Keeping a Gratitude Journal


I firmly believe in the power of the written word. While I don’t necessarily believe I’m going to become “wealthy” by writing my goals down (as portrayed in The Secret), I do believe that writing is the first step towards creating a concrete goal and making it become part of my daily life. (If a long-term goal isn’t written down, well, then, isn’t it just a daydream?)

Since writing has the ability to turn a mere thought into something tangible, living, and real, I’ve decided that I could benefit from keeping several journals by my bedside—a blog journal, a food and exercise journal, and now, a gratitude journal.

In the past few months, I’ve noticed that the “envy dialog” in my head has become more frequent. For example, when I drive by that $800,000 house in my neighborhood with lush green grass and a beautiful, picturesque garden, I catch myself saying something like this: “Why can’t we have the money to own a beautiful house like that? Why can’t our grass look like that? I want a garden that’s perfectly manicured and cared for, too.” Of course, similar dialog enters my head when I spot a thin, beautiful woman or a happy-go-lucky married couple in my presence as well. The envy dialog, of course, belittles all the wonderful things I have in my life and often dampens my mood.

This week, I started a Gratitude Journal so I could minimize or even stop all the envy dialog in my head. Since I don’t have much time (like really, who does?), I simply jot down three things at night that make me thankful. Since it’s easy to get into a pattern of writing the obvious, I try to be more detailed in my journal. For example, instead of saying, “I’m thankful for my little boy,” I say, “I’m thankful for my little boy’s adorable, raspy laugh.” By looking at details, I find that I become more appreciative. It also makes me learn that I have so much more to be thankful for than I ever imagined. I end up feeling much more fulfilled in the end. After all, I don’t just have a 23 month old boy; I have a boy with an adorable little laugh, a sweet disposition, a melt-your-heart smile, and squeezable baby thighs. (I can name a lot more, but I’m saving it for additional entries in my gratitude journal.)

In the few days that I’ve been keeping one, I’ve noticed a substantial difference in my attitude. I’ve started recognizing the little everyday blessings in my life that I’ve often ignored or overlooked. (In other words, I’m finally seeing the glass as half full instead of half empty.) With this new attitude, my stress level has lowered, and I’ve been walking around with a lighter heart.

When my little boy is older, I’m going to teach him about keeping a gratitude journal too. In the beginning, I will help write the words for him, but as he gets older, he will be able to take pride in being able to keep one for himself. Sure, some of his entries might sound like, “I’m thankful for Blue's Clues, the color blue, and my favorite blanket,” but isn’t that the cutest, and, isn’t that exactly the point? Yes, I’m thankful for all those things too because it means that we have the gift of sight to be able to see Blue's Clues and the color blue, and the gift of touch and emotion to be able to feel the warm blanket and associate it with both the comfort and security of (yet another blessing) a warm, loving, home.


  1. I love this idea of the gratitude journal, and I'm going to try this as well. The green eyed monster is a frequent visitor in my brain. One idea that my sister does with her kids that I love is that the whole family gets together during bedtime (all 3 kids share a room). The whole family then take turns saying a few things that they're thankful for. My sis and bro-in-law go first, and the kids have started to say some really sweet things. Ex: My nephew said he was really thankful for his little sister, because she plays with him. Thanks for reminding me of this today! Hope your weekend is going well.

  2. Hi Annette! I love, love your post! Journaling is one of my life's passions and I strongly believe in the power of a gratitude journal to change your life and to keep things in a positive perspective.

    You nailed it right there with "walking around with a lighter heart." That's how I would describe the feeling too. I'm actually feeling it right now because I just finished writing in my journal. ;)

    I like your idea of teaching your son about gratitude journals. My girls like to imitate me when I write and, now that you've reminded me, I'll teach them about this specific type of journaling too. I also like cooper1788's idea of gratitude as a bedtime ritual.

    I'm writing all these ideas down in my journal to help me remember.

    I like the positive aura of your blog and I'll definitely be back here soon! :)

  3. What a wonderful way to end the week! I am so glad you visited my blog, which lead me to your post. I dabble in journaling, but a journal with the purpose of Gratitude sounds like a great way to recognize the positive in life.

    Definitely something I want to pass along to my son, as well.

    Following you now, and can't wait to read more great thoughts and ideas.

  4. This is a great idea and a great post!!!

  5. Very good idea!! I think I just might do the same. Recognizing all I'm grateful for.

    Found ya on Mommy Blogs and I am following you.

  6. love this idea!! Some times we take things for granite... i think more often then we realize!


    O ps im also hosting a give away for children's clothing from the sweetest little children's boutique! Feel free to check it out!


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