Practices for Well-Being: Gratitude, Journaling, Poetry Therapy


Developing a Daily Gratitude Practice

Undoubtedly, you have heard about the importance of expressing gratitude or starting a daily practice, but do you know why people recommend it so often? Aside from the fact that it is always a good idea to be more grateful and appreciative of the good things in your life, there is quite a lot of research that indicates an immense value from this simple practice.

Benefits of Expressing Gratitude


1 – Helps Reduce Toxic Mindset Patterns

This probably sounds familiar to you. One bad thing happens to you, then suddenly 20 more bad things happen to you. It seems to create this avalanche effect that you can’t seem to help. But what if that happened simply because of your own mindset? With a focus on problems, your ability to see anything that is going well in your life becomes clouded.  This isn’t an accident or a coincidence.

Research has proven it – what we focus on, grows!

With gratitude, no matter what is going on in your life, you find a way to be grateful. The more you focus on the good things, the better your life seems to get.

2 – Can Reduce Stress-Levels

There is this amazing effect that occurs when you start expressing more gratitude. The stress you have in your life begins to diminish. It isn’t going to magically disappear, but suddenly what you were worried about doesn’t seem as important. The big things you thought were “the worst” no longer ruin your days because you understand how many good things happen to you.

3 – Helps you to Become a More Forgiving & Empathetic Person

As you start focusing on your gratitude, you get some other behavioral benefits as well. It starts becoming easier to forgive people for something they might have done or said that hurt your feelings, and you become a much more empathetic person. You understand people’s struggles a little better as you see the joy in your own life. You become a more well-rounded person who is grateful for everything, the good and the bad.

4 – Allows You to Appreciate Your Life, Even Through Hard Times

Lastly, you start to appreciate your life more, regardless of the day you are having. You become so accustomed to showing gratitude for every little thing, that when you get a flat tire or you have a hard day at work, you can still focus on the good things and these stressful situations aren’t so bad after all.

Experiment:  Begin a Daily Gratitude Practice

1.  Morning Gratitude List-Making – Consider beginning each day by writing a simple and quick list of 3 things you are grateful for as the day begins. 

2.  Bolster Your Journaling Practice –  Add writing a Gratitude List into your daily journaling practice.  Get a journal that has pre-written prompts and let that guide your writing.

3.  Evening Gratitude –  Consider evening as a time for reflection and journaling. Write your gratitude list at the end of the day, noting 3 things in the day for which you are grateful.

4.  Read or Take a Class – Explore the research of Martin Seligman and the field of Positive Psychology.   There are a number of helpful and accessible ways to explore the world of positive psychology.  You can find an excellent course on Positive Psychology at the website: Coursera You can read more about Martin Seligman, the “father of positive psychology” here:  Who is Martin Seligman?

Next Steps: Integrate these coping strategies into your daily life

  • Start a gratitude journal.
  • Create a logbook to track your exercise and movement success.
  • Begin a sketchbook for your artistic visions.

~ In this blog, I write about various practices that I have found helpful to my personal and professional development which readers might integrate into their personal and professional lives. My hope is that this blog will support all readers, especially clinical social workers, clinical supervisors and their supervisees, and therapy or coaching clients.