Life @ U of T

Introduction

Lowering Stress: Journaling & Gratitude

Lowering Stress: Journaling & Gratitude

I hope everyone had a relaxing long weekend! Now that midterm season is upon us I thought it would a good time to share my experience with keeping a journal, as well as a gratitude journal (a week after Thanksgiving ha). Below I have listed the differences between a regular journal and a gratitude journal, and why they are each worth trying out.

My old journals.My old journals.

Journaling

When I was eight I read the Royal Diaries which were fictional diaries of historical figures like Marie Antoinette and Cleopatra VII, and decided I need to start journaling immediately.

I have always kept a journal since then, but the content in them has changed. These days my journal includes:

  1. what I am thinking about too much (stress, worries, negativity, anxieties)
  2. moments I want to remember

I write about these two things because when the words are down on paper it usually brings some revelations. For negative thoughts I think journaling is a great way to get to the root of the problem and think about your next steps. A lot of the time I write about how stressed I’m feeling only to come to the realization that I really shouldn’t be stressing over something so small. I find that journaling organizes my thoughts, and for someone who has a hard time talking to other people about what I’m feeling, its a good way to reflect and find some answers.

I do like to write down experiences I want to remember too, especially because once a journal is all filled up its like a physical measurement of all that I’ve accomplished!

 

Cover of journal.Cover of journal.

Gratitude Journal

Last year, my mom tried starting a gratitude journal and I quickly decided that I should try too. Gratitude journals usually include something like:

  1. A list of 5 things you are grateful for on that day
  2. A short explanation why you are grateful for those things
  3. Bonus: I would write down one thing I was looking forward to in the coming week

Gratitude journaling tends to be faster than regular journaling, but sometimes it can get repetitive. I suggest that the things you list are super specific to your day i.e. “I am grateful for my roommate because she made me tea this morning, and that made me feel loved.” This sort of journaling is meant to remind you to be thankful, and to find joy in the small aspects of your daily life.

Cover of journal.

Both of these journaling habits can help you look back on your life. You can remember what you did on a certain day or see how much you’ve grown. I don’t usually read my old journals but sometimes I do enjoy seeing just how much I’ve changed since coming to university.

The sort of journal you keep depends on what you want to get out of it. I don’t find the gratitude journal satisfying enough because I like to vent. However, a gratitude journal can be the dash of positivity you need in your day. 

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