Why I Started a Gratitude Journal and You Might Want to Too

Upon studying positive psychology in Copenhagen, Denmark, my professor tasked us with the daily assignment of maintaining a gratitude journal. Skeptical at first especially after several failed attempts at nightly journaling, I reluctantly began the task. Little did I realize how meaningful sheets of lined paper could be. Admittedly, there are months at a time since then where I’ve forgotten to write, but not a day goes by where I don’t contemplate my gratitude at any given point. As small as the activity, behavior, or circumstance may be that I am grateful for, the act of consciously labeling makes gratitude seem tangible, and subsequently more achievable.

Although positive psychology encompasses subtopics ranging from mindfulness to positive perception to meditation tactics, starting a gratitude journal may be the easiest and most accessible beginner’s tool to finding an inner peace.

Here’s just a few ways that a gratitude journal has impacted my life:

Clearer Head Before Bed

If I journal, I do it right as I cozy up in bed. Right before I go to sleep, I like to try to disconnect from my phone and computer which is definitely a challenge. However, keeping the journal conveniently next to my bed makes it an accessible alternative and easy outlet to jot down remaining swarms of thoughts.

The Grass is Always Greener on…My Side

Singling out positive experiences from the day, or attempting to spin a negative experience into a positive one may help you stray from judgment or rumination.

A Sunnier Morning

Often, the mornings after I journal I find myself less stressed about the ensuing day. I usually have a more positive, proactive, and engaged approach because of a newfound awareness. 

Hey, maybe it's not coincidental that Denmark is one of the happiest countries in the world?