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5 Ways A Gratitude Journal Can Improve Your Life

5 Ways A Gratitude Journal Can Improve Your Life

A gratitude journal is a reflection of the things you are thankful for. It is the simple act of recording things into a notebook about things that strike you during the day as having gone well. Although usually done with pen and paper, the multitude of online journalling tools widely available means that you can choose to blog online instead of writing it down, or even post images and caption them instead. When keeping a gratitude journal on a regular basis, there are a host of benefits that arises which can increase mental wellbeing and improve aspects of your life.

It gives you a choice

Knowing you have a choice in life is powerful. Many studies have shown that choice influences your satisfaction in life as well as your coping ability. There will always be at least one thing you can put in your gratitude journal, such as the bus arriving on time or the elevator not breaking down on your way out. The very worst can happen to anyone, but knowing you have a choice to see the good in spite of that is crucial for helping you to maintain your ability to manage yourself well during these situations.

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It teaches you gratitude

Gratitude is feeling appreciative or thankful. We are taught to say thank you by others from an early age, but feeling grateful comes only from within. The act of noting down things you are thankful for helps you to recall the feeling of gratitude, whether the feeling was brief or not. This comes in handy particularly when facing difficult times, when gratitude can often take a back seat to many other feelings that arise easily such as anger, depression or annoyance. Gratitude itself is also associated with other effects such as increased empathy, sensitivity and happiness, which in turn strengthens your ability to learn positive emotions.

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It prepares you to handle problems more calmly

Being grateful doesn’t mean you will ignore your problems, but helps you to shift into a positive and calmer perspective to deal with them productively. Our internal talk is a key factor in determining how easily we slip into depressed, angry or unhappy moods. If you notice a lot of thoughts such as “I won’t be able to do it, why even try” or “why is he acting like so selfishly” in reaction to various events, this can be indicative of negative self talk that has been implicitly reinforced over the years. A gratitude journal helps to reframe your internal self talk gradually to take on a more positive tone by focusing on things that went well, and therefore help you to see problems more objectively and handle them in better ways.

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It keeps you in the present

The very act of journalling grateful thoughts increases your mindfulness by keeping you in the present. Too often, overthinking and dwelling on negative events of the day will keep you distracted and unable to focus on the present task at hand. Keeping a gratitude journal helps you to learn practiced focus as you concentrate on recalling and noting down positive aspects of your day, as well as physically distract you from acting on the impulse arising from any negative feelings.

You become more resilient

The more things you are grateful for, and the more you practice recording down this gratitude, the more easily positive thinking will come to you over time. Your thoughts influence your actions, and so by paying more attention to your gratitude journal, your focus on this process will enable positive thinking to stick and take on a more automatic role in your thoughts. By repeating this process you will increase your resilience, which is the ability to be strong and bounce back after setbacks.

Featured photo credit: Photo Credit: J Yung via photos.google.com

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Last Updated on October 17, 2019

How to Spend More Quality Time with Your Partner

How to Spend More Quality Time with Your Partner

You see your partner every single day. They are the first person you talk to in the morning and the last person you kiss goodnight.

But does seeing each other day in and day out equal a healthy relationship? Not necessarily.

Spending quality time with your partner is the best way to ensure your relationship stays healthy and strong. This means going above and beyond sitting together while you watch Netflix or going out for the occasional dinner. You deserve more from your relationship – and so does your spouse!

What does quality time mean? It means spending time with your spouse without interruption. It’s a chance for you to come together and talk. Communication will build emotional intimacy and trust.

Quality time is also about expressing love in a physical way. Not sex, necessarily (but that’s great, too!) but through hand-holding, cuddling, caressing, and tickling. Studies show that these displays of affection will boost partner satisfaction.[1]

So how do you spend quality time with your partner? Here are 13 relationship tips on making the most out of your time with your partner.

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1. Recognize the Signs

If you want a healthy relationship, you have to learn how to recognize the signs that you need to spend more quality time together.

