What Types of People use Gratitude Journals?

girl and diaryKeeping a gratitude journal is a simple, daily practice that can be used to generate long-term happiness.  Each day, you take a few minutes to reflect on and record the things in your life that you’re grateful for.  Where did this practice come from?  Who first started keeping gratitude journals and what types of people use them now?  Since we created the Gratitude Journey gratitude journal app, we get this question quite often.  Gratitude journals originally gained popularity as an effective method to treat depression.  Therapists advise patients to focus on the good in their lives as a method to shift their mindsets.  Nowadays, the practice reaches a quite impressive and diverse demographic.  People from all walks of life are using gratitude journals to help manifest success and happiness in their lives.

Leaders, CEO’s, and Entrepreneurs

“The single greatest thing you can do today to change your life today would be to start being grateful for what you have right now.  And the more grateful you are, the more you get.” – Oprah Winfrey

Oprah started keeping a gratitude journal in 1996 and the results of her success are self-evident.  Many of today’s top performers in leadership, business, and success (in whichever way you might define it) keep gratitude journals.  When the stakes are big and an individual’s goals are of a huge magnitude its appropriate to expect that there will be challenges along the way.  Effective people choose to view their challenges as learning experiences and are grateful for what they’ve learned.  Likewise, each “win” is looked upon as a blessing and those who took part in each success are rewarded.  It’s no surprise that Google is consecutively voted each year as the best company to work at on the planet (Forbes Magazine).

Those With Hardships

As mentioned before, gratitude journals are commonly used by therapists to treat depression.  In addition, the practice has been shows to significantly improve the moods of those going through terminal illness treatment such as cancer or who have chronic pain issues (e.g. fibromyalgia).  Check out this inspiring story from a fibromyalgia patient that used gratitude journaling to “dramatically improve her quality of life.”

In addition to the medical office, gratitude journals are also popular in addiction recovery programs.  The ability to stay appreciative of the good things in life can be an effective incentive to maintain sobriety.

Parents

Both mothers and fathers can appreciate the importance of staying positive and grateful.  Let’s face it, being a parent is stressful, but those tough times can be easily shadowed by the amazing gifts and experiences that parenthood brings.  Since the launch of Gratitude Journey we’ve been so thankful of the feedback we’ve received from mothers and fathers that improve their days with gratitude.  Popular bloggers such as First Time Mom and Dad and Confessions of a Mommyholic have expressed their thanks for the practice of keeping a gratitude diary.

Self-Improvement Seekers

the happiness projectIn 2011, author Gretchen Reuben spent a year experimenting each month with a new theory on how to be happier.  The result of her experiment was the best selling book “The Happiness Project“.  One of the most common themes that comes up in her book is the importance of gratitude.  Rubin mentions, “one of the most common happiness recommendations is to keep a gratitude journal. Studies show that doing so raises people’s life satisfaction, improves health, increases energy, reduces troublesome thoughts, and promotes good sleep.”

“The Secret”, one of the highest selling self-help books of all time, is based on the law of attraction, in which focusing on the things you want will encourage the universe to bring more of it to you.  By this theory, being grateful for the things you want (such as success, fortune, love, etc), will in-turn generate more of these same things.

In addition to self-improvement books, gratitude diaries are popular in most religions and spiritual practices.  “Prana to the People” founder, Matt Elmore, first discovered gratitude journals in his yoga teacher training course.

Just About Everyone Else

The benefits of a grateful personality are not specifically geared for any particular type of person.  Gratitude is a virtue, or habit (if you will), that anyone can simply choose to embrace.  If you haven’t already tried keeping a gratitude journal, give it a shot.  At worst you’ll end up with a list of people, places and things that you love.  At best, you’ll have improved your mood, sleep, success, health… ok, you get the point.