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A gratitude journal is one of the best ways to keep yourself in a thankful and more positive mindset.
Imagine how it would feel to start or end your day in a more positive mood? This is just one of the benefits of a gratitude journal!
What is a gratitude journal?
Gratitude journals are like diaries. But instead of recording what went about your day and your thoughts on what transpired, you write about the things that you are grateful for – big or small.
A gratitude journal helps you maintain a habit of reflecting on and recording things that you are grateful for. This habit helps rewire your brain to focus more on the positive aspects of your life that you may often be taking for granted.
Now because you have a more positive outlook and mindset, you get to build resilience against situations that are negative or toxic. Studies have shown that gratitude journaling actually helps lower stress levels, provides a greater sense of calm, and gives a whole new level of clarity.
That sounds like a great idea, right?
Hence, it is no wonder that gratitude journals are very popular these days. With the current state the world is in, we all need to look for the brighter side of life to keep going.
Don’t know how or where to start?
No worries! This post is packed with tips and ideas that will help you start building on this awesome habit!
How to start a gratitude journal
A gratitude journal is very personal so you will notice that it is done differently by different people.
Some list down three to five things to be grateful for at the end of the day. Others write about an event that they are grateful for that happened that day. And some go for a quote about gratitude and reflect on it.
Choose a journal.
First things first – pick a good journal. The notebook itself should inspire you to write.
You can select from lined, blank, grid, dotted, or those journals with pages that come in list form. Choose one that’s appropriate on how you want to start.
For example, if you plan to doodle or draw something in your entries, you may go for blank pages. If you want to be able to freely write your thoughts in a nice format, you may opt for a simple lined notebook. Or if you want to start with making a list, you may go with a bullet journal or a notebook with pages already in a list form.
Do what you prefer. Any journal will do as long as it’s appropriate with how you want to start.
Also consider whether you plan to just keep your gratitude journal at home or you will be carrying it around so you can jot down right away as needed. Go for hardbound and thick journals if it stays put at home. But if you want to carry one around, consider one with a smaller size and weight.
Set aside time for it.
One of the reasons many find it difficult to keep a gratitude journal is because it feels like another thing added to their never-ending to-do list.
But the easiest way to maintain one is to make it a habit. Once it gets into your routine, writing your gratitude journal entries will become second nature to you.
Hence, it helps to think of it as something you want to do instead of treating it as a chore. You do not have to write in it every day. If you can only squeeze time for it on the weekends, that is completely okay.
What’s important is that you write regularly.
Use gratitude journal prompts.
Being new to gratitude journaling, it may be intimidating to start your first entry when you are staring at a blank page.
Your entries don’t always have to be on a day-to-day or weekly basis. In fact, it does not always have to be about the present. You can always look back at the past and record those memorable moments you are thankful for.
To better connect with your entries, be as specific as you can, and do not be afraid to name the people you are referring to.
To make it even easier, you may use gratitude journal prompts. Here is a list for a great start!
Gratitude journal prompts
- Write about a time a loved one did something unexpectedly nice for you.
- What was the most touching thing each of your kids did or say to you?
- Write about three people you love and why you love them.
- Describe a family tradition you love.
- Write about why you like your current hobby.
- If you will have to give up all your possessions except for three things, what would you be keeping and why?
- Pick a random photo from the phone and write down why you chose to capture that memory.
- What are you looking forward to?
- Write about something that you already have now that you did not have before.
- When was the last time you laughed until you cried?
- Write about a mentor or someone who made a huge impact on your life. What did you learn from them?
- Write about a co-worker you are grateful for.
- When was the first time you met your husband? What are you most thankful about him?
- Write about the positive qualities that you believe you picked up from your Mom and Dad.
- Write why you love your job and what made you choose this career in the first place.
- Describe a recent accomplishment.
- When was the last time you helped a stranger?
- Reflect on a mistake you made in the past and the lesson you learned.
- Write a thank you note to your past self.
- Write a thank you note to the people in your lives.
Find what works for you.
The best thing about gratitude journaling is that it is a personal experience – there are no rules. Unless you choose it to share with someone, the journal is really for your eyes only so you can actually do anything with it.
Some even turn their gratitude journals into a scrapbook and accompany their entries with photos!
Best gratitude journals for beginners
To make it even better, there are journals that already have prompts in them. All you have to do is fill out the entry for the day.
These journals can come with different entry types and will give you an idea of what type of entries you like. After going through one, you can easily start your own on a blank journal!
You can find all this at Amazon.
This is a gratitude journal that provides 52 weeks’ worth of entries to help you cultivate an attitude of gratitude. It’s most likely listing three good things you are grateful for each day.
This is a gratitude journal with daily entries that prompts you to write down the things you are grateful for, the goals you have accomplished, your self-care goals, and the affirmations you are declaring for the day.
This is not your usual gratitude journal. It also helps you manage your stress by making you reflect on different things first thing in the morning. You will also reflect on how your day went before you go to sleep.
This is great when you are going through stress, or anxiety, or you need a moment to pause and unwind.
This is a Christian gratitude journal that also doubles as a prayer journal.
The entries are about the things you are grateful for and your prayer for the night. The journal also comes with inspiring Bible verses to reflect on!
It helps to teach the attitude of gratitude at a young age. So, if you have kids, why not buy them this journal too?
You can even use it as a bonding time where you all work on your own gratitude journals together and share what you have written after.
Make it a habit to be grateful!
In this fast-paced world, it is easy to overlook the good things or take the people in our lives for granted. Being grateful consciously allows us to pay attention to the good in our lives, making us happier and healthier.
Making it a habit to reflect on what you are grateful for can actually help you be more content and happier. Not only does it come with a lot of positive benefits, but it also helps you realize blessings in disguise right away.
Starting a gratitude journal is a personal decision and you should create your own gratitude journal in the best way that suits you.
Don’t worry if you still do not know what you want. As you grow your habit, you will be able to figure out what type of entries works for you, and which one doesn’t.