Stress is bad, stress is bad, stress is bad. We hear this over an over again. We get it, but what do we do about it? One tangible way to manage stress is to keep a gratitude journal. By focusing on what you are grateful for, even for just five minutes a day, you can significantly reduce your stress.  

In Ariana Huffington’s book, Thrive, she explains what a significant role her gratitude journal played in her success. Ariana shared, “Gratitude works its magic by serving as an antidote to negative emotions. It’s like white blood cells for the soul, protecting us from cynicism, entitlement, anger, and resignation.”     

Benefits of keeping a gratitude journal:

  • By focusing on what you are thankful for, it puts what is important into perspective. This leaves little room for negativity.

  • You’ll begin to have a better understanding of what is important to you. You can then focus your energy on those things and nourish those relationships, those hobbies, etc.

  • On tough days you can read back through your gratitude journal and remember how many wonderful things are in your life.

  • Writing what you are grateful for before you go to bed shifts your focus to the positive things that occurred that day instead of harping on the negative. This gives you a sense of calm and helps you to drift off to sleep.

How to get started:

  • Keep the gratitude journal on your nightstand

  • Before you go to bed, begin to write down what you are grateful for that day. You could write three things or fifteen, sky is the limit

  • What do these things mean to you? Why are you grateful for them? Why do they make you happy?

  • Instead of writing I am grateful for my friends, write I am grateful that I was able to have lunch with Susie and Steve at Urth today and for their endless support

  • When going back to your journal this will take you back to that moment and help you to feel that emotion again

  • If it is difficult to set aside time to do this, set a daily alarm

  • Be consistent with this for at least three weeks, and assess how you feel about this new habit.

*Photo via @twentysomethiing