Some telltale signs include:

  • You’re always on your phones.
  • You value friendships or hobbies over quality time with your spouse.
  • You aren’t together during important events.
  • You are arguing more often or lack connection.
  • You don’t make plans or date nights.
  • You’re not happy.

If you are experiencing any of these relationship symptoms, know that quality time together can reverse the negative effects of the signs above.

2. Try New Things Together

Have you ever wanted to learn how to play an instrument or speak another language? How about skydive or ballroom dance?

Instead of viewing these as solo hobbies and interests, why not involve your partner?

Trying new activities together builds healthy relationships because it encourages spouses to rely on one another for emotional and physical support.

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Shared hobbies also promote marital friendship, and the Journal of Happiness Studies found that marital satisfaction was twice as high for couples who viewed each other as best friends.[2]

3. Schedule in Tech-Free Time

Your phone is a great way to listen to music, watch videos, and keep up-to-date with friends and family. But is your phone good for your relationship?

Many couples phone snub, or ‘phub’, one another. Studies show that phubbing can lower relationship satisfaction and increase one’s chances of depression.[3]

Reduce those chances by removing distractions when spending quality time together and showing your partner they have your full attention.

4. Hit the Gym as a Couple

One way you can spend more time together as a couple is by becoming workout partners. Studies show that couples are more likely to stay with their exercise routine if they work out together.[4] Couples also work out harder than they would solo. One study found that 95 percent of couples who work out together maintained weight loss compares to the 66 percent of singles who did.[5]

Join a gym, do at-home couples’ workouts, try couples yoga, hit the hiking trails, or get your bikes out. No matter which way you choose to exercise, these healthy activities can promote a healthy relationship.

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5. Cook Meals Together

Pop open a bottle of wine or put some romantic music on while you get busy – in the kitchen, of course!

One of the best relationship tips for spending quality time together when you both have busy schedules is to cook meals together.[6]

Spice things up and try and prepare a four-course meal or a fancy French dish together. Not only is this a fun way to spend your time together, but it also promotes teamwork.

If all goes well, you’ll have a romantic date night meal at home that you prepared with your four hands. And if the food didn’t turn out the way you’d hoped, you are guaranteed to have a laugh and create new memories together.

6. Have a Regular Date Night

Couples experience a greater sense of happiness and less stress when they are spending quality time together.[7] One of the biggest relationship tips for a healthy partnership is to include a date night in your weekly routine.

The National Marriage Project found that having a weekly date night can make your relationship seem more exciting and helps prevent relationship boredom.[8] It also lowers the probability of divorce, improves your sex life, and increases healthy communication.

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Some great ideas for what to do on your date night include:

  • Have a movie marathon – Gather up your favorite flicks and cuddle up on the couch.
  • Play games together – Cards, board games, video games, and other creative outlets are a fun way to spend quality time together.
  • Recreate your first date – Go back to that restaurant and order the same meal you did when you first got together. You can spice up your evening by pretending you’re strangers meeting for the first time and see how sexy the night gets.
  • Plan a weekend getaway – There’s nothing better than traveling with the one you love.
  • Dinner and a movie – A classic!
  • Try a new restaurant – Make it your mission to rate and try all of the Mexican restaurants/Irish pubs/Italian trattorias in your area.
  • Have a long sex session – Intimacy promotes the release of the oxytocin hormone which is responsible for a myriad of great feelings.[9]

Here’re even more date night ideas for your reference: 50 Unique and Really Fun Date Ideas for Couples

Final Thoughts

The benefits of spending quality time together are endless. Here are just some of the ways it can contribute to a healthy relationship:

  • Improves emotional and physical intimacy
  • Lowers divorce rates
  • Improves communication
  • Reduces marital boredom
  • Bonds couples closer
  • Improves friendship
  • Boosts health
  • Reduces stress

These are all excellent reasons to start making date night a regular part of your week.

It’s easy to have a healthy relationship when you set aside dedicated time to share with your spouse. Try new things together, make your spouse your workout buddy, and look for innovative ways to be close and connected.

These relationship tips will bring great benefits to your marriage.

Featured photo credit: Allen Taylor via unsplash.com

Reference

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