Gratitude Journaling: The Why and How.

Learn about why you should try gratitude journaling, What are some common problems, how can we overcome them, and how you can use gratitude journaling to promote your life.


2/16/20244 min read

Discovering Gratitude Journaling

As a young adult navigating the complexities of adulthood, I stumbled upon a practice that seemed almost too simple to be transformative: gratitude journaling. Initially skeptical, I wondered how jotting down a few positive thoughts each day could impact my life. But, as I delved deeper, the evidence, particularly from researchers like Sonya Lyubomirsky, suggested I was onto something potentially life-changing. One quote I heard elsewhere in particular made me interested in this. “Happiness is a choice.”

The Science Behind Gratitude Journaling

Research in positive psychology has shown that gratitude journaling can significantly impact our mental and physical well-being. Sonya Lyubomirsky, a notable figure in this field, suggests that regular gratitude exercises can enhance happiness and life satisfaction. According to her studies, individuals who regularly practice gratitude by writing down things they are thankful for tend to be happier, more optimistic, and healthier than those who don't (Lyubomirsky, 2007).

Personal Anecdotes: My Journey with Gratitude Journaling

The First Page of My Gratitude Journal

My gratitude journaling began as an experiment. The first thing I wrote was; "Grateful for coffee that tastes like it was brewed by angels and mornings that start without an alarm." This simple note led to an unexpected journey of self-discovery and appreciation for the mundane.

Unexpected Moments of Joy

One entry reads, "I’m grateful for the lady at the supermarket who complimented my shoes—proof that small kindnesses can make big waves in someone's day." It's moments like these, captured in writing, that began to shift my perspective on daily life. This in turn did help me to become more optimistic, which I honestly didn’t think was possible knowing myself.

Benefits of Gratitude Journaling

What are the benefits of me doing this is probably what you are wondering? The benefits can honestly vary from person to person, and the best way to find out is to just do it yourself, but these are the benefits I noticed.

Enhances Mental Health

Since starting my journal, the cloud of young adult angst seems lighter. I've noticed a decrease in episodes of anxiety and a surprisingly more resilient attitude towards challenges.

Boosts Physical Health

Surprisingly, I've caught fewer colds this year. Research suggests this isn't a coincidence. Gratitude can bolster the immune system, making you healthier and more vibrant (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).

Strengthens Relationships

Journaling about people I'm grateful for has made me more expressive in my appreciation, deepening connections, and making my social circle feel more like a tight-knit community. A lot of the time, we get upset at someone for doing something we don’t like, and in that moment, we seem to forget all the good they’ve done before. Being grateful actually helped me avoid making that mistake multiple times.

Improves Sleep Quality

Writing down positive thoughts before bed has turned my mind from a whirlwind of worries to a tranquil sea of serenity, improving my sleep quality significantly. What more can I say? Getting things off your mind will always help you sleep better at night!

How to Start a Gratitude Journal

Choosing Your Journal

Your journal doesn't need to be fancy; a simple notebook that feels personal and inviting will do. Mine is, of course, one from Newbee publications. The cover is really cool. You can literally use an old copy or just scraps of paper but of course being organized will help you keep a habit of it.

Writing Your First Entries

Start with three things you're grateful for each day. They can be as significant as a life-changing event or as simple as a delicious meal. Sometimes I even write down things that happen daily, but I don’t acknowledge them. Even something as simple as talking to my friends is something to be grateful for.

Making It a Habit

Consistency is key. Find a routine that works for you, whether it's in the morning, evening, or in the tiny pockets of your day. Having the right tools in the right place in your house will make everything easy. Remember, you want to make the habit easy for you to do.

Overcoming Challenges in Gratitude Journaling

Common Roadblocks

The most common challenge? "I don't have anything to write about." This is where creativity comes into play. Gratitude can be found in the smallest details. The start might be challenging, but stick with it for a few days, Start with 1 thing, then 2, then 3, and so on… 

Keeping the Momentum

Some days, writing feels like a chore. When motivation wanes, I remind myself of the positive changes I've noticed since starting the journal. This rekindles my enthusiasm. This will also be a struggle at the start, once your habit is solidified, writing will feel as natural as brushing your teeth (especially if you do it after brushing your teeth daily)

Gratitude in Action: Beyond the Journal

Gratitude doesn't have to stay within the pages of your journal. Acts of kindness, appreciation for others, and mindful acknowledgment of the beauty around you can all stem from this practice. If you get to this point, you know you are doing well.

Reflections from a Young Adult's Perspective

Gratitude journaling has taught me to find joy in the journey, appreciate the present, and not sweat the small stuff. It's a tool for personal growth, making the rollercoaster of young adulthood a more enjoyable ride.

Conclusion: The Everlasting Impact of Gratitude

Gratitude journaling is more than a practice; it's a lifestyle. It's about celebrating the now, finding joy in the ordinary, and recognising the abundance that surrounds us. As I continue on this path, I invite you to join me in discovering the transformative power of gratitude. I’d like to remind you before you leave, happiness is a choice! So go make that choice to be happier.


Lyubomirsky, S. (2007). The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want. Penguin Books.

Emmons, R.A., & McCullough, M.E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377–389.