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How to Keep a Gratitude Journal

People who document what they’re thankful for reap health and emotional benefits



Start with these tips from Dr Robert Emmons, psychology professor at the University of California, Davis, in the US, adapted from the University of California, Berkeley’s Greater Good website.


1. Commit to happiness

Writing in a journal is more effective if you first make the conscious decision to become more fulfilled and more grateful, research suggests. ‘Motivation to become happier plays a role,’ Emmons explains.


2. Go for depth over breadth

Elaborating in detail about a particular thing for which you’re grateful – for example how thankful you are that your husband repaired a broken tap – carries more benefits than listing many things.


3. Make it personal

Focus on people you’re grateful for, not things. And try subtraction, not just addition: reflect on what your life would be like without certain blessings rather than just tallying up the good stuff.


4. Savour surprises

Record events that were unexpected or surprising, as these tend to elicit stronger levels of gratitude.

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