One of the most reliable ways to boost your health, happiness, and connection with others is also one of the simplest: giving thanks.

Keeping a gratitude journal and writing your thoughts on paper allows you to consciously note your appreciation for all the good things and people in your life, research suggests. When you’re scared or angry, practicing gratitude in this way can help you put things into perspective, ease your anxiety, and improve your mood.

But recognizing what you’re grateful for, and fully appreciating it, takes practice. These tips offer some helpful ways for documenting your gratefulness more frequently — and meaningfully.

Be creative.

Can’t find the right words? Draw instead. Or paste mementos of fun events (photos, ticket stubs, etc.) into your journal. Each time you see these, you’ll feel thankful for those experiences all over again.

Go deep.

Don’t just document events or thoughts; express your emotions about your experiences.

Take a moment to reflect.

Note two to five things you’re grateful for — such as the breakfast you had with your kids or being able to ride your bike to work.

Get real.

Record the good in your life, but also chronicle the lessons and silver linings you take away from challenges and setbacks.

Make it a habit.

Writing weekly is the best way to establish a consistent rhythm for your practice.

This article has been updated. It was originally published in the Jan./Feb. 2016 issue of Experience Life magazine.

Heidi Wachter

Share
Published by
Heidi Wachter

How to Pack a Gym Bag

Packing the right gear before you head to the health club can keep your workout…

6 hours ago

The 4 Communication Styles

How knowing these four different communication styles can improve your relationships.

1 day ago

What to Do About Noise Pollution

Noise pollution reverberates throughout the natural world and can damage our health. Discover what you…

2 days ago

How to Breathe

The way we breathe affects our athletic performance, cognitive health, and overall well-being. Here's how…

2 days ago

PUMPING IRONY: Pedaling Through the Next Pandemic

I’m not the only geezer trying to get back in shape after COVID-19 derailed my…

3 days ago

4 Cool-Down Exercises

These quick and simple moves may convince you to never skip the postworkout recovery period…

3 days ago