Is a Gratitude Practice or Journal Right for Me?
Danielle Lively Neal is a former professor turned entrepreneur who provides brand strategy consulting, career coaching and marketing services for clients.
I have never really bought into the whole writing down a list of things you are grateful for, in other words establishing a gratitude practice vs. just being grateful. I always thought, of course I am grateful! I am truly blessed and I know it and am grateful for it each day! But then I started actually doing it, writing down things I am grateful for each day. I don’t mean big generalizations, but little things, like the dewdrop on a flower petal or a particularly beautiful sunrise and sunset, or the person who said they liked my nails at the store.
Once I started my gratitude practice, I actually started to notice that I was looking for things to be grateful for each day just so I would have something exciting for my journal each night. It definitely made me stop, take a breath, and really appreciate all I have to be grateful for, not just say I am grateful and leave it at that. I like to say that it made me mindfully grateful, which has been a real asset to my life. It’s hard to be down about things when you are taking the time to stop and smell the roses, so to say, of gratitude.
So what exactly is it about gratitude that makes it so powerful, so much so that experts say it is a key to a happier life? While I could bore you with all sorts of studies and statistics, let’s suffice it to say that those who have a gratitude practice tend to have better physical, psychological and social makeups than those who don’t. Physically, those who practice gratitude tend to have a stronger immune system, aren’t as bothered by aches and pains, have lower blood pressure, exercise more and take better care of their health. They also tend to sleep longer and awake more refreshed than their non-practicing counterparts.
Psychologically, those who have a gratitude practice tend to have higher levels of positive emotions, they are more alert, alive, and awake, find more joy and pleasure in the things they do, and experience more optimism and happiness. Social-wise, they are more helpful, forgiving, outgoing, and feel less lonely and isolated than those who do not have a gratitude practice.
WOW!!!! Look at ALL those positives of having a gratitude practice! Definitely all things an entrepreneur can use considering we are notoriously bad about making time for ourselves to experience these things.