As difficult as life can be at times, just about all of us have something for which we can be thankful. That’s important to acknowledge.
Of course, remembering to practice gratitude throughout your day can be challenging when you’ve got a busy lifestyle. That’s why many people keep daily gratitude journals.
As the name implies, a gratitude journal is a diary in which, every day, you write an entry about something for which you’re grateful. It can be something that happened that day, something nice going on in your life right now, or a more general part of your life (such as a family member or romantic partner) who consistently gives you reasons to feel thankful.
To get started with your gratitude journal, consider these prompts.
Day 1: What am I most grateful for?
You might want to start your gratitude journal with an entry on the aspects of your life that bring you the most joy. Before getting into more specific prompts, it’s helpful to set the tone with this type of general reflection. This entry might also give you ideas for future prompts.
Day 2: Which friend or family member am I most grateful for, and why?
You can write about anything that brings you joy when penning gratitude journal entries. That said, for many of us, the people in our lives are responsible for our greatest happiness. Take a moment to reflect on that.
Day 3: Which personal strengths or life choices are I most grateful for?
Keeping a gratitude journal doesn’t need to simply involve writing about external factors. A gratitude journal can also help you better appreciate your own best qualities by allowing you to thank yourself for cultivating certain traits or making smart decisions.
Day 4: What’s something about my living situation I’m grateful for?
Don’t make the mistake of assuming a gratitude journal should convince you to overlook problems in your life you need to address. If your living situation isn’t ideal right now, you might need to make some changes.
In the meantime, however, you can give yourself a mood boost by writing about the aspects of your living situation you do feel positively about. Maybe you live in a safe area. Perhaps your living situation gives you access to fun activities. If you take the time to think about this, odds are good you’ll come up with genuine examples.
Day 5: What are my favorite hobbies?
Writing about your favorite hobbies can help you better appreciate aspects of your life that might be easy to overlook. For example, maybe you enjoy drawing.
By writing about your gratitude for this hobby, you might realize you’re also grateful for an art teacher who helped you cultivate this passion.
Day 6: Which dead friends or relatives are I thankful for?
Thinking about death doesn’t always need to make you feel sad. Reflecting on a deceased person for whom you’re grateful can help you take a more death positive approach.
Day 7: Which life experiences and accomplishments am I most grateful for?
Think of this entry as a reverse bucket list. Instead of listing the experiences and accomplishments you’re still striving towards, take a few moments to write about the items you’ve already crossed off of life’s to-do list!
Day 8: Which simple pleasure gives me the greatest joy?
You don’t always need to reflect on major life experiences when writing gratitude journal entries. It’s also helpful to devote some entries to life’s simple joys, such as watching your favorite TV show.
Day 9: Which recent purchase am I most grateful for?
Along with boosting your mood, keeping a gratitude journal can also help you make practical life decisions more intelligently. For example, when you write about the recent purchase for which you’re most grateful, you may stop to consider why other purchases didn’t make the cut.
The potential result? You’ll be less likely to waste money on unnecessary items that don’t bring you joy in the future.
Day 10: Which difficult experience am I most grateful for in retrospect?
Keeping a gratitude journal obviously helps you celebrate the aspects of your life you already feel positively about. However, it can also reframe negative experiences by helping you realize they were necessary.
These don’t need to be major traumas either! Maybe you simply want to write about the fact that you had a difficult time in school, but you’re now grateful for the benefits of your education.
Day 11: Which life improvements are I most grateful for?
Again, life often feels challenging. If you only focus on what you need to fix in your life, your happiness will suffer. Consider giving yourself some perspective by writing about the positive changes you’ve already made.
Day 12: What is my favorite food?
Sometimes gratitude journals simply give us the chance to reflect on life’s simple pleasure, like a favorite meal.
Day 13: What do I take for granted, but should feel grateful for?
Most people overlook certain positive factors in their lives. Take a moment to write about them. This can be as simple as expressing gratitude for the fact that you have access to running water and electricity.
Day 14: Why should people feel grateful for me?
Remember, sometimes you can use a gratitude journal to boost your self-image. Use this entry to honestly think about the positive role you play in other people’s lives.
Day 15: What makes me laugh?
Laughter is one of life’s greatest joys. In this entry, express gratitude for anything you find funny.
Day 16: What small achievement did I accomplish in the last week?
Gratitude journals give us perspective. If you think you’ve had an unproductive week, think again.
Day 17: What was one of the happiest periods of my life, and why am I grateful for it?
Hopefully, your happiest years are still ahead of you. However, looking back on previous happy periods in your life is also a rewarding experience.
Day 18: What’s a tradition I’m grateful for?
We practice traditions (ranging from holiday celebrations to weekly rituals) for many reasons. One of the most noteworthy is the simple fact that they often bring joy to our lives. Write about a tradition that fills that role for you.
Day 19: What unique skill am I most grateful for?
This isn’t the same as reflecting on your strengths. You might share some of your greatest qualities with others. That said, if you truly consider the question, you can also probably think of positive traits that distinguish you from others.
Day 20: Which personal freedom am I grateful for?
Freedom to live our lives on our own terms is important. Take some time to think about the freedoms that are most important to you.
Day 21: Make a list of everything in this room that I’m grateful for.
There’s a good chance your immediate surroundings could bring you joy. Take a look at the room you’re in, and list everything in it for which you could feel grateful.
Day 22: What is my favorite place to visit?
Many people feel gratitude for the experiences they have in their favorite places. Consider a place in your life that makes you feel this way.
Day 23: Which apps and websites am I grateful for?
Remember, sometimes the little joys deserve your attention! Write about the apps and websites for which you’re most thankful.
Day 24: Which past experience am I grateful is over?
Although your life might not be perfect, you can probably think of past unpleasant experiences that you're grateful are over.
Day 25: Which little interaction from the past week or month am I most grateful for?
The relationships we have with others can bring us joy, even if they are minor. Maybe you had a pleasant experience with someone you met in public this past month or week, for example. Write about such an experience.
Day 26: Which day of the week am I most grateful for?
Enjoying your favorite day is easier when you remind yourself what you like about it!
Day 27: What’s something I’m looking forward to?
You don’t merely need to feel gratitude for what you already have. You can also feel gratitude for what’s to come.
Day 28: Which books, films, TV shows, or music am I most grateful for?
Art and entertainment play an important role in our lives. Reflect on the works for which you’re thankful.
Day 29: What do I like about my job?
Hey, even if you dislike your job, you can at least be grateful for the paycheck!
Day 30: Which basic life skill am I most grateful for?
Everything from knowing how to cook to knowing how to budget can potentially bring joy. Take a few moments to think about these simple skills.
Day 31: Why am I grateful for keeping a gratitude journal?
After writing regular gratitude journal entries for a month, there’s a good chance you’ll have noticed positive changes in your mindset and your life. Use this final entry of the month to reflect on them.
The Power of Gratitude
These prompts are merely a few ideas worth considering. Just remember, everyone wants to feel happier. Keeping a gratitude journal and reading gratitude books is one incredibly easy but effective way to achieve this goal!
- Wong, Joel and Joshua Brown. “How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain.” Greater Good Magazine, The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, 6 June 2017, greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_gratitude_changes_you_and_your_brain