benefits of a gratitude journal

Gratitude journal: 5 reasons how it can help you transform your life

When you start maintaining a gratitude journal, you become happier as you stay in touch with the good things that happen to you in life on a regular basis.

Ever felt your heart swell with pride watching your child sing at his school’s annual day function? Or felt positive emotions flood your heart when a dog you feed regularly jumped in glee seeing you? One may think these incidents are about happiness but truth is, they are equally about gratitude. The beauty of gratitude is that it makes one feel complete in their present moment of existence. Being loved, having family, being applauded for a job well done – every time a tiny part about our life feels complete, our hearts and minds feel content in unison.  Indeed, having gratitude or being thankful for something or someone in one’s life can be a deeply rewarding quality to have. One of the greatest author of self-help books, Melody Beattie writes, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” Her statement holds a lot of truth in it.

I truly understood how gratitude worked when I got Covid a few years back. My days were full of worry – of how I contracted the virus, of how sick I would get, of what we would do if other members of the family got it. The empty days and long nights just stretched on and on with worry. At a time when I had a break from work and could have truly rested and relaxed, I chose to stay anxious all the time. It is then that I started to write a gratitude journal – I began with the day I got diagnosed and wrote about each day after that. What started as a list of things that went wrong soon became a list of things that were getting fixed steadily. From the names of the medicines I was having, I moved to the gratitude I felt in my heart when I spotted a bowl of fruits kept on the staircase by my father in the evening every day. From writing about the weirdest loss of taste and smell to jotting down how delicious the plate of rice and dal felt on the day I regained just 10% of my taste buds back. Today, those ten pages that I penned from while I was sick to how I got better from Covid have a place of pride in my writer’s folder. Unbeknownst to me, the fears and thoughts of doom were converted to tiny clouds of hope by the process of simply writing.

For a practice so powerful, it comes as a surprise how gratitude features lightly in most of our schedules. We find it easier to share what makes us angry or sad. Truth is it makes our burdens lighter when we do so. However, sharing what makes us happy also has its advantages. To that effect, Soulveda highlights here a number of ways writing a gratitude journal can help transform our lives for the better.

Stores positive memories

Human beings tend to forget most things that happen in everyday life. We truly live up to the idiom ‘water off a duck’s back’. Some things don’t affect us because they don’t concern us while other things just run off our minds after a few days. The thing is that this little game our mind plays might be a great ingredient to being happy in life as one gets to forget the bad bits. However, what we can’t afford to lose are the memories of the good bits that happen to us. And this is where a gratitude journal comes handy.

Writing down a few lines on why your day was special will keep it special in the future as well. Even if other things in life take over and keep you busy, having a look at the gratitude journal routinely will remind you and make you thankful for the good bits that you received or achieved in the past. Maybe you got praised at your job. Or your father beamed while speaking about you to someone. Or you helped an old lady cross the road that day. A gratitude journal will never allow such beautiful incidents to pass just like that.

Gratitude attracts happiness

When you start maintaining a gratitude journal, you become happier as you stay in touch with the good things that happen to you in life on a regular basis. The achievements or the happy parts don’t seem to have happened a long time ago, instead you can tell exactly when they happened. This regular reminder is a good pick me up in itself. Because the more you remember what you are grateful for, the more you stay in the practise of giving gratitude. And being grateful makes people happy.

The ever elusive happiness is actually intertwined with gratitude for what you have – the law of attraction states that happiness leans towards people who are already happy. So in a very real way, having gratitude is the road to happiness. The gratitude journal you write every night just might be the key to your happiness!

Helps process emotions

Many times, we are at a loss about how we exactly feel about a particular thing or incident. The promotion at work made us happy, but we didn’t have words to express our joy. Or someone dear passed away and we didn’t know how to grieve. Writing a gratitude journal helps process a wide range of emotions.

For instance, elaborating on how the promotion will help one to make savings or be able to buy more things will make the incident a strongly positive one. Similarly, writing down things about what one loved the most about the person who passed away or what will inspire one even after that person’s passing will help express grief while also showering gratitude for having encountered such a great person in one’s life. So, a large number of emotions can be expressed through writing a gratitude journal.

Improves mental health

A gratitude journal can be compared to a best friend with no judgements. We can literally be ourselves without the fear of being ridiculed or criticized. It can become the one safe space we have for all our thoughts, especially the ones that are positive.

Our mental health improves with the exercise of writing a gratitude journal as experts have found it lowers stress and manages anxiety for many. The concept of writing everyday also has an added advantage – when we write about a situation that keeps coming up frequently, we tend to realise what our stressors or triggers might be. We can address the issues that worry us the most by identifying them through our writing. We can also identify any negative talk or shaming that we might be doing inadvertently to ourselves.

By practising this regularly, we can soon learn to manage symptoms, regulate our behaviour and have an improved mental health overall.

Addresses anxiety

Many studies find that accepting all our feelings, even the ones that are difficult, improve our psychological health. Journaling what we are grateful for is a great tool in accepting all that happens to us and finding the good in it. It is particularly more effective in dealing with anxiety as it helps accept negative feelings and also develops within people the ability to react to stress better.

Instead of being overwhelmed when the next incident of anxiety occurs, a person who writes a gratitude journal daily will recognise and accept the negative feelings, thereby improving their reaction to it. One can only imagine the wonders of this exercise on one’s mental wellbeing in the long run.

Transforming one’s life requires many small steps and keeping a gratitude journal is one with big benefits attached to it. Not only does this practice improve our mental health and wellbeing, it has the potential to improve us as a person, one that sees the beauty of good times and the hope in bad times.


What are the benefits of maintaining a gratitude journal?

It helps store positive memories, attracts happiness, helps process emotions, improves mental health, and addresses anxiety.

How does a gratitude journal help in storing positive memories?

A gratitude journal prompts you to document positive experiences and things you’re thankful for. By regularly recording these moments, you create a repository of uplifting memories that you can revisit whenever you need a mood boost.

How does the practice of gratitude attract happiness into your life?

Focusing on gratitude shifts your perspective towards the positive aspects of life. This change in mindset can attract more positivity and happiness.

How does maintaining a gratitude journal help in processing emotions?

A gratitude journal encourages introspection and reflection. Writing about your feelings and experiences enables you to process emotions, whether they’re positive or challenging, leading to greater emotional awareness and well-being.




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