Communicating about Cancer: Managing Emotions (3 of 3)

Sophia Strickfaden - Friday, 22 September 2017 10:30

Expressing the emotion of gratitude can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. It can enrich relationships and even help to reduce stress and anxiety related to a cancer journey.

Keeping a Gratitude Diary

Studies have shown that being grateful and expressing gratitude can help people feel happier and more content.


Gratitude can be expressed in many public and private ways. One of the private ways to express gratitude is by keeping a gratitude diary or journal.


  1. Designate a notebook as your Gratitude Diary.
  2. Once or twice a week (or even every day if you like), write down 3 to 5 things you are grateful for that day. This can be vague, specific, expressive, or creative. It can include photographs, drawings, poems, notes you have received from friends, and so on.
  3. On occasion (or even frequently), read past entries in the diary to lift your spirits and sustain your hopefulness.
  4. Reflect on how gratitude makes you feel or changes your daily mindset.
  5. Experiment with your Gratitude Diary to see what works best for you.

HINT: This activity doesn’t have to be solitary. It can be done in a group or with a partner. The list can serve as a reference to happy things that you can use to help each other in discouraging times.


The Communicating about Cancer Series was written as part of a research grant awarded to Klein Buendel by the National Cancer Institute (CA144235).

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