According to Dr. Martin Seligman, former President of the American Psychological Association and founder of the field of Positive Psychology, gratitude journaling using creates lasting mood change. Based on the work we do in our own lives and the feedback we’ve received from our students, we heartily agree.

In particular, the following exercise, “The Three Blessings,” has been scientifically tested to both substantively increase happiness and decrease depression for six months. Here’s the instructions for shifting up your mood, decreasing negative self-talk, and decreasing the “morning dreads” by using a bedtime gratitude journal:

The Three Blessings

Before sleep, write down three things that went well today AND WHY THEY WENT WELL. Next to each event, answer the question: “Why did this happen today?” For example, if you wrote that your daughter greeted you at the door today, write “because my daughter cares about me and likes contributing to me and others,” or “because it made a difference that I asked her how she was feeling today.”

Guidelines for The Three Blessings

  • This must be written down in your journal not simply pondered.
  • The subject does not need to be particularly important, but it can be.
For further information, read Flourish by Dr. Martin Seligman.

How has bedtime gratitude journaling made a difference in your life? Visit our blog or our Facebook page and tell us how.