“Over this past year, lifestyle blogger Aileen Xu has kept a monthly gratitude list.
Sometimes it was the big stuff: “I’m grateful that my family is so understanding. I’m grateful so many people care.”
And sometimes it was life’s little blessings: “July 2018: I’m grateful for good hair after I shower.”
Xu started making such lists when she was in college, “at a point when I was just not in a very good place in my life.” Now, the 28-year-old lifestyle blogger and YouTuber recommends the practice to her nearly 750,000 subscribers.
It wasn’t a hard sell.
“I think just over the last few years there’s been more of a trend to focus on gratitude,” says psychologist Laurie Santos, who teaches a course on the science of well-being and happiness at Yale.
“Those types of products can remind us to take time to be grateful,” Santos says. “But it’s also important to remember that gratitude is free.”
And noting your gratitude seems to pay off: There’s a growing body of research on the benefits of gratitude. Studies have found that giving thanks and counting blessings can help people sleep better, lower stress and improve interpersonal relationships. Earlier this year, a study found that keeping a gratitude journal decreased materialism and bolstered generosity among adolescents.”