🙏🏾 Learn how to make your journaling practice work for you and stay consistent in the process.
Can you train yourself to be more grateful? Even when everything feels like it’s going down the toilet?
Well, I’m not saying this is a magic button for EVERYONE, but gratitude journal prompts can help to brighten up your day.
- 8 Gratitude list ideas for more moments of happiness
- How to start a gratitude journal you’ll want to keep writing in
- 10 things I learned from a sporadic gratitude practice
Why it Pays to Be Grateful
If you want to feel joy on the inside, adopt the habit of gratitude.
It’s not just a cliché. The science backs this up.
Gratitude is a valuable asset in our emotional well-being toolkit. It helps us navigate all kinds of challenges. And rewards us with a noticeable boost in happiness and overall life satisfaction. 1
Dr. Robert Emmons, a leading scientific expert on all things gratitude talks about the advantages that come with adopting an attitude for gratitude.
He succinctly summarises four reasons to be grateful: 2
- Gratitude allows us to participate, celebrate and value our positive life experiences. In turn, we feel good about ourselves.
- Gratitude offers protection against depression, and toxic emotions like resentment, regret, and envy, which can adversely affect our well-being.
- When you can express genuine gratitude for life’s ups and downs, you become more resilient to harmful stressors, suffering, anxiety, and trauma.
- Gratefulness strengthens relationships — both our own self-worth and the relationships we have with those around us.
Gratitude is More than Thank-You’s
Gratitude isn’t just about thanking everyone you come into contact with.
Of course, extending a well-deserved ‘thank-you’ is good vibes.
Always be that type of person.
But, the simple act of expressing gratitude to yourself is powerful enough. Even when we initially think there’s not much to be grateful for.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say you’re going through a breakup. You’ve just been dumped by your lover and it’s hard not to feel like your entire life is over.
You think about the time spent together, or what could have been if things had worked out differently. Maybe you thought this would be your forever person, and now there’s nothing left but memories… the good times… the bad times… and those in-between times.
But through all the tears, upset, and anger, and constant journaling you reach a point where you can be thankful this person came into your life. They helped you experience love. Even though it didn’t last.
And if this person was totally wrong for you, your journal can help you reflect on the lessons and growth you experienced. Which hopefully, will lead you to make better choices with your next love interest.
Ways to Express Gratitude in a Journal
Sometimes it’s hard to know what to write about.
A common issue with gratitude journaling is that we can find ourselves writing about the usual things. Like our family, health, home, and work.
Yes, those aspects of our lives are important, but it’s easy to get stuck in a loop of being grateful for the same stuff – day in, day out.
And let’s be honest, that can get a little boring.
So I’ve put together a list of gratitude prompts for you to use daily or weekly. These are designed to get you thinking deeply about the specifics of what you’re grateful for. And why you’re grateful for it.
50+ Gratitude Journal Prompts
- What was the last thing you laughed about?
- Describe a time when you felt like a superhero.
- Who’s the biggest hero or role model in your life? Why?
- In what ways is your life better than it was last year?
- How do you feel about yourself when you’re at your best?
- Reflect on a challenging accomplishment that filled you with immense pride. What aspect of this achievement are you most thankful for, and how has it positively impacted your life?
- Pick one item of clothing that you’re grateful to own. Describe the item of clothing in detail and explain why you’re thankful to have it in your life.
- What’s something small that makes your living area feel like “home?”
- In what ways does your pet(s) enhance your life? If you don’t have a pet(s), is there an animal you’re grateful exists? How is the world a better place with this animal in it?
- Describe a pleasant surprise from the past week.
- Who’s been your biggest supporter in life? In what ways have they shown up for you?
- When you’ve had a crappy day, what makes things better?
- Write a letter to someone who believed in you when you didn’t believe in yourself (and, if they’re still around, consider sending it to them).
- Describe the last time you heard someone say something funny.
- Write about something big or small that made today an okay day/great day.
- Make a list of where and when you feel happiest.
