We are often told to count our blessings—a piece of advice that is easier said than done in real life. Expressing gratitude is such a challenge as it is easier to dwell on the negatives. What we watch on TV, what we hear from our peers, what we read in the newspapers, as well as what we see while scrolling through our social media pages are all filled with information that would instantly put any reader down. As we continuously consume these negatives, unintentionally, we become one too.
With everything that is happening today, it is a struggle to keep our hopes up and stay in a good mood. Meditating, eating healthy meals, and exercising are some of the tried and tested ways to maintain a more positive attitude. If these ways still don’t do the trick, why not keep a gratitude journal?
What is a gratitude journal?
There are many kinds of journals. Many keep a journal for work schedules, for the different personal activities, for the food consumed in a day, and even the money spent. A gratitude journal is where you can list all the things that make you feel light, happy, and thankful. It is more than just writing down your experiences as it brings positive effects to one’s mental, physical, and emotional health.
There is no one perfect way of keeping a gratitude journal. You can keep it private in a notebook only you have access to or public online for others to read and relate to. You won’t need a lot to start; you just need a notebook and a pen; if you are not into pen and paper, you can always go online like this gratitude journal, and type away. It’s quite convenient as you can gain access to it anytime, anywhere.
- Woke up before your alarm? Write it down.
- You had time to eat breakfast today? Jot it down.
- Coffee was free at work today? Note it down.
- Lunch was good today? Type it.
These may be trivial things to some but if these simple happenings made you happy, they are well worth remembering. You can start with your every day small wins as your daily gratitude journal prompts.
Your past experiences can also be your positive journal prompts; you can walk down memory lane and keep a note of the things that made you feel happy; now looking back, you feel thankful for having those experiences.
Why keep a gratitude journal?
Studies suggest that writing about the happy, fun, and positive things that happened to you brings about a dozen benefits. For one, listing down things that made you happy throughout the day boosts one’s mood.
A study published in 2009 found that being grateful not only improves one’s happiness, but it also lowers stress levels, improves sleep, and builds better relationships.
This activity only lasts for a couple of minutes to accomplish, and will surely do wonders. However, being consistent is what others find the most challenging part. To help you progress better, here are 25 gratitude prompts you can try:
- Write about your favorite person.
- Write 5 good things that happened to you last month.
- Write 10 things that made you smile today.
- Write 5 things you cannot live without.
- What do you like about your job?
- What activity did you enjoy doing most today?
- Write three highlights of your week.
- What things did you not have in the past, but have acquired them now?
- What three new things did you learn today? Learning something new is always something to be grateful about.
- What food are you most thankful for?
- Write about your best vacation experience.
- Write about your top 5 favorite songs and why you like them.
- What movie made you smile from ear-to-ear? Write more about your favorite scene.
- Write about a TV show or any video that made you laugh out loud.
- Write 7 of the funniest jokes you have heard.
- Share a story of the biggest hurdle you’ve overcome.
- Write about your fondest childhood memory.
- Rewatch your favorite movie as a child, and write 5 new things you discovered.
- Reread your favorite book and write some quotes or lines that made you smile.
- Highlight 7 song lyrics that never fail to put a smile on your face.
- Write about an artist you are most thankful for.
- Think about your best birthday celebration, and write about it.
- Write about 7 best things about the city or neighborhood you live in.
- Write about the 7 life lessons you’ve learned from your family, friends, teachers, colleagues, or even strangers.
- Write a letter to yourself about the changes you have noticed after overcoming different life struggles.
Gratitude Journal Ideas
Writing things down does not work for everybody. For others who are not into writing, you can try these gratitude journal ideas:
If you are into the visuals more, try taking photos of the things enjoyed during the day. You can print out the photos, put them together in a collage online, and add captions to them.
If you are into moving visuals more, take short clips of your day’s highlights. Then, join the clips together using different video editing software or apps to have a short video of the things you are grateful for.
Start a mood board. This mood board can be completed every start or end of the month. You can cut out photos or articles from newspapers or magazines that you enjoyed reading and put them all together on a board, which you often see. This can give you a glimpse of how your month was, or how you want your next month to be. It can serve as your inspiration for work, studies, or life in general.
Keeping a gratitude journal should be a fun activity. Avoid putting too much pressure on yourself in trying to make it as perfect as possible. There is no right or wrong way of keeping a gratitude journal. The purpose of this activity is to celebrate our wins in life, no matter how small or big they are, and savor the emotions that go with them. Lastly, enjoy it. There’s nothing better than still being able to be happy and thankful despite our everyday struggles.