Here's Why You Should Start a Gratitude Journal

I am no stranger to being consumed by what the people around you, influencers on your feed, and friends are doing. It quickly becomes a never-ending cycle of seeing what others are up to, while quietly comparing it to your own progress. The number of likes. The number of followers. The vacations. The things they can afford that maybe you can’t. The number of friends they have. We always see the quote “comparison is the thief of joy,” but how seriously do we take it? 

We often focus on the future 24/7 or the things that we have yet to obtain and equate it to our overall happiness. Things such as finding our soulmate, having overall success, and advancing in our career stop us from enjoying the present. Don’t get me wrong, it’s amazing to have goals, hope for the future, and ponder all that our future selves might accomplish. For me, imagining a brighter and exciting future is all that keeps me going some days. However, I think this mindset keeps some of us from living in the present. We forget about all the little things that we might take for granted. 

I always used to have a “I’ll be happy when” mindset, but I’ve learned to live in the moment and to make each day and moment my own. Life can throw a lot at us- but most of our days are what we make of it. What you choose to focus on and how you choose to react can make a huge difference in your daily happiness. 

Think of that pretty sunset, the stranger who randomly complimented you, listening to your favorite artist, watching your favorite TV show, or eating your favorite food. These are little things you can do every day to bring some joy into your life. 

Even in our darkest moments, these small things can provide a feeling of joy, peace, home and comfort, which we think can only come from the big things. Be patient with yourself, as you notice how there is still joy to be found in the little things. The pressures of this world are real, and sometimes it can all feel like one big race, but I believe that the more we look for joy, the more we will find it. 

Having a gratitude journal has truly made this semester mentally and emotionally better for me. So, get your journal and start your day already focused on the good. Not on the test you feel unprepared for, or the fact that you wish you could sleep more. Write the things that you are grateful for- the small things, the big, and everything in-between. Know that there is already enough reason to smile each day. Waking up every day is a blessing. I know it doesn’t always feel like it with the pressures of this world and the troubles within it (and with a pandemic on top of that), but I believe there is beauty to be seen everywhere. This beauty already lies within you. 

The overwhelming feeling of gratitude is unbeatable. Think about the people in your life and the things you have. Yes, better and even greater things are coming, but good things are already here.