Practice Gratitude All Year Long: A Photo Gratitude Journal

Practice Gratitude All Year Long

It’s the season of gratitude and giving thanks. Of course, our gratitude practice shouldn’t be reserved only for November. According to the Greater Good Research Center in Berkeley, there are tremendous benefits from practicing gratitude on a regular basis – everything from helping struggling marriages to improved health and better grades in school.

But surprisingly, Americans resist gratitude. A Harris Poll conducted for American Greetings found that “…60 percent admit that on Thanksgiving they’d rather do something else than reflect on what they’re thankful for.” It’s very easy to let stress, busyness, or sadness/loneliness/grief get in the way of this very beneficial practice.

I just wrote “Expert Advice on How to Practice Gratitude All Year Long” on Psych Central. In it you will find tips from several experts on ways to start and maintain different types of gratitude practices. It’s important to find something that works well and feels right to you. I want to highlight one idea that I personally enjoy.

Instead of a written gratitude journal, I like to make a photo gratitude journal. I simply take pictures of things that make me happy. I can look through these photos to savor the happiness and feel gratitude for the experience, thing, or person. Here’s the one I made on Sunday.

fall leaves

Beautiful Autumn red leaves.


palm trees

Palm trees. I still find them cool even after 20 years in California.



A rose. I love that they bloom almost year round here.



My feet which took me on this lovely walk.



Homemade cranberry bliss bars (copycat of Starbuck’s). So good!



A mood ring that my son bought for me at the zoo. Sweet!


That was easy, fun, and satisfying! I really enjoy getting out in nature to do this. There are so many beautiful things to appreciate. For me, it creates a nice little shift toward positive thinking.

I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving.


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Sharon Martin, a licensed counselor and psychotherapist in the San Jose area, specializes in helping adult children of alcoholics and others who struggle with anxiety, perfectionism, and self-criticism. She has a private psychotherapy practice in Campbell, CA where she is available for in-person counseling. Sharon is also the author of The CBT Workbook for Perfectionism.

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