Like a character in Game of Thrones, I keep pointing out winter is coming. I was not supposed to be here for winter. I suffer from Seasonal Affected Disorder, or SAD for short. Apt because that’s what the seemingly endless grey days make me — sad. However, thanks to the worldwide pandemic, I am stuck here until at least next spring.
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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