This week’s blog entry was written by guest author Katie Burns. Katie is a graduate of Whole Life Yoga’s 200 hour yoga teacher training program and a student in our advanced teacher training program. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we awake from our Thanksgiving food comas, the mind quickly transitions full swing into the holiday season. We know our next Thanksgiving—aka, day of the double Gs: gratitude and gluttony—is a good 350+ days away. Daydreams of gifts we would like to receive enter our conscious space, and brainstorms of presents for those we love occupy our thinking. As we move forward, I invite you to carry the spirit of gratitude from Thanksgiving into your daily life.
In the field of positive psychology, researchers set out to investigate wellness, the good things in life, and factors that contribute to overall well-being. Gratitude is one of their areas of focus. After collecting the results from multiple studies, researcher Christopher Peterson concluded, “Counting your blessings on a regular basis makes you happier and more content with life.” Based on this statement, Peterson, along with fellow researchers Seligman, Steen, and Park, conducted a research study in which they asked people to record three things that went well during the day everyday for one week. From their study, they discovered that attuning to positive things in life and expressing gratitude “increased happiness and decreased symptoms of depression for up to six months.”
I invite you to reap these benefits by keeping a gratitude journal for one week. The instructions that the researchers provided for their participants are below.
Gratitude Journal Instructions
by Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson (as published in A Primer in Positive Psychology by Christopher Peterson, 2006)
“At the end of each day, after dinner and before going to sleep, write down three things that went well during the day. Do this every night for a week. The three things you list can be relatively small in importance (‘my husband picked up my favorite ice cream for dessert on the way home from work today’) or relatively large in importance (‘My sister just gave birth to a healthy baby boy’). After each positive event on your list, answer in your own words the question, ‘Why did this good thing happen?’ For example, you might speculate that your husband picked up ice cream ‘because he can be really thoughtful’ or ‘because I remembered to call him from work and remind him to stop by the grocery store.’”
You can follow their suggestion or adapt your gratitude journal to fit you. Regardless of the form that your gratitude journal takes, you are planting the seed to focus on the positive moments in your life. Watch to see how that seed grows, and if you are willing, share your experience by leaving a comment below.
Wishing you a happy holiday season filled with gratitude!
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