When trying to live a mindful life, it’s important to focus on what you have rather than what you don’t have. This means understanding the different things to be grateful for in your own life. We’re all blessed in big and small ways, but how often do we reflect on these blessings? This is why it’s beneficial to know how to write a gratitude list.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What Is a Gratitude List?
- What Should You Include in a Gratitude List?
- Where Can You Keep a Gratitude List?
- How Often Should You Update Your Gratitude List?
- How to Set Up a Gratitude List
- Things to Include in Your Daily Gratitude List
Like a gratitude jar, a gratitude list is something you can easily create yourself with no expensive supplies. It’s a powerful feeling to understand just what you’re thankful for. It helps you gain clarity about your life, your future, and your relationships. For many, gratitude is a life-changing practice.
With that in mind, how do you write a gratitude journal? You don’t have to figure it out yourself. In this guide, we’ll share how to write a gratitude list along with a few examples to spark your own inspiration. Everyone deserves to live a life they’re confident with, and the key to this lies in gratitude.
What Is a Gratitude List?
First, what is a gratitude list? You might have heard of many different ways to show gratitude, but this is a bit different. A gratitude list is quite literally a list of things you’re grateful for. This is something you might include as part of your gratitude journal, or you could write it once and look back on it for inspiration.
While you might not feel confident writing a long journal entry about what you’re grateful for, everyone can write a list. This can be digital or physical, and there are no limits to what you can include. If you’re feeling down for any reason, a gratitude list helps turn around your headspace. In fact, it’s one of the easiest ways to feel better.
Because gratitude lists are designed to be short, they don’t take a long time commitment. You can think of just a handful (1–10) of things off the top of your head, jot them down, and continue on with your day. Though simple, gratitude has a huge payoff in terms of your emotional well-being. We could all use a bit more positivity in our lives, so why not start somewhere small?
What Should You Include in a Gratitude List?
Are you ready to create your own gratitude list? If so, you might wonder what to include. There is no one-size-fits-all. Gratitude, like mindfulness, is a highly personal practice. Over time, you’ll discover what works best for you.
That being said, most gratitude lists include the following:
- A prompt: Starting with a prompt (“Today, I’m grateful for…”) can guide your gratitude list, especially when you’re first getting started.
- Date: Over time, you might notice significant trends in your gratitude lists. Including the date keeps you mindful of how you’re feeling at particular times.
- Experiences: While you can share physical goods and belongings on your gratitude list, try to focus on experiences and people rather than objects.
- Quotes: You might choose to include quotes, passages, and other inspiring phrases to keep you motivated. This is a space to collect things that resonate with you.
- Art: Another optional choice is to include illustrations, artwork, cutouts, photos, and more. This could develop into a more comprehensive gratitude journal.
Anyone can start a gratitude list at any point in their lives. The sooner you develop the habit of expressing what you’re thankful for, the easier it becomes to find your own happiness.
Where Can You Keep a Gratitude List?
With that in mind, where can you keep a gratitude list? This largely depends on the type of list you prefer. There are no “right” or “wrong” options. Many prefer digital tools since they’re easy to take with you on the go. They also can be more private since you don’t have to worry about someone stumbling upon them in your space.
Today, there are numerous gratitude list apps, platforms, and digital tools. If you want to use multiple devices, add links, or take your list with you, a digital option might be the right fit. Alternatively, you can create a physical list. You might write it on a post-it note, in a journal, or somewhere you see often.
If you’re not sure what method works best for you, consider trying multiple. You might keep both a digital and physical gratitude list, going back and forth depending on your mood that day. Similarly, you might decide your first method isn’t working for you. This is always a learning process, so discover what works best for you.
How Often Should You Update Your Gratitude List?
Moreover, how often should you update your gratitude list? With so many different ways to show grief and gratitude, you should find what works best for you. This can be daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly. While it would be best to write in your gratitude list regularly, this isn’t always possible. Life gets busy, and it’s okay if you fall out of the habit.
However, it’s important to make gratitude a priority if you want to see real benefits long-term. A great way to get into the habit of updating your gratitude list is to set a daily reminder or to incorporate writing into your existing routine. For example, you might write every day before bed. By making this a habit, it fits naturally into your lifestyle. Ultimately, the best schedule is a schedule you can stick with. Consistency is key with any new habits.
How to Set Up a Gratitude List
Are you ready to set up your own gratitude list? You’re in the right place, and it’s simpler than you think. It might be intimidating when you’re first getting started, but this is a practice you grow with over time. Here’s how to set up a gratitude list that suits your lifestyle.
1. Choose your journal
First, you need a journal or platform to create a list. This might be a physical journal or notepad, but you can also use an app. The Gratitude app has self-care journal tools so you can create daily lists. If you’d prefer not to download an app, you can use the notes app on your phone or a cloud tool like Notion.
2. Search for prompts
When you’re first getting started, you might not know where to begin. Writing isn’t always easy, especially if you’re new to writing about your inner thoughts. It can feel awkward if you don’t know what to say. Using journal or gratitude prompts like those below can help you break the ice.
3. Keep it simple
As the saying goes, when you first get started, keep it simple. It doesn’t really matter what’s on your list at the end of the day. The more important thing is that you’re trying. When first starting, don’t worry about making your journal look neat, perfect, or overly complicated. Short and sweet wins the race!
4. Go into more depth
As you get comfortable with creating your own gratitude lists, it’s time to take them up a notch. When you feel comfortable, include more specificity. Push beyond the general to explore what you’re really grateful for. You might say you’re grateful for your health, but you can take this further. For example, elaborate that you’re grateful your health lets you accomplish your daily walks.
5. Create a writing schedule
Depending on your writing style, it might be helpful to build a schedule into your routine. Alternatively, you can write things down as they occur to you. However, this requires a lot more dedication so it isn’t recommended when you’re first getting started. Consider writing every day before bed, after waking up, or when transitioning into relaxation time.
Lastly, don’t forget to reflect on your gratitude list. What have you learned from checking in with yourself every day? Have you noticed any patterns, or do you have a better understanding of how you might change your daily mindset? This is where you get to the real benefits of gratitude lists.
Things to Include in Your Daily Gratitude List
If you’re starting your own daily gratitude list, here’s some inspiration to get you started. These journal and list prompts should get your creative juices flowing so you share what matters most to you each day.
“Today, I’m grateful for…”
When in doubt, start with your day. Hone into the specific day to see what things made a difference, no matter how small.
“What personality traits are you most thankful for?”
Another great question is to share the things about yourself that you’re most thankful for. By looking inward, you focus on your sense of self-worth and self-love.
“What acts of kindness have you done this week?”
When we do kind acts for others, the world is a better place. Not only do these make us feel good, but we help others along the way. How have you helped others this week?
“What are you looking forward to?”
When life gets busy, it’s hard to look on the bright side. Can you think of anything you’re looking forward to? It might be a quiet night with a friend, a vacation, or just a favorite TV show.
“Who are you grateful to have in your life?”
Focusing on who you’re grateful for gives you perspective on your relationships. Which friends or family members are you thankful for right now? What have they done to earn this special place in your heart?
Create Your Own Gratitude List
Ultimately, your gratitude list is a chance to explore what’s most important to you. Everyone has to develop his or her own practice around mindfulness and gratitude. There’s no special training or skills needed. If you can write down a few things you’re thankful for, you’re ready to get started.
What’s holding you back from living a life of gratitude? This type of mental awareness and self-love doesn’t come easily, but it’s within your reach.