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Author: Paulina Marinkovic

Gratitude Journaling: A Daily Practice For A Happier Work Life

Gratitude Journaling: A Daily Practice For A Happier Work Life

Illustration by Tra Mi Do


“If you feel grateful, write it down.” This deceptively simple advice carries the power to reshape your work life, making it not merely tolerable but fulfilling. In the midst of the modern workplace, where deadlines loom and emails flood your inbox, the practice of gratitude journaling can be used as a tool to shift your perspective, increase your satisfaction, and elevate your overall happiness. It is the art of learning to appreciate the positive in the mundane, and finding the extraordinary in the everyday.

Gratitude can be practiced in various ways, from a simple “thank you” to acknowledging a kind act. Yet, there is something meaningful about the act of writing it down. It goes beyond fleeting moments and rather transforms your thoughts into a tangible affirmation. The written word then becomes a testament to the importance of the everyday moments that often go overlooked. It serves as a gentle reminder that there are countless opportunities for gratitude hidden in our daily routines. 

The Science Behind Gratitude Journaling

Inspired by leading researchers in the science of gratitude, such as Professor Robert Emmons and Professor Michael McCullough, gratitude journaling has garnered increasing recognition in the last few years. In a study conducted by these two experts, participants were asked to engage in a weekly writing exercise, each group focusing on different topics. 

The first group was asked to write about the things that they were grateful for during the week.  The second group was instructed to record their daily stressors and the things that had irritated them. The third group was tasked to document the events that had affected them, without specifying if these events were positive or negative.

After ten weeks, the transformative effects of gratitude journaling became evident. Those who had written about things they were grateful for showcased more optimism and reported feeling better about their lives. The insights from this research highlight the potential of gratitude journaling not only in reshaping our work lives, but also in leading us toward long-lasting improvements in our mental, emotional, and physical well-being

A Beginner’s Guide to Gratitude Journaling

Gratitude journaling is a simple yet powerful tool – one that requires everyday practice and a structured routine. If you are new to gratitude journaling, here is a short step-by-step guide to help you get started on this journey:  

1. Choose Your Journal:

Embark on your journey by selecting a journal that speaks to you – whether in terms of design, style or content, find a journal that best resonates with you and the purpose of this practice. It can be a blank notebook, one that already contains specific prompts and topics to write about, or even a digital journal if you prefer typing. 

2. Set a Daily Routine:

Gratitude journaling is a skill like any other, and consistency is key when it comes to noticing the positive effects this practice has on your life. It is important to set a specific time every day to journal. Find a time that works best for you and stick to it!

3. Begin with Reflection:

Don’t let overthinking overshadow your practice; this is a moment for you to reflect and write. Take this time to prioritize yourself and reflect on the events that have occurred throughout your day – consider moments that have brought you peace. 

4. Use Prompts:

It is completely normal to struggle to find inspiration when it comes to writing; when this happens, you can turn to using prompts for your journal entries. These prompts encourage reflection and can be a helpful starting point as you embark on this journey.  

In the midst of this attention economy, where our focus is often fractured and time seems ever-accelerating, gratitude journaling is a call to slow down, to pause, and to appreciate every moment. While it may sound simple in theory, it is a skill that, like any other, must be learned and practiced. So, while it is easier said than done, you should encourage yourself to adopt this daily habit. Find things to be grateful for in your work and personal life, and write them down.


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