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A beginner’s guide to gratitude

I’d like to take a moment to elaborate on my experience with journaling for about 15-30 minutes each morning. However, this is not just any kind of journaling—rather, I have been logging my feelings of gratitude. Here, you can find a basic guide to how you can incorporate gratitude into your life and experience the benefits, whether you are on the premed track or an attending physician.

Is there a difference between writing your thoughts down and verbalizing it?

In the beginning, I conducted an experiment of sorts—I alternated between days where I verbalized my gratitude out loud versus transcribing it into my journal. Over time, I realized that something peculiar happened: on the days where I decided to physically document things down, I actually felt better. So whenever I list out the aspects of my life that I am grateful for, I am always sure to pen them down in dark black or blue ink.

Thinking about the ‘why’

It is one thing to say that you are grateful for the supportive friends and family in your life. But why exactly are you grateful? Do they provide compassion and care for you during difficult times? Do you enjoy spending time with them? It does not necessarily have to be very thought-provoking, but taking the extra time to consider the rationale for your gratitude not only enables the right frame of mind at the beginning of the day, but perhaps even gives you the opportunity to learn something about yourself.

My Recommendations

I highly recommend purchasing the Motivate MD journal for logging not only gratitude, but your daily, monthly, and yearly goals. I still use this journal’s format in my daily journaling and I felt that this was a great place to start as a newcomer to gratitude. They also have a desktop and mobile app, which may be a versatile interface for any of you who are tech-savvy.

So feel free to give gratitude journaling a spin for yourself—let us know your experience in the comments below!

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