Forget a bottomless packet of Tim Tam’s and puppies that never age – turns out the secret to happiness is having an attitude of gratitude.
Recent studies show that regularly counting your blessings can make you more successful, healthier and increase your wellbeing by up to 25 per cent.
But if you’re not one for verbal displays of affection, no stress. Experts say journaling is one of the best ways to reap the benefits.
“Expressing gratitude increases oxytocins (the love molecule) and creates stronger connections and bonds,” explains Eloise King, founder of The Self-Love Project.
“Journaling also has a long history of being used for greater clarity and wellbeing, and so combining the two daily is a simple recipe for better health, improved happiness, stronger relationships, a competitive edge at work and greater overall wellbeing.”
And not only is it effective, it’s also extremely easy to practice anytime, anywhere:
“I loved the moment the smell of the roasting coffee beans hit the back of my nostrils when I walked into my local cafe this morning” will be more powerful than “I’m grateful for my local cafe.
Find more and more details about an event or person you feel grateful for rather than a longer list of superficial and less meaningful things.
Focusing on people to whom you are grateful has more of an impact than focusing on things.
You must not repeat your gratitudes. If you find yourself writing about the same person or thing often, find a new detail or element to focus on.
Pay attention to surprises
Unexpected gifts or moments of goodness generate stronger levels of gratitude than those which are expected.
The important thing is to generate the feeling of gratitude. Not just intellectually noting things that are good.
Get the right tools
Use a beautiful notebook or your favourite pen, whatever brings you more joy for the exercise. Pilot Pen’s Prera fountain pen is lovely to write with, and their FriXion 4 Wood pen with erasable ink is also great as you can use different colours depending on your mood and also easily rewrite anything you want to change.
Don’t turn it into a chore
Studies show that writing less often (1-3 times a week) can sometimes be more beneficial than daily journaling if it beings to feel like a chore.
This article originally appeared on Women’s Health