Keeping a gratitude journal boosts your health. When you focus on what you have, rather than what you don't, you increase your overall well-being. If you don't know how to get started, don't stress. I'm sharing everything you need to know... plus 150 gratitude journal prompts!
What does gratitude mean?
Before we dive into journalling, let's take a hot minute to talk about what gratitude really means. According to the world's leading expert on the subject, Robert Emmons, gratitude has two parts.
- Affirming that there are good things in the world
- Recognizing the sources of this goodness
Having gratitude doesn't mean pretending your life is perfect. Trust me, it's more than natural to feel negative emotions and acknowledge everyday burdens and stresses. But, it does mean that you should try to spend more of your time focusing on the good things in your life than the bad.
Let me give you an example...
- The pandemic meant you started working at home and feeling isolated. Nay.
- You're living a healthier lifestyle now because you have the freedom to hop on your spin bike at lunch and follow it up with a homemade meal. Yay.
See what I mean?
Sure, you should acknowledge the isolation and look for ways to find more connection in your life. But, if you focus on the positives of the situation, you'll have more appreciation, and ultimately, enjoy life more. Who doesn't want that?
Why you should practice gratitude
Okay, so now that you know what gratitude is all about, let's get into the science behind it. And... there's a lot of it.
Let's stick with Robert Emmons work since he's the world experton gratitude. After studying over 1,000 individuals between the ages of 8 and 80, his research team found that those who regularly journalled enjoyed a host of health benefits. Some of these include:
- Having higher levels of positive emotions and joy
- Feeling more helpful, generous, and compassionate
- Feeling less lonely and isolated
- Enjoying a stronger immune system
- Lowering your blood pressure
- Sleeping longer and feeling more refreshed when you awake
- Experiencing more energy
That sounds good, doesn't it?
Why practicing gratitude is hard
It's clear that practicing gratitude has a lot of health benefits. So, why don't we do it? Well, let's face it...
- We often focus on what we don't have more than what we do.
- We're more likely to dwell on our imperfections than our strengths.
- It's easier to notice the negative state of the world than celebrate the beauty of humanity.
- It's easy to compare and despair on social media.
I mean, common, we're inundated with negative media. Not to mention, we're constantly tempted to gossip and complain. It's just the way society works. Don't worry, you're normal.
Gratitude is an easy practice when things are going well, but when stresses are piling up and the world seems to be in shambles, it can be hard to feel grateful.
So, is there hope? Yep. We just have to put in a little extra effort.
To get the health benefits of gratitude, we need to practice it consistently. That means we have to incorporate it into our daily routine. And, guess what? Gratitude journaling (and the use of gratitude journal prompts) is the easiest way to do this.
How to use a gratitude journal
While there are many ways to practice gratitude, one of the easiest ways for a beginner gratituder (yeah, I coined that term!) is to get started with a journal.
Here's the process:
- Buy a journal (my favourites are listed at the end of this article)
- Block a 5 minute window in your daily calendar (my preference is right before bed)
- Record and reflect on things you are grateful for (freestyle or with positivity journal prompts)
If the thought of finding something you're grateful for is stressing you out, stop worrying. You can buy a guided journal that asks you questions to get the gratitude juices flowing (like the one minute gratitude journal). Or, you can buy a bullet journal and use the positive journal prompts I share below to discover all the goodness in your life.
When you should use gratitude prompts
When I started gratitude journalling a year ago, I quickly realized that I kept writing the same thing over and over: "I'm grateful for cuddles with my dog". I mean, check out my tiny goldendoodle on Instagram and you'll see why.
But, the point is... I was stuck. When expressing gratitude, you want to focus on lots of different aspects of your life. The more you appreciate, the more greatly you'll improve your thoughts and your life.
That’s why daily gratitude journal prompts are so helpful. They help you focus on a variety of areas of your life and consider blessings you haven't before.
So, here they are...
150 gratitude journal prompts
Be sure to pin this list of positive journal prompts for quick reference. Or, if you prefer a hard copy, click here: FREE printable gratitude journal prompts.
- Name a person you are thankful for
- What's something you're looking forward to?
- Write down your happiest childhood memory
- What do you love most about the city you live in?
- What do you love most about the age that you are?
- What challenge have you overcome and how did it benefit you?
- What book are you grateful for and what is the most important lesson it taught you?
- What's a personal accomplishment that makes you proud?
- What do you consider to be your biggest professional accomplishment so far?
- What is your favourite song and what happy memories does it evoke?
- What's your favourite simple pleasure?
- What's something you're grateful to have that you didn't have last year?
- Name a friend you can always rely on
- Write down a recent happy memory
- Name a place you've been that you're grateful for
- What do you love about the country you live in?
- What is your favourite memory with your dad?
- What is your favourite memory with your mum?
- What's something about your body you're grateful for?
- What's your favourite moment in your morning routine?
- What's your favourite moment in your nighttime routine?
- Describe your pet (or former pet) and why you love them
- What's something about your health that you're grateful for?
- Name three objects in your home that you love
- List three hobbies that bring you joy
- Look outside your window, what made you smile?
- Name three people outside of your family that you're grateful for and why
- Write down a family tradition that makes you happy
- Name a possession that makes your life easier
- What do you love most about the current season?
- What's your favourite season and why?
- What's something that brings you more gratitude now than when you were younger?
- Name a teacher or mentor who had a positive impact on your life
- Find a photo that you makes you happy and write down why
- What did you learn this year that made your life better?
- Think about what you ate today, where this food came from, and why you're grateful for it
- Describe your favourite location in your house and why you love it
- Name someone who made you smile this week and why
- What have you been given that you're grateful for?