- What’s the best piece of advice someone has ever given you?
- Think about a time when someone you respect and trust complimented you on a positive trait or characteristic. Write them a thank you letter accepting and embracing the compliment. Express your gratitude to them.
- What’s something that brings you peace?
- What memories take you to your happy place?
- Describe a physical space you love being in.
- Fill in the blanks: I’m grateful when I feel _____ because it reminds me of _____.
- Make a list of five everyday things that make your life easier.
- What was the most beautiful sight you saw today?
- What was the most mouth-watering thing you ate this week? Describe it in detail, using all of your senses to bring the experience to life.
- What are you most looking forward to today?
- Reflect on a recent act of kindness you witnessed and explain why it resonated with you. What impact did it have on your outlook on life or on the way you interact with others?
- What song makes you want to dance (or at least tap your foot to the beat)? Describe the song in detail – what do you love about it? How does it make you feel?
- What or who makes you feel young at heart? Consider the positive emotions it/they bring to your life and write about why this person or thing has such an impact on you.
- Describe, in detail, your last AHA! moment.
- What or who makes you feel safe, loved, or cared for?
- Who are you closest to in your family? Describe your relationship.
- How has journaling about your experiences made a difference in your life?
- What items of food are you most grateful to have in your kitchen right now?
- Think of someone who’s relatively new to your life. What do you appreciate about them?
- Think about a time when you had to let go of something or someone that was no longer serving you. Write about one good thing that happened as a result of letting go.
- What do you most enjoy about the area and/or space you live in?
- Reflect on something or someone who made today a little easier for you. Describe how it impacted your day and how it made you feel.
- In this moment what’s the smallest thing you’re grateful for?
- Describe a part of your body or a bodily function you take for granted. Reflect on how this body part/function supports you every day. Express gratitude for this part of yourself.
- Write about a recent interaction you had with a kind stranger.
- Write three things about your closest friend that makes them special.
- What’s something you did for someone else that made them happy today/this week/this month? How did that make you feel?
- If you were given the opportunity to choose one person to inherit one million dollars, who would you choose and why? Take a moment to reflect on all the things this person has done for you or others, and express your gratitude and appreciation for them.
- Think about the relationship you have with yourself. Jot down one positive word that describes this relationship. Why did you choose that word? Reflect on how cultivating a positive relationship with yourself can bring more joy and gratitude into your life.
- What’s something you did to take care of yourself this week?
- Write about someone who recently helped you out.
- Describe one moment of joy you experienced today.
- If you had to leave your house or country tomorrow, what would you miss most about where you live now, and why?
- Write about an experience at work or in your personal life that didn’t go well this week, but still taught you something valuable.
- What activities bring you joy and enhance your life? Describe why you enjoy them and how they contribute to your overall happiness.
- Think about a memorable experience you’ve had in nature. What did you do, and what made it so special?
- Reflect on a recent experience where someone taught you a new skill. Who was it, and what did they teach you? How did it make you feel to learn something new, and what are you most grateful for about that experience?
- Reflect on your career journey so far. What moments stand out as particularly meaningful or rewarding? What made these moments special to you?
So now you have your gratitude journal prompts, it’s time to get to work. Grab a pen and notebook, and start writing.
Be as specific as possible:
Gratitude journaling isn’t just about writing down words. It’s about tapping into your emotions and reflecting on what you experienced in that moment. That way you can continue to savour that good thing in the present. When you can go into specifics of why something—or someone—makes you feel grateful, then that feeling will be even more intense. And, if there are some prompts you aren’t into, skip them. It’s totally allowed. Enjoy your day.
— Pin for Later —
- Cunha, L. F., Pellanda, L. C., & Reppold, C. T. (2019). Positive psychology and gratitude interventions: A randomized clinical trial. Frontiers in Psychology, 10.
- Emmons, R. (2010, November 12). What Good Is Gratitude? Retrieved May 02, 2022 from www.youtube.com; Greater Good Science Center.