Thankful Tuesday: Gratitude Fatigue?

I remember reading about this idea years ago when I read a story featuring Dr. Jeff Froh. He was researching the effect of gratitude in middle-schooler and whether or not the act of keeping gratitude journal (much like what I do) had an effect in positive mood and protective effect against negative mood. Turned out, it did not. There were no difference in the outcome between children who kept gratitude journal and those who didn't.

When he probed further, it turned out that many children wrote the same thing over and over again on their gratitude journal," I'm thankful for my family, my sister, and my dog." "Family, sister, dog." Again and again, week after week.

From Dr. Froh's own words (quoted from this Time's article):
Keep a journal and regularly record whatever you are grateful for that day. Be specific. Listing “my friends, my school, my dog” day after day means that “gratitude fatigue” has set in, Dr. Froh says. Writing “my dog licked my face when I was sad” keeps it fresher. The real benefit comes in changing how you experience the world. Look for things to be grateful for, and you’ll start seeing them.
The detail is the key because often times, it is in small things we find the biggest blessings. Looking back over my own journal, there are things I'm grateful over and over again: time and silence. In the spirit to avoid gratitude fatigue, here's a more refined rendition of the gratitude of this week:

  • Time to do laundry in the morning
  • The feeling of freshly cleaned clothes, towels and bedsheets
  • Giggling with the Tod on his silly use of the straw (upside down)
  • Catnap with the Tod
  • Time to myself to write this post
  • The scent of Meadow tea that brings me back to Thanksgiving last year in Portland
  • My brother's message on the Tod's picture on our family's message board
  • A new painting from a friend that I just found, a gift for the Tod's first birthday now perched on our fireplace mantel
This week, I invite you to look for the small things in life this week, may they refresh your outlook in gratitude.

P.S. More article about gratitude at Wall Street Journal here.


  1. What a beautiful and useful post, Claire! I love the scent of freshly washed sheets too - which reminds me, I need to go make the bed :)

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I, too, sometimes neglect making the bed since I stay at home most of the time, but now I try to do it daily; going to sleep in a made-up bed is something to look forward to.