“It is not happiness that brings us gratitude. It is gratitude that brings us happiness”.
Journaling can assist us to help us notice patterns/habits and if these are getting in our way to moving forward, we can focus on changing them from limiting and self-sabotaging to positive potentials.
When mindful of what’s being created in our life’s we can be grateful. The exercise of acknowledging gratitude can be useful to reflect and help us to see what’s really going on and how we can focus on the positive.
The limbic system is the part of the brain that is responsible for all emotional experiences.
Studies have shown that the hippocampus and amygdala, the two main sites regulating emotions, memory and body functions get activated with feelings of gratitude.
Research has found that by thinking of positive experiences of the day or reminding yourself of what you have to be grateful for, you are much less likely to ponder over your worries and therefore clear your mind for a great night’s sleep.
I am not saying to write screeds of pages of what you are grateful for in your life, itemizing everything as a long list, (of course there are many ways to journal and its what suits you best) I suggest two or three times a week to jot down in a journal three to five things that you are truly grateful in your life at this moment in time.
From this list to select just one and really write about the reason’s you are grateful for this. Use all your senses whilst doing this – get creative. How does that look like? feel like? sound like? taste like? smells like? Submersing yourself into this exercise allows you to really connect with the gratitude.
There maybe challenges to start with, even to the point of I don’t have a thing to be grateful for! Dig deep it could be something such as “I’m so grateful that the sun rises each day”.
Then go on to expand on this what does it look like? feel like? sound like? to you. By choosing to see more of the positivity in your life you give less power to negative emotions.
When we show gratitude, we are acknowledging the goodness in our lives, writing these down you feel the positive emotions, relish good experiences, and build strong relationships. This in turn can improve:-
Your wellbeing. Increases positivity.
Improves self-esteem. Help you sleep better.
Reduces stress. Reduces pain.
Reduces anxiety and depression.
When we express gratitude and receive the same, our brain releases dopamine and serotonin the two crucial neurotransmitters responsible for our emotion’s and they make us feel ‘good’. They enhance our mood immediately, making us feel happy from inside.