Advanced Gratitude Journaling: 5 Practices for Increased Happiness

Advanced Gratitude Journaling: 5 Practices for Increased Happiness
Karson McGinley

Gratitude has become very popular lately, and for good reason. According to research, gratitude is one of the easiest and most beneficial tools for boosting happiness levels on a neurological and emotional level. Many “gratitude practitioners” already employ the practice of gratitude journaling and other simple gratitude practices, but what if you’re ready to graduate to a more developed practice?

According to Robert Emmons, the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, people are 25 percent happier if they keep gratitude journals. That means if you were to rate your happiness on a scale from 1 to 100, and you said 70, a journaling practice would bring you up to 95!

In addition, Emmons reveals in his book, Gratitude Works!, that those who keep gratitude journals also sleep one half hour more per evening, and exercise 33 percent more each week compared to those who don’t keep journals.

There are layers and levels of gratitude, and there are many techniques beyond just the basics in terms of how you can have a daily practice. Here are five daily practices for cultivating gratitude.

1. Write Down 3 Things

If you’re new to a gratitude practice, try this practice for starters. It is the most basic gratitude practice, where you write down three things for which you are grateful on any given day. It’s important that you be as specific as you can. For example, rather than simply writing down “I’m grateful for my husband,” it is more effective to write “I’m grateful that my husband picked up dinner for us on his way home from work today.”

The more you practice this, the easier it gets. For some people, coming up with gratitudes is really difficult in the beginning, and for others, it is so much a part of who they are that it’s almost boring. The idea for this and all the exercises is that it teaches us to establish a habit of paying attention to gratitude-inspiring events.

2. Try a Timed Gratitude Session

Next try this deeper gratitude practice. Set a timer for five minutes, and start writing as many things as you can for which you are grateful right now. Try not to overthink this; instead, do it in a stream-of-consciousness style.

You might be surprised at how much you are able to write down in just five minutes. This is a nice practice because you can write about just one thing, or you can write your appreciation about many things, if you’re feeling really good. And on the days when you’re not feeling as hot, you can literally write about being grateful that you made it home safely, or that you have running water.

3. Focus on Depth and Specificity

For this activity, pick one thing (i.e., your apartment or house), and write gratitudes about as many details as you can. So you might write about how the ceilings are …read more
Source: Deepak Chopra  

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