- Name someone who makes you feel safe
- Name something that makes you feel safe
- What have you learned this week that has benefitted you?
- What is something hard you do that makes you stronger?
- What's the biggest lesson you learned growing up?
- Describe your favourite smell and the emotions it evokes
- Describe your favourite sound and the emotions it evokes
- Describe your favourite taste and the emotions it evokes
- Describe your favourite sensation and the emotions it evokes
- Describe your favourite thing to look at and the emotions it evokes
- What do you like about your career?
- What did you do today that made you feel happy?
- What aspect of nature did you appreciate recently?
- List three people who have made your life better and write them a thank you note
- What's your favourite way to pamper yourself?
- How is your life more positive today than it was last year?
- What piece of clothing do you own that sparks joy?
- What skills do you have that you're grateful for?
- What's your favourite thing you've ever made?
- Name a friend who makes you happy and why
- Write down a memory that you will cherish forever
- What do you love most about your life?
- What do your friends and family love about you?
- What is your favourite part of your daily routine?
- What was your favourite vacation and why?
- What is your favourite TV show and why?
- What is your favourite movie and why?
- Describe a time you helped someone you care about. How did it feel?
- Describe a time you helped a stranger. How did it feel?
- What is something amazing that happened to you this week, month or year?
- What is your favourite quote and why?
- What's a guilty pleasure you are grateful for?
- What's your favourite way to enjoy nature?
- What's your favourite thing about being single?
- What's your favourite thing about your spouse?
- Write about someone who makes your life a better place.
- What is your favourite thing about today's weather?
- What's a food you love to indulge in?
- Describe something that made you laugh today
- What's the most beautiful thing you've seen recently?
- Name a creative art that brings you joy (theatre, literature, music)
- Name something beautiful you noticed today that you've never noticed before
- Describe the the last time you had a belly-aching laugh and why
- What lesson have you learned from your job?
- List 5 items you take for granted and why you should be grateful for them
- Who can you count on when you need someone to talk to?
- Describe your perfect day
- What is your favourite country you've visited and why
- What is one positive thing you said to yourself today (or should have)
- What food makes you think of home?
- What is your favourite thing about animals?
- Name five things you love about your kids
- What did your body do today that you're grateful for?
- What was your favourite game to play when you were a kid?
- What's the funniest YouTube video you've watched recently?
- List five qualities you appreciate about yourself
- What do you look forward to doing everyday after work?
- Do you prefer a shower or bath? Why?
- Write about a time you felt brave
- What is one piece of wisdom you've learned that you frequently share
- What is one of your favourite qualities in a friend?
- What goal is most important to you and why
- What memory do you cherish most with your partner?
- What is your favourite memory with your children?
- What do you love most about your sibling?
- What is the funniest joke you were told recently?
- Think about having grandchildren one day and how it would make you feel
- Write down a time where you felt at peace
- What recipe is your favourite to cook and why
- How did your first true love change your life for the better?
- What is your favourite sports team and what's your favourite fan memory
- Are you a morning person or night owl and what do you love about that time of day?
- What makes you feel beautiful?
- What makes you feel confident?
- What is your favourite flower?
- What tradition do you want to start with your own family?
- Name three small things you can look forward to this week
- Describe three small wins that you've accomplished this week
- What activity do you enjoy doing most when you're alone?
- What freedoms do you appreciate most?
- What activity do you enjoy doing most with other people?
- What's the best job you've ever had?
- How have you recently cared about your health and wellbeing?
- As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
- What is your favourite charity and how do you support it?
- Describe a challenging person in your life, then write three things you like about them
- Describe a challenging situation in your life, then write three positive things about it
- What do you love most about your parents?
- What's the best date you've ever been on and why?
- Which birthday was your favourite and why? gratitude
- Where was your last vacation and what was your favourite part of it?
- What is something that comes easily to you?
- What makes you feel happier when you're feeling blue?
- What novels are you most grateful for having read?
- What gift did you most enjoy giving in the last year?
- What gift did you most enjoy receiving in the last year?
- What did someone else do for you this week that you're grateful for?
- What did someone else say to you this week that you're grateful for?
- What's your favourite memory with your pet?
- Name an artist or author's work who inspires you
- Name the best thing about being in a relationship
- What's one piece of technology you couldn't live without?
- Look around you right now, what are you most grateful for?
- What's your favourite kind of exercise and why?
- Name one reason you know you're not alone in life
- What's your favourite thing about each day of the week?
- Name something you were procrastinating that you got done and how it made you feel
- What's a modern invention you can't live without?
- What's your favourite holiday memory?
- What's your favourite holiday and why
- Describe a difficult personal experience that you learned from
My favourite gratitude journals
What kind of gratitude journal you buy depends on how you want to journal.
- If you want a guided journal where you simply fill in the blanks, go with the one minute gratitude journal.
- If you want a blank notebook where can pick and choose from the daily gratitude prompts above, go with the bullet journal.
Variations on gratitude journaling
I love journaling. Writing down our thoughts, emotions and experiences helps us process, reframe negative thoughts, and change our behaviour.
With that in mind, I say, why stop at gratitude prompts? If you want to go further in improving your well-being, I suggest adding one of the ideas below to your journaling routine too.
- Self-love journaling (75 self love prompts can be found here)
- Manifestation journaling (55 manifestation prompts can be found here)
- Shadow work journaling (80 shadow work prompts can be found here)
- Nighttime journalling (25 evening journal prompts can be found here)
If you want to learn more about improving your well-being, check out some of my other articles below. Happy, healthy reading!
Building gratitude into your life is hard work, but it's worth it. Don't forget to download the daily gratitude journal questions if you're feeling stuck. Be sure to let me know if there are any other prompts I should add in the comments below.