Keeping a gratitude journal
discover the power that gratitude can have on your emotional and physical well being
Some people get so focused
on what they don’t have in a relationship that they forget about all the things that are going well. Or they dismiss what’s there because it doesn’t fit their ideal image — which may not be realistic. In a study of gratitude and attachment, people with insecure attachment styles were less satisfied in relationships than those with secure attachment.1
I have a friend who I talk with on the phone... a lot. She's an amazing source of inspiration and connection. We got into the habit of talking with each other for hours about our lives, but when we were going through tough situations, this tended to revolve around our problems. Then one day, we decided to try something different. We took turns expressing gratitudes, twenty each. It took us an hour and a half, and it was the most fun and feel-good phone conversation we'd had in months. From that I learned that gratitude can be an amazing state shifter, and I practice it regularly.
Regular gratitude practice boosts your mood and helps you appreciate what you have, a key factor in happiness. And couples who express gratitude are more satisfied in their relationships.
Here is an easy weekly gratitude practice to get in your reps.
Jot down what you’re thankful for. Often people start with a short list of 3, and then discover as they write that things just pop into their head. And because gratitude releases happy chemicals in your body, you may even find that the more you write, the better you feel. Ideas to get you started: a recent good experience or interaction with someone. Or it could be your job, a wonderful meal, or someone you love.
Reminisce about a powerful, positive experience in your life. It could be recent or from long ago, but as you recall it, imagine drifting back to that moment and experience it with your senses. Remember what you saw, heard, smelled, tasted, and felt. Then write down what you experienced.
Let your imagination create a wonderful future, and imagine your life there. It could be a specific snapshot in time, where you capture what you are doing, seeing, and saying to others. Then write down what you experienced.
Write a letter to someone you care about telling them how much they mean to you and why they are important. Whether you choose to send it or not is up to you, but doing this will remind you of the connections you do have.
Take a few moments to review your week. What went well? Write down 3 things, whether they were good conversations, good meals, achieving a goal, or anything else that turned out well. Sometimes people are surprised to find little moments that they had forgotten to really appreciate.
—This exercise is based on an excerpt from the book 59 Seconds by Richard Wiseman
1 Dioszeghy, Bri any D., "Gratitude in Relationships: A Study on Gratitude, A achment, and Relationship Satisfaction" (2018). Educational Specialist. 130.