You’ve probably read (or heard) about the good things that come from journaling, but do you know the science behind gratitude journaling, in particular?
Keeping a daily gratitude journal can transform not only your mindset but the direction and impact of your life.
In just a few minutes a day, you can take your morning perspective from blah to breathtaking.
That’s the power of writing down your gratitude list as a daily journal entry.
You need that positivity in your life, and it’s yours for the taking.
What is a Gratitude Journal?
Whether you journal for one minute or ten, your main objective for the gratitude diary is to write about the things you’re grateful for and to practice being more mindful of the good things in your life.
- Gratitude examples could include little things — like the way the wind rustles through the leaves in the trees or the way your dog looks at you when you give him a scratch behind the ears.
- It might be big things like the safe delivery of a new family member or that new job you've been hoping for.
The important thing is to write it down — not with half your attention as though it were a burdensome obligation but mindfully as a gift to yourself and everyone around you.
Many gratitude journals help with this by providing inspirational quotes, illustrations, gratitude journal questions, and journaling prompts to trigger memories and get the words flowing from your mind to the page.
Gratitude Journal Benefits
Take the benefits of daily journaling, add the blessings of gratitude, and ask yourself how your life could improve with the following:
- Improved mood and mental clarity
- More energy and enhanced productivity
- Less anxiety, better sleep, and improved overall health
- An increased sense of connection and solidarity with others
- Heightened awareness and enjoyment of the present moment
- A greater capacity to enjoy and recall sensory details
- A calmer, more balanced, and more reflective mind
When you mindfully express your gratitude in writing – specifically by writing on a physical page — you stimulate your reticular activating system (RAS), focusing your conscious attention on your gratitude — rather than on negative thoughts or worries.
Not to be forgotten, here, is the effect gratitude journaling can have on your own self-esteem.
Too often, we wait for someone else to validate us and tell us we’re making progress or doing important work.
In your gratitude journal, .
123 Gratitude Journal Prompts
If you’re wondering what to write about, try any of the following daily gratitude journal prompts.
At some point, you may find it easier to create a list of your favorites and keep it handy.
1. Who was the last person to whom you said, “Thank you” with genuine gratitude?
2. What was the last thing you tasted that made you slow down and savor it?
3. What was the last book you read that made you grateful to whomever (or whatever) motivated you to read it?
4. When was the last time you saw or heard something in nature that made you feel calmer and more grateful?
5. What technology can you think of that has allowed you to do something you couldn’t have done twenty years ago?
6. What was the last conversation you had that made you more grateful for your conversation partner and for the power of a good relationship?
7. What helps you get up in the morning, get your head right, and get things done?
8. Where do you get the food that sustains you and others in your household?
9. What do you love about mornings or getting up early?
10. What do you love about nighttime or staying up late?
11. When was the last time you had a truly memorable meal with good company?
12. What do you love about your married or single state — and about your closest relationship?
13. What do you love most about journaling or about writing in general?
14. What abilities or skills do you have that you’re grateful for?
15. What progress have you made this year (or last) toward your goals?
16. Write about someone you know whom you find hard to be around — and focus on something you’re grateful for about this person.
