I Used a Gratitude Journal for a Week— This is What I Learned

College is stressful, and it’s really easy to forget to be grateful for the little things. I used a gratitude journal for a week to see how it impacted my daily life, and this is what I learned.

  1. 1. Gratitude journals are for more than just listing what you’re thankful for.

    I thought keeping a gratitude journal would mean just writing a few lines of what I’m thankful for and moving on with my day. I never expected my journal to be so all-encompassing. Overall, my journal is a space for positivity. It includes spaces with random writing prompts, drawing prompts, and positive quotes.

  2. 2. Sometimes it can be really hard to come up with something.

    After a really bad day, I had a lot of trouble coming up with something to be grateful for. This made me feel like a terrible person! I mean, there should be plenty of things I’m actively grateful for, right? Sometimes going small scale can make your day feel a lot better. Like, “I got a great parking space” or “my coffee was really good this morning.”

  3. 3. You don’t have to write down the most profound things that you’re thankful for.

    When I first started using the gratitude journal, I found myself writing down all of the things that I’m grateful for conceptually like health, family, friends, and school. These things are great and should be acknowledged, but the journal serves best as a tool to eliminate negativity over the small stuff.

  4. 4. Flipping through your journal is a great way to cheer up.

    I found that when I was in a really bad mood (midterm season, am I right?), one of the most helpful things was to flip through my journal and remind myself of all the good things that have happened this week. It’s natural to focus on what is bothering you, but reminding yourself of some of the good things going on in your life can instantly make you feel better.

My week-long experiment with a gratitude journal went so well that I’m going to make it a habit. I hope my experience can inspire you to start using one too!

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