Scrolling down to #6 in the 10 Health Hacks you can incorporate easily into your life to create better health and wellbeing, I was curious to know if this one resonated with anyone as much as it did me?
Thinking about one positive thing in your life each day is either a simple or very difficult thing to do, dependent on the day, am I right? And writing about the experience, even better, perhaps by keeping a journal.
I have gotten out of the habit of journaling each day, and I feel the difference. I guess this is why I wanted to include it in the list last week and discuss it further this week. Right now I am mostly writing in the morning, and every few days. Ideally, I would like to be consistent and make entries every day, especially at night.
I kind of like this idea of journaling in the evening on the following questions:
What excited me today?
What exhausted me today?
What did I learn today?
I think these are great questions to consider, as it helps us to see the positive in each day, each moment as we reflect on the day.
And to make it even more meaningful, rating how I feel at the end of the writing exercise, using a rating of 1-5, with 1 being “so-so” and 5 “amazing. Again, another point of reflection, checking in with our feelings, not just writing down a quick list.
Keep it for at least 30 days, to see if a pattern emerges. I bet there does. Am I mostly excited or exhausted? And by what or whom? What did I learn over the course of 30 days? Hopefully, that I am getting better and finding the positive and gratitude, no matter the outcome.
And lastly, journaling gratitude is a reflective time. However, to add a component of behavioral gratitude, only amplifies the benefits of gratefulness. When you express your gratitude to your partner or friend and let them know how much you appreciate something specific, it is not only an investment in your relationship it also connects you to the other person more completely. So whether it is a note expressing your appreciation or a quick chat about a warm memory, you create a stronger bond.
Give these a try and let me know what you think.
Speaking of gratitude, I returned to my last blog on the topic back in 2021 to reflect on that year-long exercise. Guess what, I wrote it back in January, a great month for journaling as we hunker down indoors. Journaling, hot cocoa and board games are just the right prescription, don’t you think?
And so is positive self-talk. I hope if and when you journal you include positive statements about and to yourself. Claiming what is specifically special about you and why you are so grateful for you goes a long way towards maintaining well-being and good mental health. For example, are you a person who wraps beautiful presents for others, sends them the perfect card for their birthday? That is a gift, my friend, and I am afraid not one of mine (if only).
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have found that effects of positive thinking (optimism) on your health may include:
Lower levels of stress
Greater resistance to illness
Lower depression rates
Reduced risk of death from cancer, respiratory conditions, and infections
Better coping skills when times are hard