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On Gratitude Journaling: These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

I am a journalism major. I don’t usually journal. 

Not in the personal sense, anyhow. 

Last week, however, for the first time in a long time, I did. My Her Campus chapter had a journaling night for our weekly Wellness Wednesday event, and those in attendance were given some lovely prompts to independently answer, sharing their responses if they felt comfortable to do so. (Quick shoutout to the amazing @mindfulmeg_!) 

One of the prompts was to write a list of things I was grateful for. As I started reflecting, I found myself primarily fixated upon the best people in my life. My family. My closest friends. After this, I began to get a little more specific, listing the types of things that I appreciated these people doing. 

Here are eight of my favorites. 

“I think you would like this song!” types of texts

These are arguably my favorite type of texts. Someone is thinking of me? Someone knows that I adore new tunes? My heart is just so full. 

Birthday wishes at midnight

I appreciate all birthday messages: texts, Instagram posts, or even my mom’s friends posting on my Facebook page. But something about that midnight message just hits different. Someone has made such a conscious effort to remember a day that is important to me—and evidently to them—that they want to be one of the first people to help me celebrate. So sweet. 

Handwritten notes

Swirly signatures on birthday cards. Scribbles in book margins. Smiley faces on sticky notes. I love them all. Keep them coming. Please. I beg.

Those who listen to what you have to say even if you are being talked over

This is more of a group setting thing when there are a lot of people trying to talk at once. Sometimes I have something to say, but I am cut off when someone else starts in. It can be a bit deflating—though I’m probably guilty of doing this to other people, too. When someone near me asks what I was going to say, in an off-to-the-side kind of whisper, it makes me feel valued and important. 

“It was so fun hanging out today!” texts after hanging out

At times, I can be skeptical if my presence really matters. Maybe that sounds awful, but I just overthink sometimes. These quick little messages of reassurance can go a long way. 

Those who respond to your joke with another joke

This energy is unmatched—especially if it leaves you laughing so hard you can’t even speak. 

Genuine compliments

Compliments that come from nowhere seem to resonate with me the most, probably because I wasn’t expecting them. With that in mind, kind words from siblings or strangers seem to really stick with me—and even ones from my friends, too. 

Those who remember the little things

This is so corny. So unoriginal. But so true? I feel obligated to include this. 

In hindsight, I can’t help but trace some of this inspiration back to #whatilikeaboutpeople on TikTok. A few of these videos were in the back of my head as I created my own list, and they are definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already. They are so heartwarming!

When journaling that evening, I felt more content with myself and had a greater appreciation for others. It was different from the feeling I’d get when finishing one of my more traditional journalism stories for a class assignment. 

Instead of a “checkmark, done, complete, ready for the next thing” it was more of an “I didn’t know I felt this way” and “I might want to revisit this later.” There was a certain pause to it, and by taking the time to recognize my thoughts, I could feel something inside me shift as I moved forward. 

I am a journalism major. I will try to journal more. 

Especially the personal kind. 

Sophia Apteker

U Mass Amherst '23

Sophia is editor-in-chief of the UMass Amherst chapter. She is double majoring in journalism with a public relations concentration and integrated marketing communication. When she's not laughing at her own jokes, she can be found curating niche Spotify playlists that make her feel like the main character.
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