Gratitude Journaling: A Story of How Daily Focus Can Transform Your Mindset

By Billie •  Updated: 05/21/24 •  5 min read

Jane was stuck. Not literally in quicksand or anything, but stuck in the mundane rut of life. She had a decent job, good friends, and a cozy apartment, but something was missing. Her days felt like an endless loop of “meh,” punctuated by the occasional “ugh.” That was until she stumbled upon the world of gratitude journaling, a practice that promised to turn her life around with just a pen and paper.

Jane, trying to look inspired.

Meet Jane: A Story of Transformation

Let’s rewind a bit. Jane, like many of us, was skeptical about the whole “gratitude journaling” craze. “Sure,” she thought, “writing down that I’m grateful for my coffee is going to magically fix my life.” But one particularly dreary Tuesday, after another Netflix binge that left her feeling more blah than entertained, she decided to give it a shot. She bought a cute journal (because if you’re going to write, it might as well be in something that sparks joy) and a fancy pen (no reason, just for flair).

Jane’s Journey with Gratitude Journaling

Starting the Practice

Jane started simple. Her first entry: “Today, I’m grateful for my cat, Mr. Whiskers, not scratching me awake at 5 AM.” Groundbreaking? No. Genuine? Absolutely. Every night before bed, she’d jot down three things she was grateful for. Some days, it was as small as a warm blanket on a cold night. Other days, it was big stuff like landing a project at work.

Daily Routine

As the days turned into weeks, her list grew. Mornings began with a cup of coffee and evenings ended with reflections in her journal. She wasn’t suddenly surrounded by rainbows and unicorns, but she noticed a shift. Her outlook was… lighter. She laughed more, snapped less, and even Mr. Whiskers seemed to be in a better mood (though that could have been the new catnip).

Mr. Whiskers silently judging.

The Impact on Jane’s Mindset

Early Changes

In the beginning, it was the little things. Jane started noticing moments she’d previously overlooked. The smell of fresh bread from the bakery, the feel of the sun on her face, or a stranger’s smile. It wasn’t that life changed dramatically; she just became more attuned to its pleasant nuances.

Long-term Benefits

Months into her gratitude journaling, Jane realized she was fundamentally happier. Her anxiety diminished, replaced with a calm contentment. She tackled challenges with a positive attitude and her relationships flourished. Her friends even noted how she was less of a stress-ball and more of a “chill” person, a term never before associated with her.

I don’t know about you, but I always start my journaling with a cuppa jo and pinecones on the side.

Overcoming Challenges


Jane’s consistency wasn’t perfect. There were nights she was too tired or days she forgot. Instead of beating herself up, she embraced imperfection. She set reminders on her phone, left her journal on her pillow, and even enlisted Mr. Whiskers as her accountability partner (he was surprisingly good at reminding her, usually by sitting on the journal).

Staying Genuine

On tough days, when gratitude felt forced, Jane focused on the basics. “Grateful for my bed” might not seem profound, but in those moments, it was. She learned that gratitude wasn’t about grand gestures; it was about acknowledging the good, no matter how small.

Practical Tips from Jane’s Experience

Advice on Getting Started

Jane’s advice for beginners? Start small. Choose a journal that makes you smile and a pen that feels good in your hand. Set a routine—maybe it’s first thing in the morning or right before bed. Don’t overthink it. Some days will be easy, others won’t. That’s okay.

Finding Gratitude in Everyday Life

Jane’s trick for finding gratitude? Be present. Notice the little things: the way your favorite song makes you feel, the taste of your favorite food, the comfort of your home. Gratitude is often hiding in plain sight.

Staying Motivated

To stay motivated, Jane mixed it up. She’d occasionally doodle, paste in pictures, or write longer reflections. She also kept a list of gratitude prompts for days when inspiration was low, like “Something that made you smile today” or “A person you’re thankful for.”

So is Gratitude Journaling Worth It?

Jane’s journey with gratitude journaling wasn’t a magical fix-all, but it was transformative. She found joy in the everyday and shifted her mindset from one of scarcity to abundance. If Jane, self-proclaimed queen of skepticism, can find happiness with a pen and paper, maybe there’s something to it. So grab a journal, start writing, and see what happens. Who knows? You might just find yourself living a life that feels a lot more like “wow” than “meh.”


I like to climb mountains, read Nietzsche, and explore the West Coast. I have a BA from York University (2003) in Toronto, Canada, and yet on this site I sometimes spell like an American (know your audience). Thank you. Thank you very much.

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