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Can a gratitude journal improve your outlook on life?

22 Feb 2011 | Healthzone

"If you don't like something, change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it." This quote by children's author Mary Engelbreit summarizes the past few years of Faisal Sethi's life. It's a path that led the creative director to create a website called Happyrambles that encourages users to write down things they're grateful for every day.

In 2009, the 35-year-old Sethi had left his job to care for his seriously ill father. The weight of the responsibility was hard on the Ottawa man, and he found himself investigating the idea of happiness and how to attain it. Repeatedly, he came across references to gratitude journals and how useful they can be in reminding individuals of the good things in life.

Gratitude journals are diaries in which one documents what he or she is most grateful for. The concept became popular after talk show host Oprah Winfrey promoted the idea.

"I started actively doing a gratitude journal but also realized there were some limitations," says Sethi. "Happiness isn't an intellectually passive state. We can engage in activities and tools to increase that happiness." And so, Sethi founded Happyrambles, which poses the question "What are you happy for today?" The responses are stored in users' private online gratitude journal.

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