6 Flipping Amazing Reasons to Start Gratitude Journaling

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6 Flipping Amazing Reasons to Start Gratitude Journaling Title Pin, In the background a woman sits cross legged and gets ready to write on the blank page in her gratitude journal

Hiya Sweet Friend:

Do you love simple habits with awesome benefits?

Looking for something quick and easy to add to your routine that will uplift your spirits?

You’ve got to give gratitude journaling a go!

It’s the little activity with big benefits.

And all you need are a pen, some paper and a few minutes a day.

Here’s why I think you’ll love it (and how it’ll love you back)

Why I’m Gratitude Journaling

A gratitude journal sits on a timber table

I recently pulled out my gratitude journal. It’s been sitting on my bookshelf for… oh goodness, who even knows how long! Was there a minor collection of dust on the cover? I’ll never tell! 😉

This was a long term, regular self-care activity for me for quite a while. But it fell to the backburner. And that’s totally ok! I’ve said it before, but I’m going to say it again – your self-care should fluctuate with your interests and needs. It’s ok to stop doing something if it’s not currently working for you. In my case, I think my journal simply fell to the wayside accidentally while I focused on other self-soothing things. (And boy oh boy, have we ever needed a ton of self-soothing since 2020, eh?)

It’s been a tough year and a half. Feeling grateful hasn’t always been easy. But, as I learned back in my early Graves Disease days, the times you struggle the most with gratitude are the best times to bust out your gratitude journal.

Practicing gratitude is about training your mindset.

A close up of a woman smiling while she writes in her gratitude journal

A huge benefit of gratitude journaling is learning to marvel at all of the wonderful things in life. Whether they’re huge, or small. And, in my experience, the tiniest things are often the biggest and most wonderful when you learn to look at them with tons of appreciation. Practice makes perfect; after gratitude journaling for a while you will likely find that after a while you’ll be able to carry the essence of gratitude with you throughout the day.

Learning how to practice gratitude doesn’t mean that you’ll be happy all the time. 

Good vibes only is impossible and, frankly, a toxically positive worldview. You’ll continue to experience an array of emotions throughout life. Feelings like sadness and frustration are normal and healthy to express.

A grateful mindset is not about denying your negative emotions. It’s about making it easier to find glimmers of goodness and feel grateful for them, even (and most especially) in those tough moments. The night sky is better for the stars, right? Your sad days are brighter when there’s little pieces of goodness to hold onto too.

A woman sits at her kitchen table and writes in a journal

I wish I’d thought of my gratitude journal again sooner.

I’m buzzing with gratitude for being fully vaccinated and able to go out again (as an immunocompromised person, I’ve spent A LOT of time at home… I never thought I’d be so happy to see the mall!) But, with my forgotten journal in hand, I’m pretty excited to dive back in and build up my grateful mindset back up.

How To Gratitude Journal

A journal sits closed on a white table. A pen waits on top of the cover.

Gratitude journaling can be hard at first. There are no real rules. Grab some paper or a journal and write out whatever you’re feeling grateful for. Big or small. And that’s pretty much it. But figuring out what to write isn’t always easy. And that’s ok.

Not sure what kind of things to reflect on and write about? Here’s some ideas:

Did you cuddle with your cat this morning and smile at the adorable moment? That’s gratitude journal worthy.

Did you enjoy a nice walk during your lunch break? Boom, pop it in the journal.

Have a friend you watch movies with weekly that you adore? You get me, put that in your journal.

You can also add loved inspirational quotes, happy doodles, old memories that light up your face. Whatever makes you feel thankful.

Celebrating big, obvious things is wonderful and they definitely belong in the journal too. But the teeniest, tiniest seeming things deserve to be among your gratitude pages. Whether you write 3 things or 27 things, you’re doing great!

If you prefer to have prompts, you can buy gratitude journals full of fun ideas. But your standard blank journal works perfectly too. It’s all about whatever’s best for you.

Amazing Reasons To Gratitude Journal

1. SLEEP BETTER

Flat lay composition with sleep eye mask, journal and alarm clock on dark blue background

Hands up if you’d like to fall asleep faster, sleep longer and feel better throughout the day? Sign me up, right? Well, it turns out that this is one serious benefit of practicing gratitude.

One study of 400 adults, 40% of which had sleep disorders, found that those who learned how to practice gratitude gained all the goodness I listed above.

Why? The benefits of keeping a gratitude journal include:

  • More Positive Thoughts
  • Fewer Negative Thoughts

I know this isn’t a math blog, but more good thoughts plus less bad thoughts equals a pretty awesome outcome, am I right? And a calmer mind is much better at catching those Zzz.

Related: 7 Simple Self Care Tricks on How to Sleep Better

2. BOOST YOUR MOOD

Pregnant woman carrying journal and grinning to camera

Working on finding the silver lining can help to reduce worry and pessimistic thoughts, even when things get tough. (source)

Does it get even better? Heck yes it does!

You may also experience a boost in feelings of happiness and satisfaction. Gratitude journaling just three good things that happened to you every day can have a huge improvement on feelings of depression and overall happiness. And you can see these bonuses in as little as two weeks. (source 1, source 2)

Related: 5 Delightful Reasons To Rewatch Your Favourite Comfort TV Shows

3. BE MORE PATIENT

A woman sits by her window while she writes in her gratitude journal

Learning to see the bright side doesn’t just boost your mood, it boosts your patience too. How cool is that?!

