World Mental Health Day 2022 is all about making mental health a global priority. There are both big and small ways to improve mental health, and one of those seemingly small ways is by keeping a gratitude journal. This daily practice is said to have the power to improve your mental health in a matter of minutes, but is it really that easy?
According to the World Health Organization, the Covid-19 pandemic triggered a 25% increase in the prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide. With mental health challenges on the rise, it’s more important than ever to take matters into our own hands and employ daily practices that will keep us emotionally healthy.
The Power of the Gratitude Journal
The University of Rochester Medical Center shares that journaling can help reduce stress, manage anxiety, and cope with depression. By organizing your thoughts on paper, journaling helps you acknowledge fears and anxieties and gives you the opportunity for positive self-talk. What’s not to love? Experts recommend journaling about whatever is on your mind and using your journal as a space to safely express your thoughts and feelings.
Gratitude journaling offers the same benefits as general journaling but with the added benefit that comes with focusing on and expressing gratitude. Studies show a strong link between gratitude and well-being, a decrease in depression, and lower stress levels too.
How to Keep a Gratitude Journal
Now that we understand the benefits of keeping a gratitude journal, let’s dive into how to keep one!
1. Choose a journal.
The first step is choosing a journal to write in. There are plenty of journals on the market that have been created specifically for this purpose. With a morning and evening slot on each page, there are rows of blank spaces where you can jot down what you’re grateful for. Alternatively, you can grab any journal at the store or use one you already own!
2. Make it easy and accessible.
Set yourself up for success by making your journal easily accessible. Store it by your bedside table, on your desk next to your weekly planner, or in your bag where you will see it every day! By keeping your journal easily accessible you will set yourself up for success and increase the chances of making this practice a habit.
3. Challenge yourself to think of fresh ideas.
Once you get into the groove of keeping a gratitude journal it’s easy to fall into a rut where you begin to list the same things over and over again. Challenge yourself to think of fresh ideas! This will ensure that you stay excited to keep up with the practice.
4. Keep it simple.
Don’t overthink your lists and feel free to keep it simple! Your gratitude list can include anything from a freshly brewed cup of coffee to sunny weather to a good review from your boss. You can think big or small when it comes to your gratitude journal. Just don’t feel pressured to think big every single day.
5. Don’t stress!
Finally, don’t stress! The perfectionists among us might stress about perfecting the art of gratitude journaling. Remember that this exercise is intended to improve your stress levels, not heighten them. Go with the flow and focus on your gratitude!
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