How to Begin a Gratitude Journal

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If you aren’t currently keeping a gratitude journal, now is the time to start. Practicing gratitude offers numerous psychological, social, and physical health benefits, including stronger immune systems, higher quality sleep, more optimism and happiness, more compassion and outgoingness, and less loneliness.

Keeping a gratitude journal forces us to focus on the people, places, and things that we sometimes take for granted yet are really important to us. These gratitudes can range from extremely basic and general, such as being grateful for having a place to live and food to eat, to very specific, such as being grateful for the act of service that your significant other did for you that morning.

Why journal rather than simply thinking about what you’re grateful for? Writing has many benefits. It helps you to organize your thoughts and really take the time to become aware of them. Writing also enables a higher level of thinking and therefore allows you to delve deeper and become more focused on each thought.

Tips for gratitude journaling:
  • Determine how many times per week you’d like to journal and set 5-10 minutes into your schedule to do so (ideally first thing in the morning or right before bed at night)
  • Clear your mind and write without other distractions
  • Get personal, think about what special things have happened to you recently
  • What would life be more difficult or sad without? Don’t forget to be grateful for that
In addition to gratitude journaling, there are many other ways to bring gratitude into your daily life, such as using language and actions to share gratitude with others during interactions.