Gratitude Journals and the Power of Sharing

thank you card

One of the most powerful ways to amplify the positive effects of keeping a gratitude journal (Wikipedia) is to share your appreciation for others.  This can be done by simply reaching out to the loved ones around you and thanking them for being they wonderful person they are.  Kind gestures such as thank-you letters, phone calls, and dinners have a profound effect on both the giver and receiver.

Dr. Martin Seligman is a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.  In a placebo controlled empirical study, Dr. Seligman confirmed the effect of sharing gratitude.  In his experiment, participants were given a week to compose and deliver a letter of gratitude to a person who had been kind to them, but had not been thanked.  The gratitude visit was composed of four steps:

  1. Think of someone who has done something wonderful for you, but who had not been property thanked
  2. Reflect on the benefits you received from this person and record it in a gratitude journal
  3. Write a letter of gratitude, expressing thanks for all he or she has done for you
  4. Arrange a time to deliver the letter and spend some time with this person

The results were profound.  Participants reported increased happiness for a month after the gratitude visit.

Gratitude Journey Update:

gratitude journey logoAcknowledging the many requests from the Gratitude Journey fan base, Prana to the People has committed to upgrading our app to support sharing functions.  This will include Facebook posts and emailing.  This new feature will offer users an opportunity to share their gratitude with others and increase the happiness of their communities.  This update is planned for release mid-2013.

Read more…

Getting the Most out of a Gratitude Journal

gratitude diaryCheck out this article written by Prana to the People founder Matt Elmore.  This article goes over some best practices for keeping a gratitude journal.  This same techniques and recommendations can be used for the journal app Gratitude Journey.

  • How often to make entries
  • How many entries to make
  • What to focus on
  • How long to do it for
  • Who should you share with

The article can be found here on EzineArticles: Click here

The Science Behind Gratitude Journals

test tubeThis article discusses the various research projects conducted around the practice of keeping a gratitude journal.

  • Numerous empirical experiments have shown that gratitude journal keeping yields benefits to mood, health, and the fulfillment of personal goals.
  • One research study compares the practice against other modalities of therapy and the result showed the highest marks of effectiveness in favor of keeping a gratitude journal.
  • These studies have also shown that the practice shows benefits for a widespread demographic: from younger to older ages, healthy to those coping with disease, depressives, students, unmarried and married.

Check out the article here.

Gratitude Journal Tips: Settings

Gratitude journals have been used for centuries as a method for increasing happiness by staying focused on the good in one’s life.  Cicero once said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”   By simply journaling about the pleasant aspects of your life, you’ll find your general mood is elevated.  With a gratitude journal, each day you are creating a chronology of the events, people, places, and things that contribute to your life in a positive way.

One of the main reasons the Gratitude Journey iPhone app was created, was to address the drawbacks of keeping a pen-and-paper journal.  By taking advantage of modern smartphone technology, Gratitude Journey becomes more than a simple journal.  It keeps a reminder system, so you don’t forget to make entries.  It revisits past entries for you, so you can re-appreciate the  positive things that you might have forgotten about.  It also leverages iCloud to back-up your entries while allowing you to synch between different devices you own (e.g.: iPhone and iPad).

In order for you to make the most out of your experience with the Gratitude Journey app, here are some best practices to configure your settings.

Configuring the Settings

Settings Screenshot

  1. Daily Reminder – This is the app’s alarm clock.  Set a time of the day for which you would like the app to remind you to be grateful and make an entry.  Prana to the People’s recommendation is to set the daily reminder to sometime in the morning.  Start your day in a grateful and blissful mood, carrying your happiness with you from your waking hours until you go to bed.  So before work, school, etc, have the app remind you to journal about something you’re grateful for.
  2. Gratitude Gift – This is the apps most powerful feature.  One of the major drawbacks of traditional journals is the lack of encouragement to read past entries.  With a Gratitude Gift, the app randomly selects a past entry and sends it to your phone’s home screen.  It’s an amazing pick-me-up.  Think about the pleasant suprise of being reminded of the yummy food your grandmother made for you as a child.   Set the Gratitude Gift to arrive sometime in the afternoon.  It’s most effective in the home-stretch before you come home for the day.
  3. Lapse Reminder –  Gratitude Journey reminds you if you’ve gone too many days without making an entry.  This is another feature that traditional paper journals simply can not help with.  Have the app remind you if you haven’t been grateful in 2 days.  If you find yourself losing your the gratefulness you’ve been cultivating, reduce the reminder to 1 day.
  4. iCloud Backup – The app will save your entry database using Apple’s iCloud backup service.  This has two major benefits:
    1. It backs-up your database in case your device is lost or breaks
    2. Allows you to synch your database between two different devices.  Just be sure to turn on iCloud Backup in both devices and sign into the same iCloud account name on both devices.

After you make changes to the settings, be sure to tap “Save/Update” to store your changes.  Please send us any feedback you might have on how we can improve the app and don’t forget to Rate the App if you like what you see. If you have’t already purchased the Gratitude Journey gratitude journal app for yourself or a loved one, here’s where to purchase it on the Apple app store:

Visit the app store