How My Gratitude Journal Has Made Life More Fulfilling and Fun

“Be kind. Be thoughtful. Be genuine. But most of all, be thankful.” ~Unknown   Have you ever tried to keep a daily journal? How long did you last? I’ve tried to keep one many times in my life, and I have failed every time. The longest I’ve ever kept a journal was for a measly two weeks, in a Google Doc, with my college roommates as a way to keep in touch, before I got bored and stopped. For the last four months, though, I’ve managed to write in my journal every day. The trick, for me, has been to keep my updates short and sweet and to write less about my daily problems, which tends to make me feel hopeless and overwhelmed instead of relieved, and more about the things I love in daily life. I keep a gratitude journal, and it isn’t a drag, like my past diaries. It’s fun and makes me laugh because I limit myself to writing about only two types of things: moments of gratitude and moments of triumph, or wins, as I call them. Occasionally, and I mean only when something bothers me so much that I can’t sleep, I rant. Keeping the journal has changed my life, and it’s good value too! Doing it costs me less than five minutes and five dollars, depending on the brand of pen I buy (I’m a sucker for Pentel Energel pens). If you’re looking for ways to integrate more gratitude into your life, I can definitely recommend keeping a gratitude journal. I’ve benefited from it in five specific ways, probably more. Here’s how:   1. I enjoy spending time with loved ones more and see our challenging moments differently. I recently realized that one of the impacts of losing my mom is a constant fear of losing other people I love. My mom died five years ago, and I feel anxious about eventually losing my dad all the time. It puts a lot of pressure on me to be fully present for every moment we spend together and to be the perfect daughter. Here’s an example: My dad and I see a movie together, and I’ll periodically say to myself throughout the film “This could be the last movie we see together. You need to appreciate every moment!” It’s a pressure that will always be part of me, but I write in my gratitude journal because I refuse to let it control my life. Writing things like, “I’m grateful that I got to see a movie with Dad today,” relaxes me. It’s like giving myself permission to enjoy the movie because I know that I’m not letting the moment mindlessly slip by. My gratitude journal also helps me reframe the challenging moments I have with my dad. For example, I recently wrote, “My win today was setting aside my ego and communicating with Dad after we got into an argument over cleaning out old things.” Now, instead of seeing confrontations as [...]