Gratitude Journals Heal

Ever since Sarah Ban Breathnach, the author of Simple Abundance, began appearing as a regular guest on Oprah, keeping a gratitude journal has become the thing to do. The practice of writing down five things that we are grateful for each day is a simple, and according to recent research is healing as well.



In an article in the Winter Issue of Spirituality & Health, Robert A. Emmons reports that during a study he conducted at the University of California, Davis, subjects who counted their blessings, both large and small:

  • felt better about their lives,
  • were more optimistic about the near future,
  • felt more inclined to help others with personal problems,
  • exercised more and
  • reported fewer physical symptoms than did subjects who wrote about stressful or neutral events.


Emmons also found that the subjects who wrote down what they were thankful for on a daily basis experienced more benefits than did those who wrote once a week.

The research was funded by theĀ John Templeton Foundation.

  • Read more about Bob Emmons and his gratitude research.
  • Visit the Spirituality & Health Website
    and click on the gratitude section for many ideas about how to make gratitude a spiritual practice. The site also contains archived articles on gratitude and a number of “soul boosters,” inspirational thoughts, on giving thanks.
  • Read an article about expressing gratitude,
    rather than keeping it hidden between the covers of your journal at Oxygen’s Thrive Online.
  • Print a gratitude certificate
    by filling in the form at Ban Breathnach’s Simple Abundance Site. The information you type in will be automatically formatted into certificate that you can print out.
  • Visit the Gratefulness Website hosted by Benedictine Brother David Steindel-Rast
    to learn many practical strategies for developing an attitude of gratitude and experience more joy in your life. The goal of this site is to provide encouragement and support for developing gratitude in everyday life. Sections include play, learn, practice, share and reach out.