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Now that Thanksgiving has passed, many of us have recently taken the time to express gratitude for the things in our life for which we are thankful. Giving thanks not only makes us feel warm inside, but it also allows us to feel optimistic and hopeful about the many things in our lives that bring us fulfillment and joy. What if there was a way to feel this way every day of the year and not just on a holiday?

Enter Gratitude Journaling!

Luckily, there is a way: gratitude journaling! Gratitude journaling is a fairly simple practice to start. Find a notebook that you love and your favourite pen and start jotting down the things in your life that you appreciate. This could be as meaningful as a family member who has changed your life or as simple as a passing butterfly that made you smile on your neighbourhood walk. All that matters is that the things you write are things that you are thankful for in your life!

Why It Matters

Gratitude journaling is not only fun but also good for you! Every time you write about something that you’re grateful for, you are teaching your brain to notice the things you love in your life. This simple action primes your thoughts to not only notice but to appreciate, the good. As a result, your mental health may improve, your thoughts may become more positive, and the world just might seem a bit brighter. The more love and gratitude we express daily, the more we will encounter and pick up on things to be grateful for in our everyday lives.

Writer’s Block

It happens to the best of us…you desperately want to write something but just can’t find the words. Everyone has hard days or ends up in situations where they feel as though there is nothing to be grateful for. In my experience, these are the moments when gratitude journaling is most important. Nothing turns around a bad time like remembering the things in your life that really matter. If you feel like you have absolutely nothing going for you, think small. You are breathing, you are loved, your heart is beating to keep your body going. These tiny things can remind us of the miracle of being alive and put the rest of the world in perspective.

Big Little Things

One of the added benefits of gratitude journaling is that it provides a reminder of how to feel better, even when you’re feeling a little down. If I journal about how grateful I am for my best friends, I’m reminded to call them for a pick-me-up. If I write about the incredible muffins my mom baked earlier in the week, I open up the fridge and have one. The little things become big when we take the time to be grateful for them.

A favourite childhood memory of mine is thinking back to the diary I kept throughout elementary school. I loved writing about all the things I had discovered that day, the experiences I had and the friends I made. Gratitude journaling as an adult is just as enjoyable and might even have life-changing benefits, so grab your favourite notebook and try it today!

Sarah Katherine

Wilfrid Laurier '21

Sarah is a 4th year Music Education student at Laurier University. She is passionate about wellness, education, singing, and writing, and hopes to make a difference in the world through the integration of her passions. 
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