What’s the Buzz: How 3 Writers Felt After Keeping a Gratitude Journal for One Month

Gratitude journal

There are some crazy trends going around on the internet, but which ones are worth the hype? What’s the Buzz is a column by lifestyle editor Sangeeta Kocharekar where she (along with our editorial team) will test out viral trends to tell you if it’s worth trying for yourself. Do we recommend doing it, and will we keep it up? Or is it a trend we’ll never want to hear of ever again? Find out here. This month, we try gratitude journalling.

Scientific studies over the last decade have again and again proved the benefits of gratitude journalling. The act has been shown to increase our happiness, improve our relationships, lower our stress and even help us sleep better. It’s no wonder it’s now become mainstream.

But how does gratitude journalling work in practice? And how does the everyday person practicing it feel after a month of it? We answer those questions and more below.

Sangeeta Kocharekar, Lifestyle Editor

Sangeeta Kocharekar

I picked gratitude journalling for this month’s trend-to-try because I had tried to do it last year, but couldn’t manage to keep it up regularly. So, I thought doing it at the same time as two of my workmates would make me more accountable.

Though I didn’t journal every single day (I probably did it on average once every three days), I did really try to do it as often as I could and found that towards the end of the month, it was starting to become a habit. I didn’t have a separate journal — I just used my regular one — but I actually think a dedicated gratitude journal might be a good idea. Also, I would try to write different things I was grateful for every time, so I wasn’t writing on autopilot and had to actually stop and examine my life and pull out new, great things about it.

After over a month of doing it now, I have noticed a big shift in my thinking. I think of myself as a generally positive person, but sitting in front of a blank page on a day when I wasn’t in the best mood, being forced to write about what I was grateful for, really trained me to keep going back to the good. I once read that you can have only one thought at a time, so if you’re thinking a positive one, it’s replacing a negative thought.

Sometimes I would start writing about something negative that had happened or describing anxiety I felt, but once I’d finished that, I made sure to write what I was grateful for. I also found that the voice inside my head, prompting me to do that when I was writing started popping up other times, too.

Will I keep doing it? Definitely. What a wonderful practice: pushing yourself to always look for the good. We spend so much money on other things with the aim of making us happier, why not try this completely free (bar the cost of a journal) activity?

Ruby Feneley, Beauty Producer

Ruby Feneley

Call me cynical, but the concept of a gratitude journal gets an immediate eye roll from me. I spend most of my time trying to train myself to take credit for my wins and achievements — rather than attributing them to other people, chance or mysterious forces beyond my control. That said, I diligently set out on my mission with the gratitude journal.

I’m lucky to have a job I’m passionate about that is a lot of fun. However, to my surprise, work-related wins, fancy events and thrilling product discoveries rarely made the gratitude journal cut. Instead, I found that moments that made me feel grateful were invariably to do with other people — whether it was a laugh shared with colleagues, time spent with friends or my dad coming over to fix the shelves in my room. How much mental time do I spend on these moments? Not much, compared to the time I spend on work.

It’s easy to think your friends and family will always be there, but that this deadline or that opportunity will never exist again. Committing to a gratitude journal led me to commit to spending time with my friends on weekends rather than “finishing up” work stuff that could probably wait until Monday. It meant going to my brother’s sculpture exhibition rather than working on a personal project, and spending half an hour playing with my cat rather than meticulously reorganising my at-home beauty cupboard. Funnily enough, my life didn’t fall apart when I pushed things back a little.

Writing in my gratitude journal has helped me understand what I value — and the things I need to focus on to be a happier, healthier person, at work, and in my personal life.  Which, funnily enough, is something I’m grateful for.

Natasha Bazika, Lifestyle Producer

Natasha Bazika

When I first started gratitude journalling, it was a means to an end. My therapist suggested I write down everything I was grateful for that day and celebrate my accomplishments. This was during the lockdown in June 2021. It’s now nearly June 2022, and I’m still writing.

After a year of gratitude journalling, I’ve realised that committing words to paper gives shape to our thoughts. All it takes is five minutes in the morning. Five minutes to change your day and your perspective on life.

When it comes to gratitude journalling, you can start small. The important thing is never to repeat. Find new things to be grateful for, or if you’re struggling, write down your hopes and desires, and then look back on what you’ve already achieved. It’s a great exercise to get the thoughts flowing.

I’ll admit it, I’ve fixated on negative thoughts about myself and where I am at in life, but writing down all the amazing things I’ve done and the things I haven’t done yet, clears my mind of negative thoughts and forces me to think of the positives. Remember, writing helps clear our minds. By writing every morning for five minutes, your brain will have space for more important thoughts.

So grab a pen and remember, this journal is for your eyes only.

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