Monday, October 26, 2015

A Gratitude Journal

The earliest memory I have of keeping a journal was probably when I was about 12 years old and I went to visit my grandparents in India for the first time after having moved to the states. I remember recording the food I ate, the sites I visited and the people I met.

I have journaled on and off again since that time. Most of the time I would mainly journal whenever I would go on trips. I remember journaling when I went to Washington D.C. for my 8th grade school trip and Europe when I was in high school. I wanted to remember everything I saw and experienced on these adventures. I also remember my senior year English teacher. She would write a quote on the board every morning and we were given just 10-15 minutes to reflect on the quote. We could write about something in our lives that was related to this quote or just about what the quote meant to us. I really enjoyed this exercise and always looked forward to it. This is my last recollection of journaling being something positive in life.

About a year ago, I remember flipping through the journal I had kept for several years now. The entries were few and far between. Somewhere along the way, journaling became more about venting and writing about my heartaches versus recording happier moments in my life. I wrote about the challenges and frustrations I faced as being a young adult trying to figure out the direction of my life. The only time I would really write in my journal was when I was feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, hurt, or depressed. Looking back I realize that the majority of these frustrations and heartaches were so trivial. So around the time of this realization I decided to start another book in which I would only write positive and inspirational quotes.

I still continue to write in my book of quotes when I hear or read some words of wisdom and inspiration. Although reflecting back on these quotes does make me feel quiet inspired and uplifted, I wasn't really connecting the wisdom these words had to offer to my life. When I was at the store recently,  I came across this book (pictured above from an old post). It was a blank book. I could write whatever I wanted to in it. I wasn't sure that I needed this book, but the phrase on the cover had really made me ponder. "Write Your Story". What did I want my story to be? Did I want it to be full of negative thoughts, frustrations, and heartache? Or did I want to it be positive and a reminder about the good things I am so fortunate to have in my life? I decided not to write anything in this book until I knew what I wanted my story to be.

Recently, I dedicated this book to be my gratitude journal. I was inspired by the two books I recently completed - What I Know For Sure and The Essentialism. Both authors of the book talk about the importance of keeping a journal and having gratitude. Oprah talks about how she had kept a gratitude journal for a whole decade and how writing down 5 things she was grateful each and every day has helped her bring positive energy into her life. Greg McKeown makes similar points in his book. He also goes on to talk about how a good journalist has to discern the true meaning and figure out the lead of the story. This made me think about the times when I would let one small negative experience consume my thoughts and feelings without consciously being aware and grateful for the many positive moments I had experienced in that very same day. We are all journalists of our lives and we must navigate through all the distractions and noise to discern the true meaning of our experiences.

It has been over a month now and I have been writing in this book every single night. I keep it on my nightstand right next to my bed. I take 5 minutes at the end of each day to write in it. I start with writing the date and then the following fragment: "Today I am thankful for (that)...." Then I simply make bullet points for things I'm grateful for. I don't limit myself to any number or pressure myself to meet a quota. Somedays, I find that I have several things to be thankful for and somedays it maybe just one or two. Yet, there has not be a single day thus far that I have not had at least one thing to be thankful for. Just a few days after starting this exercise, I was being more conscious of small things I was grateful for just so I could remember to record them at the end of the night. Little moments in my life that I would have otherwise overlooked and taken for granted.

I have experienced first hand how consciously having gratitude for all life has to offer has attracted more positive energy into my life. It has helped me decrease my stress, uplift my mood, and find the positive in any situation in my everyday life. If you are someone who is currently stuck in a rut with journaling, I would highly recommend writing your (positive) story by starting a gratitude journal.

What are you thankful for today?


  1. I totally LOVE, love this. I've been talking with my daughter a ton about gratitude and being thankful and actually really love the idea of doing this with her. thanks for the idea. :)


    1. Aw, that's so sweet to do this with your daughter! Such a great way to do something positive together. :)

  2. Love this idea! I also have a journal that I use solely for noting all the things I'm thankful for. It makes SUCH a difference in how my day progresses.