Improve Your Relationship In As Little As 2 Days. Gratitude Journaling Is The Key
Aug 06, 2022
(Photo by Panos Sakalakis)
We find what we look for
Have you ever noticed or learned about something for the first time, then it seems like you see it everywhere? Like if you learned about a certain car model you've never seen, then you see 15 in traffic. Or if you hear about a crazy good dish, then you notice it's actually on the menu at your favorite restaurant.
This is part of the frequency illusion, also called the Baader–Meinhof phenomenon. It's a cognitive bias that happens when increased awareness creates the illusion that it's appearing more often. You didn't notice it before because you didn't know, or didn't know much, about it.
You can also utilize this phenomenon for gratitude. By consciously looking for opportunities to be thankful, you will find them more often. This can have amazing effects on all of your relationships, and even in encounters with strangers. You will notice more opportunities to appreciate people. And by appreciating people more often, they are more likely to return the gratitude.
Who benefits from gratitude journaling?
We can fall into the trap of taking our partner(s) for granted. We can, over time, stop noticing or acknowledging the kind and thoughtful things that they do. The microscope tends to only focus on things that irritate us. This can cause unnecessary stress and tension on the relationship. Daily gratitude journaling can improve romantic relationships in as little as 2 days.
When you choose to write daily about why you're grateful, it flips that focus to positive things. It can remind you of why you care about them and how important they are in your life. Ask yourself questions like, "What do I appreciate about my partner?" The answers will start effortlessly coming to you after a while.
Make a point to tell them what you appreciate about them. Journaling can help not only your perception of the relationship, but the relationship itself. If you make it a point to appreciate them, they will likely notice and start to show you more appreciation as well.
Friends and loved ones
The same goes for friends and family. Be intentional with your thoughts. Spend time thinking about how and why people are important in your life. This will help you to value them even more and remind you why you care about them in the first place. Write down how you appreciate them and your favorite things about them. Even better to tell them, if you want to.
Make a list of the things you like about them. And if they ever start to frustrate you a bit (which they will, we're not perfect) you can look at the list. It might help to calm you down a bit. You may want to consider talking to them about it, depending on how it's affecting you. When people care about each other, they should be able to have positive "conflicts" to fix problems. This is when you can talk about a problem without it being an argument.
Most importantly, you
This basically boils down to self care. Look for things you're grateful for about yourself. This can improve your confidence, self-esteem, and overall well-being.
It can also help with combating negative self-talk. Your brain can't really argue with gratitude, especially if you word it carefully. For example: "I'm grateful for being able to get outside today and see the beautiful sky." Rather than, "I'm glad I was able to drag myself out of the house today." The first can't really be argued with, the second opens it up for your brain to make negative comments.
Write about what you like about yourself. About decisions you made that you were proud of. Or times in your life where you felt a real sense of pride.
Find gratitude everywhere
Write about things that you were happy to see, hear, touch, or experience in some way. Find "silver linings" in a rough day. Acknowledge help you get from others and appreciate the effort. Gratitude is really just noticing. Noticing what others do for you, and what you can do for others. By doing that you show the people in your life, and yourself, that you care.
Write about how much these people matter to you. Why you care about them so much and what attracted you to them in the first place. Look at the list often and add to it when you think of something new.
But more important than writing about it, tell them. This helps open lines of communication that may have always been closed, or may have closed over time. It can make both parties more comfortable sharing. People reported closer, more honest friendships after a period of regularly expressing gratitude.
Like we said before, when you start to show more appreciation, others will notice and start doing it too. It’s contagious in the best way.