This tip has recently been a game changer for me. Like you, I’d heard this advice dished out many times before. It wasn’t until I actually started to do it consistently that I started to notice changes in my life. But how can writing in a gratitude journal improve my health or help me lose weight you ask? It’s actually brilliant in its simplicity. The nervous system can only focus on one thing at a time. You can do more than one thing at a time but you can only focus on one. So if you focus on gratitude and on what a privilege it is to be alive, in that moment you can’t be making those stress hormones that we talked about in health tip #2. You know, the stress hormones that were making you store fat. As humans, when we don’t feel safe we tend to store fat. Not only that but a whole cascade of negative health effects follow in the wake of the release of stress hormones. So the more we focus on what makes us grateful, the less we can feel the effects of stress in our lives and on our health. More about stress to come in a future post. For now let’s get back to gratitude.
So here’s what to do: get yourself a gratitude journal and a pen or pencil. Keep them on your nightstand. Every night before you go to bed or every morning before you get out of bed, or both, take a few moments to concentrate on what you feel grateful for and write it down. Try to find at least five things you feel grateful for. What we’re really going for here is to elicit the feelings of gratitude. Ideally you should feel a slight stirring in your heart. It should feel good. Why’s it so important to write it down? There are couple reasons. 1.) If ever you are looking for inspiration for things to feel grateful about, just look through your past gratitude lists. If they were written with feeling, they should help get you in the flow. 2.) The mind is a slippery thing. It can go from a positive thought to a negative thought in a heartbeat. You can start out thinking about things you’re grateful for and very quickly become distracted and off task. Writing it down helps pin the mind down.