Gratitude has been shown to benefit people physically and psychologically.
Some studies have shown that keeping a gratitude journal can increase a person’s happiness and overall positive mood. Others show that patients who are more grateful report better sleep, less fatigue and lower levels of cellular inflammation. Several studies have concluded that grateful people experience less depression and are more resilient following traumatic events. Clearly, there is something to be gained by practicing gratefulness.
It can be easy to take our family and friends for granted. As our support system, they are essential for helping us cope with the myriad challenges we face every day as a result of our vestibular disorder. However, we often forget to recognize these people for their support. We may also forget to be thankful for even small amounts of progress we have made in our journey back to balance.
It is very simple to keep a gratitude journal. You can buy a fancy notebook, but this is not necessary. Any notebook will do, or you may use a computer or tablet. Vestibular patients who have visual problems may find dictation software useful.
Working with a gratitude journal should be done approximately three times per week in fifteen minute increments. In each entry, choose five things to be grateful for. These may range from mundane things to large accomplishments. Gratitude can also be about favorite things, such as a good dinner. You may be grateful for a neighbor who helped you that day. Or you may recognize the benefit of having good health insurance that helps you pay your medical bills.
Here are some suggestions for your gratitude journal practice:
- Don’t just "go through the motions" when writing in your journal. Give yourself time to give some thought to each entry.
- Be as detailed as you can.
- Think about all the people that make your life better.
- Consider what your life would be like if you didn’t have all the things you need.
- Meditate on any good or special event or accomplishment that happened that day.
Keeping a gratitude journal can help you put thoughts into words. By consciously recognizing people and things you are grateful for, you receive the benefit of those positive feelings. The action of writing down your grateful thoughts can be a powerful way to keep them in your memory.
Very Well Mind; Gratitude Journal, https://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/gratitude_journal#.
Greater Good in Action, How to Maintain a Gratitude Journal for Stress Relief, https://www.verywellmind.com/writing-in-a-gratitude-journal-for-stress-relief-3144887.
The Science of Gratitude. Allen, Summer PhD. Greater Good Science Center, May 2018.