By Lauren Pastrana

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – If you’re like me, November is your favorite month!

I associate it with food, family, and gratitude.

At the end of this month, we will hopefully all have plenty to give thanks for, but you don’t have to save all that thankfulness for just one day of the year.

Today’s “Lauren’s List” explains some of the benefits of keeping a gratitude journal all year round.

It’s Healthy
A study from the University of California San Diego’s School of Medicine found that people who were more grateful actually had better heart health. It can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and improve immune function so even when you do get sick, your body can fight off an illness more efficiently.

Increased Generosity
A study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology found fostering gratitude reduced materialism in younger consumers. Another study showed that adolescents who kept a gratitude journal donated 60% more of their earnings compared to those who didn’t. Feeling grateful in your own life seems to make you want to help others have something to be grateful for, too.

Improves Your Sleep
I write in my gratitude journal in the morning, but evidence shows spending 15 minutes before bed jotting down a few things you’re thankful for can help you sleep easier. Researchers at the University of Manchester in England looked at over 400 adults of all ages – 40% with sleep disorders – who completed questionnaires that asked about gratitude, sleep, and pre-sleep thoughts. Gratitude was related to having more positive thoughts, and fewer negative ones, at bedtime. In turn, those grateful people dozed off faster and slept longer and better.

Raises Self-Esteem
When you think you have a lot to be grateful for, a funny thing happens, you keep finding more things to be grateful for! Writing these things down allows you to be present with your own achievements rather than comparing yourself to others. A study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found gratitude increased an athlete’s self-esteem and they were able to trust their coaches on a higher level because they had more self-belief.

Do you keep a gratitude journal?

Tell me on Facebook or Twitter.

If you have an idea for a future “Lauren’s List”, send it to

Lauren Pastrana