There is a good deal of scientific evidence to support the practice of gratitude, much of it from Martin Seligman.
While I actively try to practice gratitude each day through simply thinking about what I’m lucky to have in my life, Seligman suggests writing a list of things that went well in your day, so that you have a physical record.
As a creative journaling addict, I look for any excuse to get out the art supplies and play! A daily gratitude list is the perfect excuse.
Seligman suggests that the reason we need to make a conscious effort to acknowledge what is good in our lives is because we are hardwired to look out for threats and danger.
We tend to spend more time analysing things that have gone wrong, rather than celebrating the good things, because in the past, it made good sense for our survival. Of course, things are a little different now.
As part of your daily gratitude practice, take a few minutes towards the end of the day to write three things that went well that day. Also write why they happened. You should do this for at least a week to experience positive changes.
For example, my list today looks like this:
- I wrote in my journal for two hours because this is important to me and I made the time
- I slept in late because I needed the rest and wanted to look after myself
- I wrote two blog posts, despite missing a day, because I’m committed to finishing the 100 Days Project
What are three things that have gone well for you today? Why have they gone well? Try to do this every day for a week and see how you’re feeling. It need only take 5 minutes tops!
Seligman promises that by practising gratitude each day like this, we’ll be “less depressed, happier, and addicted to this exercise six months from now.”
Sounds pretty good to me!