing. 👉 Use a piece of paper or even your PC if you want.
The above mentioned benefits will never come if you simply ‘think’ about gratitude. So, don’t be too quick to dismiss gratitude journaling.
3. Why do we get lazy when it comes to gratitude journaling? And even turn into misers?
Check this out:
- I’m SO grateful for my parents.
- I am grateful for my siblings.
- I’m beyond grateful for friends.
What’s wrong with that? It’s wayyy too broad and general.
👉 For your gratitude journaling to work best, go into details. Be as specific as you can about why you’re thankful for a particular thing.
Simply jotting down a few things for which you’re grateful doesn’t help. And that’s cause you’re doing it absent mindedly.
👉 Moreover, being specific will make you happier and increase your gratitude even more. Here’s what I mean by specific:
I’m grateful for Shari.
She relentlessly advised me to go AIP. (Even when I was stubborn and wouldn’t listen.)
She’s made it SO stress-free for me to go AIP.
She offered me multiple scrumptious recipes to choose from.
And made it easy-peasy for me to come up with my own real food recipes.
Now, I get to enjoy both guilt-free food and a vibrant life.
4. You can write about anything you’re grateful for but…
Gratitude journaling works best when you get personal. 👉 That is, you focus on why certain people make you happy instead of ‘things’.
5. Try to visualize your life without some people or things.
- How would it be?
- How would you feel?
6. Make a list.
- Of all the times bad things were supposed to happen but didn’t.
- When something negative happened but you turned it into something positive.
- When you prevented something bad from happening.
7. Consider every good thing that you have as a ‘gift’.
When you treasure each and every of these things, it’ll be harder for you to take them for granted.
8. Someone surprised you and made your day?
Record it in your journal. Why?
👉 Well, this is when your emotional reactions and gratitude levels are at their peaks.
9. Decide how many times you’ll write per week. And at what time.
👉 Then, commit to it. This will improve both your willpower and self-discipline.
Some people love doing gratitude journaling first thing in the morning as a motivation. Others love to do so right before bed to sleep better. But, nothing stops you from writing one thing in the morning and one before bed time. However …
10. Don’t do it too often.
This will make you numb to happy events. Gratitude journaling will become routine. You lay all your emotions on paper and that’s it.
👉 Try writing 1 to 3 times every week. This is said to be more beneficial than doing daily gratitude journaling.
11. Once you’ve started gratitude journaling, try acting upon it.
Show your gratitude to your loved ones. A new study revealed how tremendously powerful gratitude journaling can be when you do so.
Gratitude Journaling: Here’s How You Can Start 👇
Still clueless about what to write? Here are a few tips that’ll help you get started.
1. Begin with ‘you’ in mind.
Who knows you better than your own self? When you take a look at yourself in the mirror,
- What’s the first thing for which you’re grateful?
- Can you name one thing that you like most about your body?
- Is there one thing that you like about yourself, mentally?
- What’s the one thing that you’re proud to have achieved?
- Name one obstacle that you’ve successfully avoided.
- What’s one thing at which you’re good at?
2. Go back to challenges that you faced in the past 🔙.
“Hard times and harsh people are meant to be buried away forever.”
If that’s what you’re thinking, think about it once again. If you hadn’t faced challenges or mean people, would you:
- be who you are now?
- have gained valuable life lessons?
- be living your life as you are right now?
3. Focus on the good around you ❤️.
In a world filled with heinous crimes, we’ve grown to become negative and pessimist. And that’s quite normal. But we need to fix this, right?
Think about the last time you were in public.
- Did someone give up their place to an elderly person in the supermarket queue?
- Has a youngster offered his seat to a pregnant woman in the bus?
- Have you witnessed a Samaritan buying food for a poor person?
Wondering what these acts of humanity have to do with you?
👉 Being grateful for people’s kindness and compassion, will motivate you to do more good deeds. This will consequently make you happier and grateful that you can do good in this world.
4. Other insightful questions to help you with gratitude journaling ✍️.
- When’s the last time someone made you beam?
- How did they do it?
- Why are you thankful for that?
- What are the 3 persons in your life to whom you look up to?
- Why is that?
- Is there someone who had a humongous impact in your life?
- What was their contribution?
- When was the last time you assisted somebody?
- How did that person react?
- How did you feel in that moment?
- Can you name someone who’s always here for you, no matter how tired they are?
- What makes you grateful to have them?
- What are the blessings that you’ve had since day 1 on this earth? Think about things that money can’t buy.
- Can you count them?
Wondering If You’ll Stick to Practicing Gratitude Journaling? 💭
Are you initially super thrilled about starting a new project? And then days or weeks later, you find it a torture to keep going?
You have to shake yourself to continue what you started? And now you’re wondering if gratitude journaling is for you? Well, let me tell you something:
- Invest your time and energy into this.
- Make a conscious effort to focus on the good and push aside the bad things.
You’ll feel SO good that you won’t want to stop. After all your mind is what you feed it with, right?
Let me give you an example.
You woke up with a terrible joint pain.
Your boss yelled at you for being late.
Your co-worker yet again made a nasty comment about your ‘rabbit food’.
And when you finally got home, you realized that you forgot to buy groceries.
Awful day, eh?
But when you sit down to write about it all, you realize that it wasn’t that bad after all.
You might feel like it’s nothing but with time, you’ll improve.
Maybe you’ll wanna give this a try. 👉 Go take a stroll in the nearby park.
- Can you feel the warmth of the sun?
- The cool breeze caressing your cheeks?
- Can you hear the birds singing in the trees?
You’ll surprise yourself at how powerful such a small exercise can be. Once you savor the small things in your day-to-day life, you’ll see blessings everywhere.
You’ll even enjoy something as routine as washing your face with warm water after a chilly day at work.
Ever heard of people writing gratitude letters to those they cherish and love?
How about we do this differently?
👉 Write a letter to yourself. Make as if you’re writing it to someone valuable. You can tell yourself how proud you are for:
- Coming all this way,
- Who you’ve grown to become,
- All the challenges that you overcame,
- The people who smiled because of you,
- Every person who considers you a blessing in their life.
 Krause, N. (2006). Gratitude toward God, stress, and health in late life. Research on Aging, 28(2), 163–183.
 Bartlett, M. Y., & DeSteno, D. (2006). Gratitude and prosocial behavior: Helping when it costs you. Psychological Science, 17(4), 319–325.
 Kashdan, T. B., & Breen, W. E. (2007). Materialism and diminished well-being: Experiential avoidance as a mediating mechanism. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 26(5), 521–539.
 Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377–389.
 Gordon, C. L., Arnette, R. A. M., & Smith, R. E. (2011). Have you thanked your spouse today? Felt and expressed gratitude among married couples. Personality and Individual Differences, 50(3), 339–343.
 Bartlett, M. Y., & DeSteno, D. (2006). Gratitude and prosocial behavior: Helping when it costs you. Psychological Science, 17(4), 319–325.
 Examining the Pathways between Gratitude and Self-Rated Physical Health across Adulthood. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23139438
 Chen, Lung Hung and Wu, Chia-Huei (2014) Gratitude enhances change in athletes’ self-esteem: the moderating role of trust in coach. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 26 (3). pp. 349-362. ISSN 1041-3200.
 Journal of Psychosomatic Research. Volume 66, Issue 1, January 2009, Pages 43-48.
 Kashdan, T. B., Uswatte, G., & Julian, T. (2006). Gratitude and hedonic and eudaimonic wellbeing in Vietnam war veterans. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 44, 177–199.