17. When was the last time you took the time to enjoy beautiful music or art?
18. What have you learned recently that has made you grateful?
19. Write a thank you letter to someone.
20. What are you most grateful for in the summer where you live and why?
21. What are you most grateful for in the winter where you live and why?
22. What are you most grateful for about the culture in which you grew up and why?
23. What are you most grateful for about your neighbors — or at least the ones you’ve met?
24. Whom are you grateful to have met online lately and what have they brought to your life?
25. What are you learning about right now, and why are you grateful for it?
26. Are you grateful for your alone time? And if so, what do you love most about it?
27. Do you have a pet? If so, what about them makes you grateful? If not, have you ever had a pet?
28. What TV series are you most grateful for and why? How has it changed your thinking?
29. What social media channel/s are you most grateful for, and why? How many real friends have you made?
30. What clothing styles perk you up when you see them? Which have you made your own?
31. What fictional characters are you most grateful for, and why? What do you love about them?
32. What’s your favorite kind of take-out or delivery, and why? Whom do you most enjoy sharing it with?
33. If you’ve ever gone to Pride parade, what were you most grateful for?
34. What are you most grateful for about your phone? What functions are the most important to you?
35. What are you most grateful for about the book you’re reading right now? What are you learning from it?
36. What are you most grateful for about hot or cold showers? Which do you take most often?
37. What are you most grateful for about the weather you’re having today? How do you dress for it?
38. What are you most grateful for about the plans you have for today? What plans excite you the most?
39. What are you most grateful for about your home? What makes you smile when you see it?
40. What are three personality traits you’re grateful for, and why?
41. What’s one good thing that happened to you today that you’re grateful for?
42. What’s one type of “junk food” you’re grateful for? What do you associate it with?
43. What’s one type of health food you’re grateful for? When did you learn to appreciate it?
44. What’s something nice someone else did for you today or this week? Have you done the same?
45. List three positive traits of someone you usually find irritating.. When do you see these traits?
46. List five qualities you admire in others (one or more specific people), and write about why you admire them.
47. List three things that always make you smile, and write about why they do.
48. What have you done today that you’re grateful for, and why are you grateful for it?
49. What are your biggest accomplishments, and what difference have they made in your life?
50. Write about five things you own that makes your life easier and why that matters to you.
51. What three things have happened to you that have shaped your character?
52. Write about things that have made you laugh out loud this week and how that made a difference.
53. Write about a time when someone went out of their way to help you, and why it mattered.
54. Write about the characteristics that attract you to your favorite characters.
55. Describe a food or a meal you most enjoy making or eating? Why do you enjoy it so much?
56. Write about a time you went out of your way to help someone. What good came of it?
57. Write about physical characteristics that you’re grateful for and what you like about it?
58. Write about what you most appreciate about your five senses. What do your senses tell you about this moment?
59. Write about when your intuition has helped you make the right decision or avoid a bad situation.
60. Write about why sometimes uncertainty can be a good thing. What does it free you from?
61. Write about one of your favorite colors and what pleasant memories or images do you associate with it?
62. Write about a favorite type of music and what it does for you. How does it make you feel?
63. Write about a painful rejection that actually led you to learn something. Why does pain sometimes lead to growth?
64. Write about a less-than-ideal job opportunity that led to something good. What happened?
65. Write about someone who makes you feel invincible or more courageous than usual.
66. Write about someone whose contrary views have changed the way you think and broadened your perspective.
67. Write about someone in your life who has helped you become better than you were.
68. Write about something you tried because “Why not?” and that caused you to learn something valuable.
69. Write about a game you enjoy, whether you play it alone or with someone else. What do you love most about it?
70. Write about a trait you’re grateful for that you inherited from one of your parents.
71. Write about someone who has helped you work through something. How did they help you face your challenges and move forward?
72. Write about a failure that led to your learning something important about yourself, even if it took you a while to learn it.
73. Have you published anything? What is it and what about it makes you grateful? What inspired you to write it?
74. Write about something you did that made you feel more confident in your abilities.
75. Has anyone’s devaluation of your gifts motivated you to explore new opportunities (even scary ones)?
76. Can you be grateful without losing your motivation to make things better? Is it possible to be too focused on gratitude?
77. What is something you’re grateful for that maybe few others are? What do you see in it that others overlook?
78. List three admirable traits in someone you know whose background is very different from yours.
79. What do you do when you need a good laugh? What kind of humor do you usually appreciate most?
80. What are you most grateful for when it comes to cats or dogs? Which are you most drawn to, and why?
81. What are you most grateful for about the landscape features in your area? Which are most important to you?
82. What do you love most about clean drinking water? What do you most enjoy making with it?
83. Are you a thrill-seeker? If yes, what do you do for thrills, and why do you love it?
84. What do you love about your present? How is it different from your past? How is it better?
85. What good discoveries have you made?
86. For what insight into yourself are you most grateful? How has learning this changed your life for the better?
87. Describe a happy memory from your past, as far back as you can remember. What made it happy?
88. Write about your morning routine and what you love most about it. Why is it important to you?
89. Write about your nighttime routine and what you love most about it. How does it help you get the rest you need?
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90. If someone were to throw you a feast with all your favorite foods, what foods would you see on the table?
