journaling Feeling Blue? Try Gratitude Journaling

Feeling Blue? Try Gratitude Journaling


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“Journaling can be an essential way of making sense of our lives,” says yoga teacher and writer Susanna Harwood Rubin, author of Yoga 365—a book of daily wisdom.

Writing pen to paper

Can keeping a gratitude improve your mental and physical health? 

Harwood Rubin, who is a breast cancer survivor, describes her writing practice as integral to navigating the tumultuous time following her diagnosis in 2015, the chemotherapy and double mastectomy in 2018, and the long road to recovery. “There were a couple of times at the beginning of my diagnosis when I was so devastatingly depressed that I made bullet pointed lists of things for which I was grateful, which created a sort of raft of meaning in the turbulence of my life,” she says.

The mental, physical, and social health benefits of a gratitude practice are well-documented in the field of positive psychology. Robert Emmons, PhD, the world’s leading expert in gratitude research, defines gratitude as the ability to recognize what’s good in our lives; that which we might otherwise take for granted.

Anyone can benefit from leaning on a gratitude practice, particularly as the world prepares to celebrate the holiday season in self-isolation as the COVID-19 pandemic keeps friends, families, and loved ones apart. Gratitude can help foster feelings of well-being, offering comfort during times of unsteadiness and uncertainty and even solace within the solitude. A gratitude journal serves as a written reminder of all the good in our lives, especially when it seems easier to dwell on everything that’s bad. By documenting what it is you have to be grateful for, you can lift your spirits by referring back to your own words whenever you start to feel down.

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