What’s a gratitude journal?
What’s a gratitude journal? It’s the practice of listing each day things you are grateful for in your life. Research has shown that keeping a gratitude journal increases happiness and wellbeing, and the ability to deal with stress.
Social psychologist James W. Pennebaker, Ph. D. at the University of Texas at Austin has spent his career studying and writing about the benefits of journaling. His research reveals that expressing your feelings about hard experiences speeds your recovery and improves both mental and physical health.
The physical act of writing something down releases its burden in you. It’s better to hand write than to type because it physically releases unconscious things you may be holding onto.
The study took place in Auckland, New Zealand, where researchers studied 60 adolescents with an average age of 12.2 years. The study participants had an average A1C of 8.4 percent.
In the study, adolescents with type 1 who kept a gratitude journal listed 3 positive things in their life each day for 8 weeks. The control group simply received normal diabetes care, and did not keep a journal.
After the study, those who kept a journal had an average A1C level of 8.3 percent, while the standard care group’s average A1C was 8.9 percent.
Although gratitude journaling had positive results with A1C levels, it did not change psychological factors such as stress, quality of life, self-care, depression, and conscious gratitude according to post-study surveys. Researchers are unsure of why this is.
The research opens the door to further research on psychological interventions that can be made to treat type 1. The study was published in Diabetic Medicine.