A gratitude journal is a diary of things for which one is grateful. Gratitude journals are used by individuals who wish to focus their attention on the positive things in their lives.
Gratitude journals may be one treatment used to alleviate depression.An empirical study in 2003 showed that people who used gratitude journals felt better about their lives, and report fewer symptoms of illness. In a 2005 study concerning gratitude, participants were randomly assigned to one of six therapeutic intervention conditions designed to improve the participant’s overall quality of life Seligman et al., 2005. Out of the six conditions, the longest lasting effects were caused by the act of writing “gratitude journals” where participants were asked to write down three things they were grateful for every day. These participants’ happiness scores also increased and continued to increase each time they were tested periodically after the experiment; the greatest benefits were usually found to occur around six months after treatment began. This exercise was so successful that although participants were only asked to continue the journal for a week, many participants continued to keep the journal long after the study was over.