91. Describe your staple clothing items and why you love them. How old were you when you chose this ensemble?
92. Describe your favorite carnival/amusement park ride and why you love it. Do you ride alone or with someone?
93. Write about something you did in spite of fear and what you learned from it. Did someone help you overcome your fear?
94. Write about someone whose words helped you take a big step forward. What were those words?
95. Write about someone who taught you to value your gifts and potential. How did they do this?
96. If you’ve moved away from home, write about why and what you’ve learned. How did your life change for the better?
97. Write about a time in your life when you broke free of a toxic influence and changed your own life.
98. Write about someone who never gave up on you, even when you were clueless.
99. Write about something someone said to you that you needed to hear, even if it wasn’t delivered with kindness.
100. Write about a favorite boss or coworker and why you’re glad you met them. What have they taught you?
101. Write about a dark time in your life and someone who brought light into it.
102. Write about someone who makes you feel beautiful, intelligent, and fun to be with.
103. Write about someone whose mere presence makes any moment better. Why does it?
104. Write about something you do to motivate yourself throughout the day. Do you do this every day or only sometimes?
105. Write about the last story you read that pulled you right into it and wouldn’t let go.
106. Write about what you do when you’re searching for answers. Has it helped?
107. Write about your favorite time of day and what you love about it. What do you do at this time of day?
108. Write about somewhere far from home you visited and what you liked about it. What would you do if you went back?
109. Describe the best things about your favorite place to be alone. How did it become your favorite place?
110. Write about something you collect and why you collect it. Are you glad you’ve collected as many as you have?
111. Write about something you wear that reminds you of someone you love. Why does it remind you of them?
112. What about your life would you never want to change? Why is it so important?
113. What about your life have you changed for the better? How did you change it?
114. Write about something that helps you fall asleep. How and when did you learn about it?
115. Write about how you met your best friend and what you did together the first time you hung out.
116. Write about something you do that helps you destress after dealing with people.
117. Write about someone who helps you stay on top of your goals. How do they keep you accountable?
118. Write about a new goal you have that’s given you fresh energy for the present.
119. Write about goals you’ve accomplished that have made your life better. How have they improved it?
120. Write about goals you’ve had to abandon for better ones. How did you know to let them go?
121. Write about something you used to dread but are now thankful for. What changed your mind?
122. Write about a time when you stood up for yourself or for someone else. Why did you and how did it change things?
123. Write about a time when you found out who your real friends were. How were they there for you?
How will you use these gratitude journal ideas?
Now that you have 123 days worth of gratitude journaling ideas, how will you use them? Here are some ideas:
- If you prefer to write by hand, or you’d like to add the brain-friendly benefits of handwriting to your daily gratitude habit, there are many great journal options available.
- If you’re a bullet journal fan, you can add your grateful thoughts to your daily pages and reinforce them by also logging weekly and monthly gratitude highlights.
- You could also create a daily “Mindful Morning” page on a Google doc, with one of the prompts as a heading. Include your intentions for the day, a daily list or two (top five things to focus on, the top three things on your mind, etc.), and even a mind movie or notes from something you’ll read or watch today.
- If it’s more convenient for you to open an app on your phone or tablet and tap out your daily thank you’s. There are plenty of gratitude writing apps available.
A focus on gratitude in the morning sets a more positive tone and direction for the whole day. It prepares your mind to expect (and notice) more good things – which you can then write about in the next day’s gratitude journal entry.
May your gratitude infuse everything else you do today.