A client recently asked me about emotional health.  As she put it, “You hear all about how to stay physically healthy — eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, etc.  You don’t hear so much about how to be emotionally healthy.”  Psychologists, particularly those studying positive psychology, are investigating that very thing.

Researchers are finding that expressing gratitude increases emotional well-being.  Martin Seligman, in Authentic Happiness, describes a simple exercise you can do to express your gratitude which in turn can increase life satisfaction.

Each evening take a few minutes to write down five things from the day that you are thankful for.  What a simple thing!

I started practicing this a number of years ago.  On a “bad day” it can be challenging to come up with five things.  However, over the years I’ve increased it to 10 things, and I try to make it 10 new things each time.  I find that it directs my mind into different channels and helps me look at things in new ways.

Try it for yourself.  Keep a gratitude journal, maybe just a spiral bound notebook, for two weeks to a month.  See how it changes your thinking.