5 minutes of gratitude can lead to a happier, healthier life
November 24, 2021
The attitude of gratitude. Let’s talk about it.
We’ve all heard that having gratitude can make us feel better in a million ways. But are we just supposed to think “I’m grateful!” and then—shazam—peaceful mood? If only.
One practical way to bring the benefits of gratitude into your life is to create a gratitude journal. Essentially, it’s the simple practice of writing down, and possibly reflecting on, all that you have to be grateful.
We’ll show you some of the science behind gratitude and why a daily gratitude list can lead to a healthier, happier life.
How to keep a gratitude journal
There are many ways to do this; you’re going to need something to write with to get started. It could be the notes app on your smartphone. It could be pen and paper—our personal favorite. And the best part is, this will take only15 minutes of your day (or less).
Start by writing down up to five things for which you feel grateful. It doesn’t have to be five. If you feel better starting off with one small thing you’re thankful for, go for it. There’s no wrong way of doing this; if you have a huge list, awesome.
The key here is to physically write it down instead of doing the exercise solely in your head. Physically writing down your gratitude list is more purposeful and gives you a tangible journal of your gratitude growth. So remember an event, experience, person, or thing in your life, write it down and enjoy the good emotions that come with it.
As you start writing your gratitude list, here are some tips to keep in mind while you write:
The benefits of practicing gratitude
Here are four key benefits to making a gratitude list:
Strengthens relationships. When the brain experiences gratitude, the areas of the brain associated with stress relief, social bonding and the ability to understand what other people are thinking or feeling are activated.
Boosts immunity. Gratitude can help your overall well-being. How? When we’re stressed, cortisol hormones are released into the body, lowering our ability to fight inflammation. The practice of gratitude can lower stress and improve mental health, helping your body fight off illness.
Protects hearts. Practicing gratitude isn’t singular to mental benefits. It also has the ability to improve other aspects of your physical health. For example, in one study, gratitude has been suggested to reduce risks associated with heart failure.
Improves mood. With daily gratitude, you’re fostering positive feelings and creating a better sense of well-being. Practicing gratitude on a regular basis can also help ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression—here’s the study.
“When thinking shifts from negative to positive, there is a surging of feel-good chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin. These all contribute to the feelings of closeness, connection and happiness that come with gratitude.” – Karen Young, author and psychologist.
Consistency is key (do it often and feel better)
Like your favorite fitness program, staying consistent with your gratitude journal is key. As you make gratitude a daily practice, you’ll notice that it tends to build upon itself. You wouldn’t just take a break from your workout routine, would you?
And listen, we get it—life gets busy, and we forget. So whether you’re looking for a quick mood boost or have five minutes left in your day, some gratitude journaling is better than none at all.
Karen Young explains that when you practice gratitude consistently, the more the brain learns to tune into the positive things happening in your world. And with all those feel-goods coming from your daily practice of gratitude, it won’t go unnoticed. “The more gratitude we feel, the more we’ll act in a prosocial way towards others, which will encourage their feelings of gratitude which will make them more prosocial.”
As we enter the holiday season, let’s take some time to recognize the things we’re grateful for and write them down. We’ll start—we’re grateful for you, our HiRoaders, for taking the high road.The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with HiRoad®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. HiRoad is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. HiRoad makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.
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