How to Start a Happiness Journal

You keep seeing stuff about this happiness journal thing and think, “Yea I should do that”. Then you go about your day only to put the idea of starting your journal somewhere in the back of your mind.    Maybe you aren’t sure what a happiness journal is, maybe you are not sure what goes into it or it’s purpose.  This is the post you need to answer your questions and get you on the road to happiness.

How to Start a Happiness Journal

*This post contains affiliate links, if you purchase something through one of these links I will receive a small commission on the sale. 

What is a Happiness Journal?

A happiness journal is simply a record of the things that make you happy each day.  It doesn’t have to be a physically written journal, it can be an electronic journal, a photo journal or a music journal.  Your learning style will determine what type of happiness journal will suit you the best.

For me, it is a combination of photos and a physically written journal (I created this journal just for this purpose.)  This works for me because I love taking pictures and I love the act of putting a pen to paper and writing something down.  What works for you may be different, maybe you want to use just a photo journal, maybe a music and electronic journal.  The important thing here is that you find what works for you, this will help you get into a rhythm of using it every day.  Here are a few types of journals that you could try.  If more than one sounds interesting to you, don’t be afraid to try and combine a few types.

  • Written journal.  A book of blank pages that you use a pen to write things down.
  • Electronic journal.  Any type of document system that you can write with.  Google docs, notepad, Microsoft Word all work.  This is also the easiest to combine with pictures or music.
  • Photo journal.  Tell your story through pictures with minimal writing.  You might want to add a few captions here and there so when you review your journal you remember why you took a picture of that rock.
  • Music journal.  Use songs or snippets of songs to tell your happiness story.  Again you might want to add a caption to the file so you remember why you saved the chorus to “Girls just wanna have fun”

Why Should I Start a Happiness Journal?

Well to make you happy of course.  Happiness journals are designed to make you think about your happiness throughout the day.   After doing this for a few days, you will start to pay more attention to the happier things of your day, and less attention will be focused on the not so happy things.  The longer you use a happiness journal the better your results will be.  As you go through your days, you will start looking for those happy moments and think “that is going in the journal tonight!”

Creating a happiness journal creates a worldview shift. A happiness journal is not going to stop bad things from happening in our lives, but it will help the way we see and deal with them.  We spend plenty of time worrying about the bad things in life.  A happiness journal adds balance so we spend some time looking at the good things too.

What Should I Put in My Journal?

What you put in the journal each day is up to you, but the idea is to put at least one thing per day in the journal that makes you happy. As you go throughout your day, take note of things that make you happy in one way or another.  Here are a few ideas on how you can put your journal together.

  • Take a picture.  Each day take a picture of something that makes you happy.  In the evening, print it or add it to an electronic journal with a little caption about why it made you happy.
  • Try a bullet journal.  For those of us who are all about the facts, a bullet journal can work great.  Use 3 bullet points per day and write a short sentence or two about what made you happy that day.
  • Take notes.  During the day, when something makes you happy, make a little note somewhere.  At the end of the day, pull all of your notes together and pick the one that made you the happiest.  If you can’t decide, there are really no rules here, use more than one!

Your happiness journal is yours, you decide what goes into it and what doesn’t.  The important part of a happiness journal is that you put something in it every day.  Even on your worst day, you should try to find one act of kindness that someone did for you, one smile or one scene that made your mood lift ever so slightly.

Putting it All Together

A happiness journals can make you happy by shifting your focus from all of the drama and doldrums of everyday life to the smiles and the silliness of everyday life.

  • Grab a journal or start a drop box file.
  • Look for the things each day that make you happy
  • Make a little note or a take a picture
  • Review your day at the end of the day and pick one or two things to put in your journal

It really is that easy.  The best part is going back and looking at each page and remembering all those little things that made you happy.


  1. Samantha

    August 21, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    What a great idea! I will be creating a happiness journal today! Thank you for the inspiration.

    1. Michele

      August 21, 2016 at 4:04 pm

      Your welcome, I hope it works out great for you!

  2. Mary Rettig

    October 17, 2016 at 11:00 am

    Michele, I like your idea for a happiness journal. I am a pen and paper personal. Plan to add it to my journal.

    1. Michele Cook

      October 17, 2016 at 12:55 pm

      I am a pen and paper girl myself, but it’s always good to have options. Hope you enjoy!

  3. Colleen-Estelle

    January 14, 2017 at 1:41 am

    I love the idea of a happiness photojournal!
    I love the you could flip back in days or weeks, or months or years, and see the things (or people, or places) that made you happy.

    I love also, that it wouldn’t neccessarily take much work if you wanted to do a written version. Just a line or two to remind you of what made you happy.
    Thanks for sharing such a great idea!

    1. Michele Cook

      January 14, 2017 at 6:17 pm

      Hi Colleen,
      Glad you liked the idea, photo journals are really fun! Let me know how it works for you 🙂


  4. Jill Conyers

    February 17, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    Michele I love this and after the day I had at work today, it’s exactly what I needed, refreshingly positive.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Michele Cook

      February 17, 2017 at 9:46 pm

      Thank you for commenting, I hope your weekend is awesome 😀

  5. Misty

    February 21, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    I love the idea of combining the ideas, will also add my doodling and like you said there are no rules, I. Which is where I was like “then I can do it” I’m not a rule follower. However, I need this for my soul. I really do have so many things to be happy about but sometimes in this world all the negative stuff can get you down. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Michele Cook

      February 21, 2017 at 6:33 pm

      Thanks Misty,
      I hope you find a way that works for you. Focusing at least a little more on the happier parts of your day should give you a way to do it. Thank you for the compliments.

  6. kendal olsen

    July 28, 2017 at 10:45 am

    i am going to try it what is it going to do make you happy let me know what it is suposto do

    1. Michele Cook

      July 28, 2017 at 7:49 pm

      The idea behind a happiness journal is to get you to focus more on the positive things in life, and less on the negatives. Good luck with it, I hope it makes your days brighter!

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