What Is Gratitude Journaling, and How Does It Help With Injury Recovery?
*Sara was facing a long road ahead. 3 months after tripping over a pallet in a big box store, she was meeting with our team for the first time in pursuit of an appropriate life care plan (based on advice from her lawyer). She still suffered from trauma and a multitude of neurological and physical symptoms from the incident. One of our first suggestions was to begin gratitude journaling. “What is gratitude journaling?” she asked, confused. “And what could I possibly have to be grateful about?”
It’s a fair question: one that quite a few of our critically injured and chronically ill clients ask when the concept is first introduced. Around here, we are so certain of the benefits of creating a gratitude journal, we actually hand one over to new patients. You can contact us for your own BMG Gratitude Journal, too! We hand them out during the very first stages of an injury and encourage our patients to get to work.
What is Gratitude Journaling?
A gratitude journal is more than just an unwinding list of the things we are thankful for. Done in the right way, it becomes a predictor of the future. This isn’t an anecdotal assurance; the benefits of gratitude journaling are backed up by science!
Some of the benefits of expressing gratitude in any form:
- Better sleep
- Lowered stress, depression, rates of heart disease
- Improved relationships
- Healthier eating
- Decreased materialism
- Higher rates of generosity expressed toward others
The evidence is clear: begin to journal a gratitude practice and watch the universe bring you the things you seek. It’s the same data that backs up movements like The Secret and The Law of Attraction.
It is up to you to determine how gratitude can be worked into your life. Perhaps it will feel good to write three things you are grateful for every morning when you awaken. Or, a once-weekly journaling session will feel right to you. One thing we know for sure—gratitude cannot be faked, and too much of it doesn’t do us any good. Experiment with journaling and find a sweet spot for expressing your innermost feelings. Most studies indicate the benefits of a successful gratitude practice can be recognized cognitively in less than a month. Read on for more details below:
How Can a Gratitude Journal Help Me?
The potential impact of a gratitude journal for our team lies in these three words: documentation, rehabilitation, and restoration.
Documentation: Clients are asked to keep a regular gratitude journal not only for themselves but also for legal proceedings. Text or events that typically never make it into evidence can become evidence when detailed by the injured. These documents can become helpful for medical records, or can officially be submitted in court, bolstering a case. This is why it’s so important for us to understand your struggles and your obstacles through the gratitude journaling lens.
Gratitude cannot erase past pain and injury. But in rehab, part of the work done by your therapists and other specialists will be to engage the prefrontal cortex in your brain. This activation assists in your healing. Amazingly, gratitude journaling does the same thing, making it a valuable part of the rehab process.
Gratitude journaling will aid in your recovery, and get you some of your life back. I’ve seen things happen physically and mentally that patients didn’t think was possible. Your mental rehab can also assist in compensating for areas that won’t return.
As you can imagine, gratitude journaling has played a significant role in the lives and futures of our patients here at BiFulco Medical Group. We ask: in spite of a catastrophic injury, what are you still grateful for? We’re glad to report: the list of potential answers is long.
To learn more about life care planning advocacy, click here.