how to start a gratitude journal

How to Create a Gratitude Journal

A gratitude journal can train your brain to think of things in a different way. If you're feeling stuck, stressed, or overwhelmed, this journal can help you get back on track. In fact, there are scientific benefits to writing in your gratitude journal on a regular basis.

how to gratitude journal

Gratitude Journaling

I'm excited to tell you all about gratitude journaling today! We've worked on anger management, not yelling so much, and even learning to meditate. Now, it's time to talk about what we are thankful for.

What is Gratitude?

Gratitude is expressing appreciation for what you have right now. Do you practice gratitude daily? Most of us don't!

What is a gratitude journal?

A gratitude journal, also called a gratitude notebook, is a way to get in the habit of putting yourself in a positive mindset every. single. day. We all have rough days, but if we aren't careful, a bad few days can turn into a permanent negative mindset. Nobody likes a Negative Nellie, so get started with your gratitude journal today.

Benefits of Gratitude Journaling

Keeping a gratitude journal can help relieve stress, and can also help retrain your brain to be thankful for what you have rather than focusing on what you don't have or how frustrating life is at times. Relieving this stress can also help you sleep better at night.

I find a “brain dump” in my gratitude journal right before bed is helpful for me to unwind before I fall asleep. I find reading my journal in the morning helps get my brain in the right space to get my day started on a positive note.

Journaling can also help you become more self-aware. Sometimes when we are in a negative space or a “slump”, we don't even realize it! Your gratitude journal makes self-reflection a priority.

how to start a gratitude journal

Gratitude Journal IDEAS

Need some creative ideas to get you going? I've got you covered! Gratitude journaling didn't come naturally to me, but I'm glad I stuck with it. These prompts should get you started.

  • Enjoy the small things. It doesn't matter if you are thankful you woke up on time, or the kids didn't miss the bus, or you got to have donuts for breakfast. The small things need to be acknowledged!
  • Get out of the habit of saying you “don't know what to write about”. Keep it positive: “I have so much to write about, I'm going to need another page!”
  • Be specific. Who and what are you thankful for in your life? Write a letter to them – yes, even your kids – in your gratitude journal, even if you never show it to them.
  • Try to focus on gratitude for accomplishments, mindsets, experiences, and things other than people. Yes, it's great to show gratitude to people who mean a lot to you and make your life easier! Just make sure you don't get caught up in the trap of only writing about people in your gratitude journal.
  • Write in your gratitude journal every day. It takes at least a few weeks to form a habit, so don't give up until you've written in your journal daily for a month or more. You don't have to write pages and pages of what you're thankful for; a few words each day is fine. Write however much you feel led to write.

Daily Gratitude Affirmations

  • I am thankful to my body for allowing me to live a healthy life.
  • I am thankful for the wonderful nature around me.
  • I am the designer of my life.
  • I can make all my dreams come true.
  • I experience gratitude for everything I have in my life.
  • My life is filled with an abundance of joy.
  • I am worthy of being loved and happy.
  • I give thanks that my request has already been fulfilled.

Gratitude Journal for Kids

Do the kids want to get involved? Awesome! Grab them a journal of their choice (I recommend a bullet journal – they're simple and inexpensive), and let them get started the same way you did!

Practicing gratitude disconnects us from the toxicity of negative emotions. Gratitude journaling has the same effect on kids.

Need More Ideas for Your Gratitude Journal?

If you're struggling with gratitude, try a few of these tricks to get you in the right mindset:

  • Watch inspiring videos.
  • Add to your gratitude list daily.
  • Count your blessings. Name 3 things you're thankful for in your life today.
  • Volunteer.
  • Switch negative thoughts to positive ones as soon as they pop into your head.
  • Refrain from complaining about anything for 24 hours. Can you do it?
  • Avoid negative influences – this includes social media, the news, etc. You know your triggers.
  • Learn something new.
  • Be still in the moment. Meditate.
  • Write a “thank you” note to yourself.
  • Forgive yourself. We hold onto self-loathing for far too long.

Gratitude Journal Prompts

Sometimes it's easier to answer a question than to come up with your own ideas on what to write about. Here are some questions to get you started.

  • What is one good thing that happened today?
  • What is one positive quality you love about yourself? Why are you awesome?
  • Who made you smile today? How did they make you smile?
  • What are you doing well today?
  • List 3 things you love about your home.
  • Who inspires you? Why? How can you be more like them?
  • What are you looking forward to?
  • How can you say “thank you” without actually saying it? Who are you thankful for today?

Use this article from Positive Psychology for more ideas.

Give Journaling a Chance

Grab a cheap bullet journal or notebook and start your gratitude journal today. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. Pens are important, too. I love to write and out of all of my pens, Paper Mate Ink Joy Gel 0.7 are my favorite. They dry fast and don't skip!

gratitude journaling

Stick with writing in your journal daily for at least a month, then let me know what you've learned, what you did/didn't like about it, and if you're going to continue by leaving a comment below! 🙂

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