1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Keeping a Gratitude Journal

How To Develop An Attitude of Gratitude

By

Updated August 30, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Photo Copyright Microsoft

A gratitude journal can help you develop an attitude of gratitude.

Photo © Microsoft

There is no doubt about it, living with panic disorder can be extremely challenging at times. If you are dealing with anxiety, panic attacks, and fears, it can be difficult to see the positives in life. Studies have even shown that people diagnosed with mood and/or anxiety disorders are often more susceptible to negative thinking. If you are prone to always seeing the glass as half empty, developing an attitude of gratitude may be just what you need to get past these feelings.

Why Keep A Gratitude Journal?

Research has revealed that there are numerous benefits to both journal writing and bringing attention to that which you are grateful for. For example, journal writing can assist you in dealing with intense emotions, improving your problem-solving skills, and reducing feelings of anxiety. While focusing on gratitude and appreciation can help reduce stress, increase feelings of happiness and satisfaction, and bring attention to more positive ways of thinking. By combining these two practices, keeping a gratitude journal can assist you in managing anxiety and help you overcome negative thinking.

How to Keep a Gratitude Journal

The following are a few guidelines to help you to easily keep and maintain a gratitude journal:

  1. Pick Out a Type of Journal
  2. When deciding what type of journal to use, first consider what will work best for you. If you like to write with pen and paper, you may want to consider a traditional journal. These types of journals come in a variety of sizes, colors, and styles.

    If simple is what you prefer, consider just using a spiral notebook or plain filler paper to write on. A calendar can be used to write down a few things that you are grateful for each week. You can also use your computer if you would rather type or you can even use a recording device to tape yourself as you speak of what you are grateful for. Regardless of what you choose, it is important that it is convenient for your lifestyle.

  3. Start Writing
  4. Once you have your journal type picked out, you are ready to start writing. To begin each day on a positive note, you may want to jot down a few things that you are grateful for in morning when you wake up. On the other hand, you may find it more comforting to reflect upon about everything you were grateful for at the end of the day by writing in your journal before bed.

    Try to stay consistent with scheduling a time each day to write in your journal. If you are finding it hard to think about anything you are grateful for, just start small, such as feeling appreciation for waking up that morning or for having a place to sleep. The options for gratitude are truly limitless.

Other considerations:

  • Stick to a weekly schedule and go for quality over quantity. Keeping a gratitude journal can lose its benefits and inspiration if overdone.
  • If you skip a few days, don’t quit entirely. You can pick back up to keeping your gratitude journal at any time.
  • If you ever find it too difficult to feel gratitude in your life, then use your journal to reflect on past entries. Seeing words you have written on gratitude in the past may be just what you need to boost your mood in the present.
  • As you continue to write in your gratitude journal, try not to get stuck in a rut. Remind yourself that you are engaged in this activity to feel happier and more positive.
  • Don't always repeat the same things that you feel grateful for, such as your family or health. Rather, look for a variety of things to be grateful for each day. Use you senses to notice the less subtle things that deserve your appreciation, such as hearing a child laugh, the smell and taste of your favorite foods, or feeling the warmth of the sun shining on your skin.

Sources:

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 & Social Psychology, 84(2), 377-389.

Reiss, V. (2010). Count your blessings. Natural Health, 40(8), 15-16.

  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Panic Disorder
  4. Coping
  5. Keeping a Gratitude Journal-How To Develop An Attitude of Gratitude

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.