re you wondering about how to go about starting a journal? A gratitude journal may be the perfect transition into journaling for you. Whether you have never journaled before or you are an avid journaler who has never delved into the gratitude journaling world, this article is for you. In this article, we will cover the following:

  • What is a gratitude journal?
  • How a gratitude journal can help you
  • Prompts that are perfect for getting you well on your way to keeping a gratitude journal
Person writing in a journal
Journaling can be a therapeutic way to either start your day or to take a break from the hectic work day. Writing specifically in a gratitude journal is a good way to focus on one topic that is important to you, and hone your writing skills.

What is a gratitude journal?

Read on to learn more about what exactly a gratitude journal is and how it is set apart from other types of journaling

A gratitude journal is a journal you keep to remember what you are thankful for. This can be a wide range of things, including but not limited to specific items you are grateful for, good things that have happened to you throughout your day or week, or how you express gratitude to those around you. A gratitude journal does not mean you are just writing down simple items that you might share with family at a Thanksgiving meal. Rather, it can be an outlet for you to look deeper into yourself and express that which makes your day, week, month, and year all the more enjoyable. 

You will be able to remember that which you might otherwise forget, but if you are writing down these thoughtful moments, you will hone in on what makes you happy, leading to an overall happier and healthier life. So let’s get started!

Lady smiling with her hands in a prayer position
Thinking about what makes you a happier person will lead you to have a healthier life. Sitting down for 15 minutes a day can be just the trick to help you write in your gratitude journal and turn those things you are grateful for into tangible memories

How a gratitude journal can help you

Keeping a gratitude journal can help you in more ways than one

To start, keeping a gratitude journal can help you prioritize what is important in your life. In this way, you will be able to see what is most important and how you can continue to lead your life in the way you want to be leading it. Rather than doing things in your life just because you think they are important, or even doing things just for the heck of it and not really thinking about why you are doing these things, writing down what makes you grateful and what makes you tick can help you continue to achieve these goals. You will soon be able to pick out what is most important to you and continue down this path of goodness and prosperity.

Next, a gratitude journal can help you keep a positive outlook on your life. At times, and we’ve all been there, we feel like nothing is going our way and nothing or no one can cheer us up. Rather, with the help of your handy gratitude journal, you can remember the positive times in your life. Looking back on that which you are grateful for, as well as recalling times you have had good things happen to you can revert your negative outlook back to a perspective that is more aligned with your life in a good way.

Lastly, it can help you be a more optimistic person overall. With all of the negative news that you are bound to consume throughout your day, it can be easy to continue to feel bad about the state of the world and even about your life. Instead of going down this rabbit hole, you will be able to focus on the positive aspects of your life. This will lead to more positive things happening to you, as the positive attracts more positive! In addition to this, there is a laundry list of benefits that will proliferate in your life if you are feeling more optimistic-- less stress, better sleep, a healthier immune system, and more energy and focus! The health benefits are just to name a few.

Open journal with a smartphone on top, and the corner of a laptop
While good old pen and paper can often be the most meditative way to write in a gratitude journal, do whatever works best for you! Typing on your laptop or even writing notes down in your phone can be easier and just as effective.

Prompts that are perfect for getting you well on your way to keeping a gratitude journal

Some of these prompts come with further ideas, while others are open ended and can have you thinking up what else works with them on your own!

First, you can take a look at yourself. Look inward to think of what you are most grateful for. This can include what you like most about yourself, including physical traits, mental traits, what you are good at, etc. This can also include specific skills that may benefit other people, or even just get you thinking about yourself. Doing this every so often can not only be a good practice of noticing what you like about yourself, but can also provide you with positive traits and perfect prompts for your gratitude journal.
Second, ask yourself “what if I didn’t have that in my life?” This can get you thinking in different terms than you are used to thinking, which can in turn have you realizing what is most important to you and what you are most grateful for. Instead of thinking about what you are most grateful for and going from there, flip the script and have yourself thinking backwards, in turn getting you to realize what you are truly glad to have in your life.

Third, zero in on a pleasant surprise. Being able to notice the unexpected is a good start to a gratitude journal entry. When you focus on something that you didn’t think was originally a good experience, or something happened to you out of the ordinary, you can realize just how interesting or unusual the experience was and expand upon the event. Then, you will be able to notice what you can truly be grateful for out of the experience. It’s also a great way to jot down memories and remember them for later. You can revisit your gratitude journal entries about the surprises you have experienced to experience them in a new and profound way, or bounce more ideas off of the past experiences.

Fourth, focus on good deeds, even if they aren’t your own. This can not only spur you to do good deeds of your own, but it can help you appreciate the little things that you see being done around your world. This can range from someone sharing their seat on the bus with a stranger, or clearing the snow off of a neighbors sidewalk. Notice the actions of others around you, and you will be able write down these acts of gratitude to inspire yourself.

Fifth, remember that challenges can be things to be thankful for too. This can include remembering challenging times in your life and flipping the narrative to look at the positives that have come out of it. Additionally, you can recall how your life might not be the same if you haven’t had these experiences. Remember that all of your experiences make you the person that you are, and writing these times down in your gratitude journal can only benefit you in the future.

Some more open ended, shorter prompts that can have you thinking outside the box:

  • List five small ways that you can share your gratitude today.
  • Write about a person in your life that you’re especially grateful for and why.
  • How is where you are in life today different than a year ago–and what positive changes are you thankful for?
  • What activities and hobbies would you miss if you were unable to do them?
  • List five body parts that you’re grateful for and why.
  • What about the city you live in are you grateful for?
  • What are you taking for granted about your day to day that you can be thankful for?
  • List 5 people in your life who are hard to get along with—and write down at least one quality for each that you are grateful for.
  • What materialistic items are you most grateful for?
  • Write about the music you’re thankful to be able to listen to and why.
  • Who has done something this week to help you or make your life easier and how can you thank them?
  • What foods or meals are you most thankful for?
  • What elements of nature are you grateful for and why?
  • What part of your morning routine are you most thankful for?
  • Write a letter to someone who has positively impacted your life, however big or small.
  • What is something you’re grateful to have learned this week?
  • When was the last time you laughed uncontrollably—relive the memory.
  • What aspects of your work environment are you thankful for?

A gratitude journal is the perfect way to begin your journaling experience or broaden your horizons in the journaling world. With this expanded knowledge on what a gratitude journal is and how it can benefit you, you will be well on your way to a better you!

Jun 10, 2020