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Well, I tried the gratitude journal thing.

February’s happiness challenge

A daily gratitude journal my February happiness challenge item, and while I didn’t manage to get it done every day, I did write in the journal pretty frequently.

Did this make me feel happier?


I think the concept as a whole is solid, but I don’t feel like it had an enormous impact on my own happiness level.

Probably the reason gratefulness journals make us happy is that it makes us think about the upsides in life.

For whatever reason, my brain tends to already be thinking about happy things/things that I am grateful for, and so writing them down didn’t add a whole lot of cheer to my life.

However, for people who naturally tend not to be thinking about happy things in life, I can see how having to write down happy things could force the brain to think about the happy things. 

I’ve definitely seen this happen for some members of my own household.

Will I keep doing this?

Probably not, unless I’m having a day where I notice that I’m having a terrible attitude (like last Thursday.)

But as a general habit, I don’t think I will.

For me, using my phone less was way more life-altering than doing a gratitude journal.

March Happiness challenge

I have a list of happiness options to choose from, and this time, I chose: take a picture every day.

Making a point of doing this could help me feel happier for a few reasons.

  • I already love photography! Doing something I love is a happy thing.
  • Taking pictures forces me to notice the beauty that’s around me.
  • Having photos to look back on offers future happiness possibilities.

And lastly, I might share the photos from this project with you!  Sharing photos with other people usually brings me joy.


I’d love for you to try the photo-a-day project along with me and then share your experience at the end of the month!

I’m really sure this challenge will bring me joy, but I’m super curious to hear if it could also bring joy to people who are less camera-oriented.

P.S. I might just take a photo of whatever strikes my fancy, but there’s also this 30-day photo prompt list that I may use.

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Thursday 7th of March 2019

I started keeping a journal last October. My husband had just deployed, and I needed a place to debrief my day, so I wrote down one thing that was really great that day and one thing that was really hard. On the days I wanted to ditch my kids (3, 3 with medical needs, and 4, no twins) at someone else's house, it allowed me to see that even in the bad they were doing the best they could. And it gave me a space to set aside the hard thing, or if it had turned from hard to downright ugly, a place to figure out what to do differently the next day. Most days it took 5 minutes max. On really really tough days, maybe 10 minutes. It was my sanity when I was on my own.

Marcia (OrganisingQueen)

Wednesday 6th of March 2019

Kristen, I finally had an aha moment reading this post. I have never been able to keep a gratitude journal and I think you might be onto something. I'm a naturally happy and positive person, easily delighted by small things already. And true, I have found like the once or twice a year I "made myself" write a gratitude list are the days that felt hard.

Randi Macdonald

Wednesday 6th of March 2019

I find I'm happier when I stay off FB for a day or two. It depresses me to no end to see constant stories of abused animals, see all this horrible political stuff and then when I see local accidents/people dying, etc. The icing on the cake is when I see posts that a police officer died in the line of duty. I'm married to an LAPD Sgt and those types of posts nearly give me a heart attack.


Tuesday 5th of March 2019

I was just having a talk about gratitude lists with somebody the other day, and I think the place where they tend to fall flat for me is that I end up just writing down three things I like every day: "coffee, my kids, sunny days," "coffee, my kids, books," "coffee, my kids, yarn," or maybe if I'm feeling super-spiritual "coffee, books, Jesus." But I already know I like coffee and my kids a lot. It's good to remember that if I'm feeling super cranky, but for the most part I don't think it makes me happier. More useful is looking at something hard that happened that day and being thankful for that, but it doesn't fit as easily into a gratitude journal and I'm not sure I want to look back on a list with things like "stomach bug" and "fraudulent charge on our credit card" even if I could at the time think of reasons I was thankful for them.

I like the picture idea. My mother was just mentioning in passing that she hasn't gotten pictures of the kids in a while...


Tuesday 5th of March 2019

I hear you...I wrote this list while sitting in bed each night, and I kept wanting to write down, "warm bed with fuzzy sheets". Ha.


Monday 4th of March 2019

I like the idea of 30 days of photos! I'm not a photographer by any means, but I think it's fun to take pictures.

And for the other commenters here who aren't good at taking pictures, I would encourage you to take some anyway. Pictures are more than artwork. I find that pictures (whether beautiful or not) spark my memory and I can remember things more clearly because I can see a moment of time.

Taking a picture of what you're grateful for could be a good alternative to journalling! (not to mention faster...) I think it would make for some interesting pictures too!

I'm in!

If you make up a hashtag for the challenge, it would be great to follow along with other people's pictures as well!

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