Updated: Aug 28, 2022
If you follow my social media pages, you will know that I have just recently completed a 30-day gratitude journal. This meant that everyday for 30-days I documented 3 things that I was grateful for in the day.
In this blog post I am going to discuss:
What research suggests about practising gratitude
Why I wanted to do my gratitude journal
How the gratitude journal went
What I got out of practising gratitude
Practising gratitude: what the research suggests
The first study I found when researching gratitude looked at 293 students from an American university. These students were all seeking therapy as a result of their negative mental health.
The study, conducted by Wong et al, compared a gratitude plus a psychotherapy intervention to a psychotherapy intervention for helping these students combat their negative mental health.
The study found that 4-12 weeks after the intervention had ended, the students who had completed the gratitude plus psychotherapy intervention reported much better mental health compared to students who solely had the psychotherapy intervention.
When looking into research I love coming across reviews. Reviews look at multiple studies and summarise their effects. It is effectively a mass-analysis.
Jans-Beken et al (2020) conducted an updated review of the scientific research into gratitude. Their review looked through many different research articles about gratitude.
Jans-Beken et al concluded after reviewing the research that practising gratitude is generally linked to better social, emotional and psychological well-being compared to not practising gratitude and various other types of psychological intervention.
Why I wanted to do a 30-day gratitude journal
I highly doubt after reading the research into practising gratitude that you wouldn’t consider practising gratitude! Why not? It is linked to overall better mental well-being and some studies I looked at even suggested that it was linked to better physical well-being.
I wanted to do my gratitude journal not only because of the research supporting it but also because I believe that we take many things for granted in the day. I believe that, through daily habit, people do nice things for us but they go unseen as these are things that we just ‘expect’ to happen.
So the last reason for me doing my gratitude journal was to see what things I take for granted in the day and to say thank you for them.
Day 0-10 of my Gratitude Journal
I’m not going to lie, when I started my gratitude journal I felt like an idiot. Every evening I got my phone out and shared with everyone 3 things that I was grateful for in the day.
In the beginning this was hard. I found it hard to think of things that I was grateful for. If you followed my gratitude journal, then you would know that in the beginning, I acknowledged very similar things that I was grateful for such as ‘working out’ or ‘a nice accommodation I am staying in’.
These were big things that happened in the day and easy to acknowledge and be grateful for. Towards the tenth day I got used to practising gratitude and found myself acknowledging more random things.
When things happened in the day, I found myself saying thank you more and feeling good about myself for saying thank you.
Day 10-24 of my Gratitude Journal
As the journal progressed it got easier and easier to name 3 things that I was grateful for in the day. I started to acknowledge peoples jobs more such as taxi drivers, cleaners and hotel owners.
You may think well that’s their job to make you feel welcome or get you from A to B. It is their job. But if someone has put you at ease or helped you in anyway, regardless of it being their job, you should say thank you.
Taxi drivers didn’t have to take my bag and help me put it in the boot, cleaners didn’t have to leave me a water bottle in the fridge, hotel owners didn’t have to explain local tours or give advice with good spots in the area. But they did.
Not only did it put a smile on peoples faces when I would say thank you, but it would make me feel better about myself. It made me feel great that I made someone smile with a simple word. That might sound cheesy but I don’t care, I like cheese.
Day 24-30 of my Gratitude Journal
In last week of my gratitude journal I started realising that I was being thankful for some random things! I had a message from my auntie who found it funny that I was grateful for doing some laundry!
Which thinking about it… it is! But that’s what I started acknowledging. Practising gratitude everyday was very hard at the start. However, towards the end I started being grateful for most things in the day!
My girlfriend even started getting annoyed that I was saying ‘thank you’ to her for everything because she thought I was being sarcastic. This made me realise that before I was missing things in the day and taking things for granted. She picked up on the fact I was starting to say thank you for everything.
This makes me sound like a terribly rude person. I did say thank you for things before, but I started saying thank you for EVERYTHING, without thinking about it.
What I got out of practising gratitude
Some of the effects I thought the gratitude journal had on me were:
I was happier
People around me were happier
I started realising all the little jobs that people do in the day
I started becoming more thankful throughout the day, not just when I was recording my 3 things I was grateful for
In general, practising gratitude made me feel great. I felt great about myself for saying thank you and acknowledging people but also great for other people and what they do. It definitely had an Impact on my mood and it was a lot easier towards the end than at the start!
It may sound very cheesy, saying thank you for people or things that happened in the day and it may be hard! But if I noticed a positive difference and it became easier to do in 30 days, then why shouldn’t you practise gratitude!
If you do start practising gratitude or you don’t, either way, thank you for reading this blog article…