wellness

"The simple act that's helped me have the best year of my life."

Every morning when Lynnaire wakes up, she writes what she is grateful for in a journal.

It’s a quick, simple task but it has had a profound effect on the 26-year-old – and has helped her have the best 2018 she could imagine.

Her gratitude journal has been an essential part of her day since September 2017.

“I started because I had just opened my own business and it isn’t easy, so practising gratitude helps me relieve stress and anxiety and helps me appreciate what I actually do have, so it shows the universe what I am grateful for and helped me have a successful business to this day,” Lynnaire told Mamamia.

Taking this step each morning has drastically improved her mental health and encouraged a positive mindset, which flows into every aspect of her life.

“I have noticed that I am so much happier in life and with my business… I find good things come out of my day instead of bad. I notice if I don’t write in my journal on a weekly basis when I have bad days, they stay bad and I find it hard to pick myself back up but when I do write in my journals it makes me feel positive and happy during the day.

“It has definitely helped my mental health as I use to suffer from anxiety and would get anxious about little situations, so it definitely has improved it as when I do notice that I am getting anxious I will practise gratitude and change my mindset.”

Practising gratitude  has also helped her realise what is most beneficial for her and what she enjoys – which is getting up early for a walk and to watch the sunrise.

“I used to be a gym junkie and I thought that’s what helped with my anxiety, but after a year of writing in gratitude journals I have found I dislike going to the gym now and now I write in my journals and practise gratitude to help with my anxiety and it really works.”

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Research by UC Davis psychologist Robert Emmons, author of Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, shows that something as simple as keeping a gratitude journal can majorly improve well being and satisfaction.

The study of more than one thousand people, from ages eight to 80, found that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits including lower blood pressure, better sleep, more joy, optimism and pleasure and feeling less lonely and isolated.

Emmons writes that keeping a gratitude journal is a simple way to increase your gratefulness and reap its benefits.

“This practice works, I think, because it consciously, intentionally focuses our attention on developing more grateful thinking and on eliminating ungrateful thoughts,” he writes.

“It helps guard against taking things for granted; instead, we see gifts in life as new and exciting. I do believe that people who live a life of pervasive thankfulness really do experience life differently than people who cheat themselves out of life by not feeling grateful.”

As her gratitude journal has improved her outlook on life, Lynnaire said she is always encouraging others to write their gratitude down.

“I swear by my gratitude journal and I always try to tell others about it to help them with their mental health.”

With 2019 on the horizon, it might be time to grab yourself a journal too.

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