There are many reasons to journal our gratitude. The most obvious yet perhaps most overlooked reason is that this Universe and Life itself are amazing! The more we focus on the millions of awe-inspiring things happening around us, from the stars to the cells in our bodies, those things we consider issues will feel less important, annoying, or overwhelming. When we feel grateful, our spirits are lifted – we feel good! Imagine how uplifting to see on your wall up to a whole month full of things that made you grateful! I find that starting and ending every day with a gratitude list helps me move into the day and night with a positive attitude. We can choose to be grateful for everything, because even the biggest challenge has a blessing, which may be a valuable lesson. When we look through the sunglasses of gratitude, beauty and generosity show up all around, and peace and joy can be found in anything. When I know I am going to see a challenging person or be in a challenging position, listing all of the things I’m grateful for about the person or situation greatly helps me to be more calm, present, and gracious. Physiologically, a relaxed state of mind (which can be induced by gratitude) helps the body shift into parasympathetic mode, giving more energy to the normal self-healing functions of the body. We’ve all experienced being affected by the emotions of others, so we can also surmise that our practice of gratitude is good for the happiness and therefore health of those around us. Many studies have shown the health benefits of spending time in gratitude. A university study which specifically related to journaling gratitude has been described as follows: “The cultivation of grateful affect through daily and weekly journaling led to overall improved well-being, including fewer health complaints and a more positive outlook toward life. Participants…also reported more exercise and appraised their life more positively compared to participants in the hassles and neutral conditions. Furthermore, in a study examining the contribution of gratitude in daily mood over 21 days, gratitude was strongly associated with spiritual transcendence and other positive affective traits (e.g., extraversion) (Emmons, R.A.,& Mishra, A. (2012). Why gratitude enhances well-being: What we know, what we need to know. In Sheldon, K., Kashdan, T., & Steger, M.F. (Eds.) Designing the future of positive psychology: Taking stock and moving forward. New York: Oxford University Press, regarding studies reported in McCullough, M.E., Tsang, J., & Emmons, R.A. (2004). Gratitude in intermediate affective terrain: Links of grateful moods to individual differences and daily emotional experience. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86, 295 – 309.)
Enjoy this calendar and create your own benefits!