How a Wigan mum's 'gratitude journal' turned her life around

A Wigan mum who almost died during childbirth has launched her own book in which she motivates herself and others by counting her blessings.

Gemma Heaton
Gemma Heaton

Through what has come to be known as “gratitude journaling”, Gemma Heaton has turned her life around from one of severe anxiety caused by series of terrifying events.

The Hindley mum-of-two said she entered “a dark place” after the birth of her son, Ari, six, during which she almost lost her life after hemorrhaging during a C-section and suffering a heart attack. At the same time her own mum was diagnosed with cancer for the second time.

Gemma, who is married to Adam, said: “I had no aspirations anymore. I thought ‘life is hard, this is what it’s meant to be like’. I would think ‘what’s the point?’ Your mind runs away with you and it just spirals out of control and you get that gut-wrenching feeling. Lots of different things had happened, I had sort of lost it a little bit.”

After months of feeling down with no solution in sight, the 34-year-old decided to “take control” of her life.


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Refusing antidepressants, she decided to start journaling positive things which happened in her life, from waking up in a warm bed to being thankful for Ari and nine-year-old daughter Summer.

Once Gemma was on a roll, she launched the “Reset the happiness” project, which focuses on positive affirmations and thankfulness and is also the name of her debut publication.

Gemma said: “You have the decision to have a good day. It’s all about changing your mindset. The differences you see straight away are amazing.

“People are starting to believe it and it’s happening for them too. I met a woman who hasn’t worked for 20 years, she had depression and now she has gone out and got a job.


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“My family has a history of depression and I didn’t want to go down that route of loads of medication. I thought, ‘I’m going to feel better’.”

Since launching the “Reset the happiness project” Facebook page, Gemma has been inundated with thanks for her work. The book guides people to follow their own journaling path, while providing tips and insight. She is also now creating a children’s version called Smile and together with Strawberry

Rose Farm, a healthy living company, is looking to roll-out education to local primary schools.

Gemma will also be launching “Reset the happiness on tour”, where she will travel to give talks with people suffering from similar mental health problems. For more on the book visit resetthp