The Power of Gratitude

A Dual Approach to Well-Being

Through Verbalization and Journaling


Gratitude has been universally celebrated across various cultures and philosophies as an essential element for overall well-being. With the advent of Positive Psychology and a resurgence of focus on mental health in recent years, the importance of gratitude has been further underscored through empirical research and scientific validation. This article aims to shed light on two daily practices that harness the power of gratitude: expressing gratitude verbally and maintaining a gratitude journal. As a foundational tenet in health and wellness coaching, incorporating these practices can dramatically enhance life satisfaction, psychological well-being, and even physical health.

Why is Gratitude Important?

Before we delve into the two techniques, it’s essential to understand why gratitude plays a pivotal role in our lives. According to psychologists like Robert A. Emmons and Michael E. McCullough, gratitude is not just an emotional state but also a complex psychological trait that involves recognizing and appreciating the positive aspects of life, even in difficult times (2003). By acknowledging what we have rather than lamenting what we don’t, gratitude serves as a counterbalance to negative emotions like envy, resentment, and regret. It has been linked to a multitude of beneficial outcomes, such as lower levels of stress and depression, increased happiness, and even improved physical health (Wood, Froh, & Geraghty, 2010).

Expressing Gratitude Verbally: Speak Your Thanks

The Benefits

  1. Social Cohesion: Verbalizing gratitude can significantly enhance social bonds. In a society increasingly isolated by technology and individual pursuits, taking the time to express thanks can create a ripple effect of positive social interactions. It fosters trust, builds stronger relationships, and creates an environment where people are more willing to help each other (Algoe, 2012).
  2. Emotional Release: Saying out loud what you are thankful for can be incredibly liberating. It acts as an emotional release mechanism, similar to discussing your concerns or achievements with a friend or family member. This expression helps in the cathartic release of pent-up emotions and provides a sense of peace and contentment (Watkins, Woodward, Stone, & Kolts, 2003).
  3. Reinforces Positive Behavior: When you express gratitude towards someone for a specific action, you’re indirectly encouraging the repetition of the positive behavior. This behavioral reinforcement is beneficial not only in personal relationships but also in community building and even workplace dynamics (Grant & Gino, 2010).

How to Practice Verbal Gratitude

A daily practice can be as simple as listing three things you are grateful for and sharing them with someone close to you. This can be done at the dinner table with family, during a daily call with a friend, or even in a team meeting at work. The key is to make it a routine, so the benefits become an integral part of your life.

Gratitude Journals: Write Down Your Blessings

The Benefits

  1. Enhanced Mental Health: Regularly writing in a gratitude journal has been proven to have long-lasting effects on mental health. Studies have shown that individuals who kept gratitude lists were more optimistic, had a better outlook on life, and even exhibited fewer symptoms of physical illness compared to those who didn’t (Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005).
  2. Improved Sleep Quality: Writing down positive events and things for which you are grateful before going to bed has been shown to improve sleep quality. The practice allows for better relaxation and reduces the time it takes to fall asleep (Wood, Joseph, Lloyd, & Atkins, 2009).
  3. Increased Mindfulness: Journaling about gratitude forces you to focus on the present moment, thus cultivating mindfulness. Mindfulness, in turn, is linked with a wide array of positive psychological and physical health outcomes (Brown & Ryan, 2003).

How to Maintain a Gratitude Journal

Starting a gratitude journal is straightforward. All you need is a dedicated notebook or even a digital app. Just like verbalizing gratitude, aim to write down three things you are thankful for each day. They can range from significant life events to simple everyday comforts like a warm cup of tea or a sunny day.


Both verbalizing gratitude and maintaining a gratitude journal provide unique benefits, and utilizing both practices in tandem can offer a comprehensive approach to enhancing well-being. As life coaches and mental health professionals, incorporating these practices into our coaching programs can serve as effective tools for enhancing the overall quality of life of our clients.

While it may initially take some discipline to integrate these practices into daily routines, the long-term benefits far outweigh the effort required. The power of gratitude can be transformative, offering a simple yet impactful pathway to a richer, more fulfilling life.


Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: an experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377–389.

Wood, A. M., Froh, J. J., & Geraghty, A. W. A. (2010). Gratitude and well-being: A review and theoretical integration. Clinical Psychology Review, 30(7), 890–905.

Algoe, S. B. (2012). Find, remind, and bind: The functions of gratitude in everyday relationships. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 6(6), 455–469.

Watkins, P. C., Woodward, K., Stone, T., & Kolts, R. L. (2003). Gratitude and happiness: Development of a measure of gratitude, and relationships with subjective well-being. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 31(5), 431–451.

Grant, A. M., & Gino, F. (2010). A little thanks goes a long way: Explaining why gratitude expressions motivate prosocial behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98(6), 946–955.

Seligman, M. E. P., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist, 60(5), 410–421.

Wood, A. M., Joseph, S., Lloyd, J., & Atkins, S. (2009). Gratitude influences sleep through the mechanism of pre-sleep cognitions. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 66(1), 43–48.

Brown, K. W., & Ryan, R. M. (2003). The benefits of being present: Mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(4), 822–848.