This study from Northeastern University found that people who learned how to practice gratitude and appreciate the little things became more patient and made more sensible decisions. (source)

4. IMPROVE YOUR RELATIONSHIP

Friends stand together smiling, holding their books

Spread gratitude like confetti. Without even trying!

It all has to do with taking time to feel thankful for the people you love. When you feel grateful for someone you start to feel more connected to them. And that can make your relationships feel more satisfying. (source)

Even cooler, telling a loved one that you’re grateful for them gives you an awesome boost in happy feelings (and does the same for them too). Be it in person, or in writing, there are some fantastic benefits to saying “hey, I appreciate you and everything you do!” (source)

So make sure to add a link in your gratitude journal about the people you appreciate in your life. And take the time to tell them too. <3

5. PRIORITIZE SELF-CARE

Coffee, cupcakes and a journal on a table

So this may seem like a stretch, but hear me out! Taking time to work on a grateful mindset can actually help you prioritize yourself and your needs. Seriously!

This study found that people who experienced higher levels of gratitude were more likely to make self-care a priority. Including important activities like exercise, enjoying nutrient dense foods and visiting the doctor.

It really looks like there’s a link between feeling grateful and taking care of yourself. Which is pretty amazing, because self-care is so incredibly important and we all deserve a little more of it.

Related: 5 Super Simple Self Care Activities That Will Make You Feel Awesome

6. ENJOY FEELINGS OF CONTENTMENT

A woman stands outside, wearing glasses and a hat, and writes in her journal

Life comes with tons of ups and downs and lots of emotions. There’s absolutely no way to feel happy all the time. And that’s totally ok.

But working on a thankful mindset through gratitude journaling can help to create a general sense of contentment that, more or less, sticks with you.

According to Emma Seppälä, Science Director for Stanford Center For Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, Co-Director of Wellness for the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, happiness researcher and author of The Happiness Track:

“Gratitude is something that leads to much more sustainable forms of happiness, because it’s not based in that immediate gratification; it’s a frame of mind,” (source)

It’s all about that grateful state of mind, through the ups and the downs.

Practicing gratitude is about retraining your mindset and learning to marvel in awe at the goodness that surrounds you. Practice makes perfect; you will find that after a while you’ll be able to carry the essence of gratitude with you throughout the day.

Final Thoughts

Gratitude journal with a pen, a flower, and a cup of tea, shot from the top, with the handwritten word

Working on a grateful mindset through gratitude journaling doesn’t mean that you’ll be happy all the time. Life happens and feelings like sadness and frustration are normal and healthy to process and express. A grateful mindset is not about denying your negative emotions. It’s about making gratitude easier to get back to, simpler to find, and, in general, a feeling you can carry with you, even through the most difficult times. Gratitude journaling is a beautiful way to achieve that.

Have you tired gratitude journaling? Are you excited to give it a go? Share with me in the comments below.

Health and love,

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Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem

Sara Flanagan is a wellness writer and the creator of www.mshealthesteem.com, where she shares her story of being diagnosed with Graves Disease, a chronic autoimmune disease, and empowering herself to do everything she can to thrive in spite of her diagnosis. She writes articles on self-love, acceptance, wellness and nutrition. Join the Health-Esteem Family today and share in the journey.

13 Comments

  1. Reply

    Maryann Auger | Instagram: @maryannauger

    September 20, 2021

    I’ve been gratitude journaling since 2019 and it’s one of my favourite self-care activities! I use my journal more sometimes than others and that’s ok. When I do use it, it definitely improves my mood. Great blog post <3

  2. Reply

    cinny

    September 22, 2021

    I definitely agree that it’s important. It makes your life happier to be able to appreciate the good things.

  3. Reply

    Heather

    September 22, 2021

    I love the idea of gratitude journaling. I hope to start as soon as we are settled in our new home.

  4. Reply

    Ashley t

    September 23, 2021

    Gratitude journaling sounds like something that I would love. This is something that I will definitely start doing.

  5. Reply

    Talya

    September 23, 2021

    A gratitude practice is so important..Journalling is a great way of starting a practice although I do a little gratitude meditation before bed. The benefits are huge!

  6. Reply

    jen schreiner

    September 23, 2021

    LOVE. LOVE. LOVE THIS!!! Everyone should be journaling. A Game change and helps put things into perspective. Great POST!!!

  7. Reply

    Ivan Jose

    September 23, 2021

    I do like gratitude journaling, too. Actually, more of gratitude blogging because I write about the things that I’m thankful for in blog posts.

  8. Reply

    Matt Taylor

    September 23, 2021

    Those are all amazing reasons for starting a gratitude journal. It definitely will make you happier and a better person. I am a terrible at writing in my journal, need to be better at it! I have a ton of things to be thankful for.

  9. Reply

    Fransic verso

    September 23, 2021

    Great tips, being thankful to the people and your partner is something we need to do all the time and be grateful that they are part of our lives. Thank you for sharing these tips!

    Fransic – https://querianson.com/

  10. Reply

    pacioalita9

    September 24, 2021

    I love gratitude journaling. it had a massive impact in my life so I would highly recommend it to anyone

  11. Reply

    emman damian

    September 24, 2021

    We should always be thankful to all the blessings we have. It’s about being grateful. Journaling really helps a lot!

  12. Reply

    bye:myself

    September 24, 2021

    People tend to focus on the bad things in their life too much. I believe that gratitude journaling helps you paying more attention to all the good stuff we are given.

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I’m a wellness writer, Graves Disease thriver and self-love advocate.

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