Whipple: Gratitude Journaling To Stop Anxiety; Find Joy

By Dr. Laura Whipple DC
Los Alamos

Thanksgiving is a time of year when we get reminded to have gratitude for the good things in our lives.

This is a practice that can be applied all year round by keeping a journal.

Neuroscience research shows that the emotion of gratitude creates an increase in our happy brain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin.

We also know from brain research that we are unable to feel positive emotions and negative emotions at the same time.

Gratitude journaling first thing in the morning allows us to practice shifting our thoughts to the positive. Over time we become more aware of our negative thoughts and are able to consciously shift our attention towards the good.

Furthermore, we begin to develop an improved ability to stop having anxiety over things we can’t control as we get better at redirecting our thoughts.

Eventually the need for journaling becomes less important as you cultivate awareness and become better at shifting your thoughts throughout the day.

Beginning a daily gratitude journal doesn’t have to be time consuming or fancy. You can use a dedicated book or a pad of paper and keep it brief. Five minutes a day is all that is required to activate your brain in a positive way. Writing down thoughts vs thinking them is an important step because writing activates the right hemisphere and emotional areas of the brain.

Keep your thoughts dated and in one place so you can go back and review your progress. An especially powerful tool is to write down good things that came out of negative experiences but keeping it simple is also good if you don’t have much time.

In the words of Albert Einstein “There are only two ways to live your life, one is as though nothing is a miracle and the other is as though everything is a miracle”.

Dr. Laura Whipple has a BSc in Neuroscience and is a Doctor of Chiropractic. She has been in practice for 20 years and recently joined Dr. Lenz and Dr. Savoia at the Los Alamos Chiropractic Center. Dr. Whipple’s practice focuses on posture and performance using a combination of soft tissue release, adjustments and exercise recommendations. She also coaches patients on self-care and body awareness so they can manage themselves in between visits. Los Alamos Chiropractic Center is in the Mary Deal building on Trinity Drive.