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A gratitude journal is a practice where individuals regularly record things they are thankful for. Scientific studies have shown that keeping a gratitude journal can lead to improved well-being, reduced stress, and increased optimism.

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The objectif of such a journal

In psychotherapy, it's widely accepted that thoughts and beliefs are closely linked and influence each other. The aim of a gratitude journal is to feed your thoughts, your subconscious, and your memory, with positive experiences you've had (and which you wouldn't necessarily pay attention to). Many people tend to pay more attention to their less pleasant experiences. This type of diary helps to bring balance, and could even be very influential in the long term. There are many testimonials from people for whom this exercise has had a strong, positive influence (see the scientific studies further down the page).

How does it work

1. You enter 10 recent memories that you enjoyed (examples: I enjoyed finishing my sports session / the time I spent with my friend at the theater / my lunchtime meal with this or that ingredient / etc.).

2. When you have a moment during the day (on public transport, for example), you can reread your 10 most recent experiences one by one, trying to feel again in your mind how they made you feel.

3. Add good memories on a regular basis (e.g. at the end of each day).

4. Continue to regularly review your 10 most recent memories (the list automatically updates with your latest additions).

What studies say about having a gratitude journal

Research has consistently shown the remarkable benefits of maintaining a gratitude journal:

  • Enhanced Well-Being: Keeping a gratitude journal is linked to increased well-being and life satisfaction, according to studies like Emmons & McCullough (2003)[^1].
  • Reduced Stress: Expressing gratitude in writing is associated with lower stress levels and improved mental health, as highlighted by Kini et al. (2016)[^2].
  • Improved Sleep: Research by Wood et al. (2009)[^3] suggests that jotting down thankful thoughts before bed can lead to better sleep quality.
  • Boosted Optimism: Gratitude journaling is shown to cultivate a more positive outlook on life, as found by Froh et al. (2008)[^4].
  • Increased Resilience: Gratitude practice is connected to enhanced resilience and the ability to cope with challenges, per studies like Algoe et al. (2018)[^5].
  • Stronger Relationships: Gratitude journaling can improve interpersonal relationships by promoting feelings of appreciation and generosity, supported by studies like Algoe et al. (2012)[^6].
  • Physical Health Benefits: Grateful individuals tend to engage in healthier behaviors and have stronger immune systems, as suggested by Hill et al. (2013)[^7].
  • Greater Happiness: Counting blessings in a journal contributes to increased happiness and positive emotions, per research by Seligman et al. (2005)[^8].
  • Elevated Productivity: Gratitude journaling is linked to increased productivity and goal attainment, highlighted by Sansone & Sansone (2010)[^9].
  • Neurological Impact: Neuroscientific studies like Kini et al. (2016)[^2] reveal that gratitude journaling can lead to changes in brain activity associated with happiness and well-being.

These findings underscore the value of incorporating a gratitude journal into daily life, offering an avenue for holistic well-being enhancement.

[1]: 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.
[2]: Kini, P., Wong, J., McInnis, S., Gabana, N., & Brown, J. W. (2016). The effects of gratitude expression on neural activity. NeuroImage, 128, 1-10.
[3]: Wood, A. M., Joseph, S., Lloyd, J., & Atkins, S. (2009). Gratitude influences sleep through the mechanism of pre-sleep cognitions. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 66(1), 43-48.
[4]: Froh, J. J., Sefick, W. J., & Emmons, R. A. (2008). Counting blessings in early adolescents: An experimental study of gratitude and subjective well-being. Journal of School Psychology, 46(2), 213-233.
[5]: Algoe, S. B., Gable, S. L., & Maisel, N. C. (2010). It’s the little things: Everyday gratitude as a booster shot for romantic relationships. Personal Relationships, 17(2), 217-233.
[6]: Algoe, S. B., Haidt, J., & Gable, S. L. (2008). Beyond reciprocity: Gratitude and relationships in everyday life. Emotion, 8(3), 425-429.
[7]: Hill, P. L., Allemand, M., & Roberts, B. W. (2013). Examining the pathways between gratitude and self-rated physical health across adulthood. Personality and Individual Differences, 54(1), 92-96.
[8]: Seligman, M. E., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist, 60(5), 410-421.
[9]: Sansone, R. A., & Sansone, L. A. (2010). Gratitude and well being: The benefits of appreciation. Psychiatry (Edgmont), 7(11), 18-22.