Gratitude Journaling for Resilience, Growth, and Happiness

An open journal with "I am grateful for" lies with a pen ready to write

Gratitude journaling is the surprisingly simple element in wellness and mental health. First, medical studies show gratitude journaling helps lower stress and improved sleep. Behavioral psychologists report increased resilience, greater happiness, and even improved interpersonal relationships. (And yes, I am grateful my husband unloads the dishwasher — and I tell him so.) It can even combat materialism and improve empathy and generosity in adolescents!

But it isn’t a miracle cure for our problems. Research with some depressed patients find it’s not for everyone. Nor is there a “one-size-fits-all” method of gratitude journaling. There’s disagreement on whether it’s better to gratitude journal daily or weekly. Professor of psychology, Sonja Lyubomirsky, found in one of her studies that counting blessings once per week increased participants’ sense of happiness. Doing daily gratitude exercises backfired. Some study participants became resentful or desensitized to the benefits.

However, for most people, developing our gratitude is core to strengthening our resilience to setbacks, hard times, and pain. You need to find the technique and frequency that work best for you. 

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Do This One Thing to Change and Protect Your Brain For Life

woman laughing, dancing with others at a club

Sorry but the One Thing to improve brain health is not the clubbing, but the aerobic dancing.

I know. It sounds like click-bait. But I really, really wanted you to check out this post because brain health is very important to me. And if I’d titled this —

 “30-minutes of aerobic exercise 3-4 times a week can elevate your mood, improve your focus, and protect your brain from age-related degeneration

— you wouldn’t be reading it. But it’s true.

Check out the funny but informative 11-minute TED Talk below.

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Why You Need Enough Sleep (In 18 Minutes or Less)

bi-color-tabby kitten sleeping in old boot

You probably aren’t getting enough sleep, or getting enough good sleep.

I know I wasn’t — and still struggle at times to get enough. In my twenties and early thirties, I bragged about sleeping only 5 hours a night and about the times I’d abuse my body with things like 76 hours without sleep or only 12 hours in a week.

In his eye-opening TED Talk, neuroscientist Russell Foster debunks some common myths about sleep and calls us to take sleep seriously as a society. Continue reading “Why You Need Enough Sleep (In 18 Minutes or Less)”

5 Ways to Be Productive When Your Brain Says “No!”

By a rainy day window, a cat sits wrapped in a blanket and staring at nothing., apparently not being productive.

Some times my brain rebels. It merely wraps itself in a fluffy blanket and says “I’m taking a break.” A common problem during the long, grey days of winter when my brain gets lost in the fog after only an hour or two of work. Therefore, I feel the need to get things done but lack the mental motivation or even cognitive capacity. Because one of my intentional living resolutions is not fighting my body, I no longer beat myself up or reach for the cookies and caffeine. If your mind needs a break, here are 5 ways to still accomplish something while your brain recharges.

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