Three benefits of keeping a gratitude journal

Gratitude – it is a simple concept that most of us have grown up with: to give thanks for the many blessings we have in our lives. Be it through prayer or by saying a heartfelt “thank you”, gratitude is something we have been practicing since childhood.

There are also numerous scientific studies outlining the positive effects of regular gratitude journaling, ranging from improved self-esteem and athletic performance, to better relationships and reduced suicide risk, among others. There are websites devoted to gratitude journaling, ecourses to teach you gratitude, special gratitude planners, and a variety of blog hops devoted to monthly and weekly gratitude lists.Instead of adding to all of this gyaan that is so widely available, I thought I’d share some ways in which a regular gratitude practice has helped me, personally.

Three benefits of gratitude journaling

1. It helped me to re-discover my zest for life. Around 2012, I was going through a very bad phase. I felt numb, zoned out, and disconnected. At the time, a very dear friend of mine made me go through a gratitude exercise that I have continued (on and off) to this day – keeping a gratitude journal using this simple format:

I am grateful for ______ because ______.

Try it. It’s effects are almost instantaneous. {read the linked post for more}

2. It helped me to finally learn art. For real! I had tried my hand at art back in 2009 or so, but I quickly gave up because I didn’t think I was good at it. But the fact is that I’ve always been drawn to art, and around three years ago, I tried my hand at it again. This time, instead of focusing on all my shortcomings, I made it a point to give thanks for all the things that went right, no matter how small. By focusing on my wins, I felt motivated enough to keep showing up and trying new things. The rest, as they say, is history!

3. It helps me be more balanced. That’s a slightly unusual one, isn’t it? The thing is, I tend towards introversion. If I’m not careful, I could easily spend all of my weekends pottering around the house – painting, writing, reading, playing with the cats. Keeping a daily gratitude journal helps me see what I am missing – when too many weeks pass without social interactions making it onto my list, I know I need to make plans with my girlfriends, pronto! It works for most other life areas, too.

Do you keep a gratitude journal? What are the benefits you have noticed in your life? Do tell me in the comments!

Posted in Soulful living and tagged , , .

30 Comments

  1. This is great advice! I have never kept a gratitude journal but I’ve started months ago keeping one about my small achievements as a parent. When I was in the midst of mum guilt, it really helped me seeing things under a more realistic perspective. It’s a simple yet great exercise when you feel blue or see everything under a dark shadow. #MondayStumble

  2. I agree, there’s a lot to be said for keeping some form of journal and noting what you’re thankful for. Life can be so busy it’s easy for weeks to go by without doing being truly present in any one moment. We’re always too busy doing “stuff” to appreciate things. I’ve recently reverted to a weekly planner so I can see all the things I have to look forward to, and write up my “weekly wins” each Sunday so I can reflect on all the good things that have happened, no matter how small. #MG

  3. I’ve never kept one, but I wonder often whether or not I should incorporate the idea into my bullet journal! Great idea to be in the moment #MondayStumble

  4. I dont really have a sort of gratitude journal. But yes, do maintain a diary where I pen down whatever comes to my mind, my days and life. i write the positives, the not so good things as well as what I am thankful for.

  5. I went through a tough time last year. Keeping a journal and writing everyday as “Getting better – Day 1, 2 and so on” helped me heal. Seeing it in print helped me realize that life is not all that bad and there is so much that I should be thankful for.

    Honestly, it changed my life and I am not exaggerating.

  6. Gratitude journals are so uplifting…they never fail to make me smile. I can so relate to your point 3. I get so lost in my art projects and writing that I forget and ignore everything else. As they say, too much of anything is bad .

    • Too much of art and writing can never be bad. πŸ˜‰ But yeah, I know exactly what you mean. Been there, done that, keep doing that! I have to remind myself there’s more to life too!

  7. As usual your posts are a reminder to me to get off my butt and just do it ! I think journaling will also help me in achieving my goals and being grateful for what I have will definitely be the right impetus to go out and do more ! Thanks for sharing these thoughts

    • haha! I’m glad they provide you with the motivation you need! Journaling can be very helpful and very transformative. And you don’t need to do it each and every day to reap the benefits of it, either πŸ˜‰

  8. I have started a gratitude journal a few times, and then unable to follow it through. So now every morning and evening when I chant I remember to give gratitude for all the little things that make my life worthwhile each day. I believe gratitude journals can play a huge role in helping us accrue loads of good fortune.

    • It can be difficult to follow through. There are times when I don’t write everyday: sometimes I write on alternate days, at other times it’s a weekly gratitude list, but I do take the time to focus on all the positives in my life. Focusing on all your blessings while chanting is an equally powerful way to practice gratitude!

  9. My 2018 journal is a small one. I do bullet journaling and most of it is gratitude.

    Following your posts on the art deck in instagram too. They are awesome. Your art has soul. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    • Bullet journaling is a great way to keep a regular gratitude list and also track other things that are important to you! Thank you so much for your kind words, Pratikshya; it means the world to me. xx

  10. It’s so easy to be drawn in to a never ending black hole when we hear the news and witness so many other negative things going on around us that gratitude journals do the opposite and act like a ray of sunshine looking at the fact that things aren’t that bad after all. #mg

    • YES! I so agree with you. The news is depressing enough to make me believe it’s all doom and gloom. It’s only when I sit down with my gratitude journal that I can clearly see that things are not as bad as they seem.

  11. I’ve kept a gratitude journal for around 18 months now (what’s more, I started in December instead of turning it into a new years resolution – why wait?!). It really makes a difference and magnifies the happy moments of my day when i sit down and look back on my day. I’ve got through around 4 notebooks now. #mg

  12. I started keeping a gratitude log last month after hearing about some of the benefits. It’s early days, but I like the moment when I realise that something has happened that needs to be recorded there.

  13. THIS i need to start and stay on! this is 1 message which has been showing up everyday for the last 3 days… the universe is really giving me a push!

  14. I think one of the most important things I have learned through fellow bloggers, is to stop and be grateful. Mindful of what is good in whatever way I can at the moment. It is SO very helpful. Thank you for this post! #mondaystumble xo

Leave a Reply