When I was in eleventh grade, my English teacher showed us a TedTalk on happiness.

{Side note: I would 10,000% recommend checking the Ted talk out. It offers a scientific and honest approach to happiness, and the speaker is charming and funny. If you don’t have the 12 minutes and 28 seconds to watch the video, check out the transcript here.}

I was more than happy to use up a fourth of class time watching a video, especially an interesting piece on how to be happy. The video stuck with me (as evidenced by the fact I’m still talking about it three years later), and I vowed to practice one of the exercises: writing down three things that you’re grateful for each day.

That didn’t last very long. The first day, I entirely forgot. The second day, I had a bad day and was so cross I refused to even try to look for things to be grateful for. The third day, I figured that it had gone so poorly the first two days that this entire project was an utter bust. I gave up and shoved the Ted talk out of my mind.

Fast forward to two weeks ago. My sophomore year of university starts August 23rd, and my goal (as it has been every year for the past six years) is to be more organized. So, I decided to hop onto the Tumblr trend, and start a bullet journal. Given my limited patience for good handwriting and complicated doodles, my journal is pretty ugly. But when I was trying to figure out what to add to my journal, I remembered that TedTalk, and thought, hey, maybe I can try again!

Every day, I write down one good memory, and one thing I’m grateful for, and I’ve noticed that it has subtly changed my perspective on life. Keep in mind, it has only been two weeks, but even in that short frame of time, my mind frame has slightly shifted. Instead of looking at the negatives of that day, I’m reminiscing more towards the good memories and people in my life. It makes me happy to go through my journal and read what I treasured about certain days.

Some days, I record big things, like being grateful for family or friends. But other days, I’ve written down entries like “there are so many good books that I haven’t read yet!” or “dancing in the car”. It’s important to appreciate the little joyful moments in life that tend to go unnoticed because sometimes it’s small stuff that has the biggest impact. Whether it's a kind act by a friend (or stranger!), a song on the radio that resonates with you, or just the way the sky looks when the sun sets, there are so many things to be grateful for in this world.

Writing down something you’re grateful for takes three seconds, and it helps you find the light in even the worst days. The way we choose to view the circumstances in our lives contributes to our development of a positive mindset.

And in a growingly negative society, we need all the happiness we can get.