Ending Resolutions and Expressing Gratitude

In late December and early January, we hear so much about making and breaking resolutions. Resolutions can be great—if we keep them. But, if we don’t, we may feel rotten and feel as if we’ve failed.

Do you want to enter February depressed and feeling like you’ve failed? I sure don’t. We’re already dealing with winter weather, jobs, and other responsibilities.

So, let’s ditch the formal resolutions. Instead, we can one simple thing to make the new year better: starting a gratitude journal.

How do you start a gratitude journal?

Have you seen this? People are using social media sites to post three things that make them grateful everyday for a month.

You can also take your gratitude public, but you don’t have to do that. Instead, you can use a notebook or journal. Every day, write down two things that make you grateful. Or, you can take time once a week, maybe on a Sunday afternoon, to write down five things in your gratitude journal.

How is gratitude powerful?

Expressing our gratitude can yield powerful benefits. One study compared people who expressed their gratitude in writing to people wrote down things that aggravated them.

The people who wrote about gratitude viewed life with more optimism, were more physically active, and visited doctors less than the people who wrote down their grievances. The differences between the two groups illustrate strong connection between our mental and physical health. For example, if we’re depressed, we may be more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, and abusing drugs and alcohol may make us even more depressed.

How does gratitude affect others?

Another benefit of expressing our gratitude is that it is communal. Writing down our gratitude helps us remember the people and things that make our lives better. We may reach out to others to thank them and strengthen our relationships. We may also help others in the same ways, which can forge new bonds.

It’s easy to be pessimistic and depressed, but those feelings can fester inside people, poisoning their perspectives and endangering their mental and physical health. Instead, expressing gratitude and encouraging positivity lets us interact with others. Recognizing our gratitude lets us pay positivity forward and helps us contribute to the community.

Being thankful helps us see the good things in our lives. It helps us develop additional opportunities that create other reasons to be thankful. Gratitude leads to gratitude and good leads to good.

Sources

greatergood.berkeley.edu – Tips for Keeping a Gratitude Journal
health.harvard.edu – In Praise of Gratitude