How To Write A Gratitude Journal

by Sara Kalet-Schwartz April 29, 2020

picture of coffee cup and journal

Feeling unmotivated, lonely, possibly a little hopeless? A gratitude journal could be a way to improve your mindset. A gratitude journal is a version of a diary where you write the things you are grateful for. This allows you to focus your attention and energy on the positive aspects of your life. It gives you the opportunity to discover the little parts of life worth enjoying and to reflect on the larger ones. It encourages you to stay optimistic, which has shown to increase one's mental and physical health. Currently, there is a lot of tragedy in our world and you may believe there is nothing to be grateful for, but we assure you on a day like today, with the sun shining and trees blossoming, there are still things to be grateful for. Here is how to begin a gratitude journal that you will want to keep:

Pick A Journal  

Choosing a journal is arguably the most important part for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it symbolizes you taking your first step to change your mindset. Second, you want to choose a journal you love and will return to, for every person that means something different. It could be the design of the cover, the layout of the pages, a digital journal or perhaps even the size. This is a personal choice, and we would recommend being honest with yourself about how you tend to organize your thoughts, because there is no right or wrong decision.

Focus On The Benefits Of A Gratitude Journal 

There is value in understanding why you are doing something rather than jumping right into it. Focusing on the pleasure you recieve from a gratitude journal will make it more enjoyable. Those benefits include, lower stress levels, becoming more relaxed and new levels of clarity. Over time you will learn more about yourself and recognize the beauties of the world. This will lead you to take part in activities that truly make you happy. 

Set Aside Writing Time 

It is important, especially in the beginning, to allocate some time to write in your journal, because it could feel like another task in the day. However over time that feeling will fade. The time set aside will vary per person, from 1 hour a day to a week, the imperative element is consistency. An easy way to be consistent is by attaching your journaling with a pre existing task, such as making breakfast or brushing your teeth. It is also significant to shift your mindset and think of this as something you want to do or it will seem like a chore. 

Starting With Prompts 

A struggle people are likely to encounter is not knowing what to write or where to start. Here are a few prompts that will help get you started, and when you are ready you can come up with some of your own. 

  • Write three things that make you smile. 
  • List people that have done something memorable for you. 
  • Name your top three favorite meals. 
  • What are you most excited for today (if writing in the morning)?
  • What was the most exciting part of your day (if writing in the evening)?
  • Which body part are you most grateful for and explain?
  • Go into detail about four things you encountered that positively changed your life.
  • If you look out your window, what are you most grateful for outside? 
  • Randomly select a photo and write about why you are grateful for that memory.

Thinking Of Fresh Topics

It can be just as hard to continue with a gratitude journal as it was to start. It may seem that you wrote everything, or you became less creative with new entries. Regardless of the reasoning there are many ways to catch one's interest again. Thinking about nouns (person, place, things and ideas) will help improve your creativity. For example:  

People to write about: 

  • Someone you lost touch with
  • A neighbor
  • Someone you may have experienced pain with but taught you good lessons 

Places to write about:

  • The city you live in
  • A place you want to travel to
  • The schools you went to

Things to write about:

  • Your body
  • Items in your house 
  • Activities of hobbies you enjoy

Ideas to write about:

  • Family traditions 
  • Dreams 
  • Your health

Find What Works For You

Lastly, Every person's journey will be different, so create a journal that satisfies you. If you are an artist, instead of writing you may want to draw what you are grateful for. If you choose to spend an entire journal session focusing on one prompt then go for it. If your idea of a journal is a notepad, we support you. As you become more comfortable sharing your gratitude journal with friends and family can be very satisfying for everyone. It allows you to go back to the beginning and view the growth you have made. If you are having a particularly hard day it does not hurt to look back at past entries and remind yourself the joys of life. You will get as much out of a gratitude journal as you put into it, so make it worth coming back to.

Sara Kalet-Schwartz
Sara Kalet-Schwartz


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