Gratitude journaling is an excellent exercise for focusing on the good things, being thankful for the blessings in your life, and providing space for yourself to slow down and take in life. This exercise can also help melt stress, reduce anxiety, and fill you with a more peaceful attitude.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What Is a Morning Gratitude Journal?
- How to Start a Morning Gratitude Journal
- Morning Gratitude Journal Entry Examples
- Where to Find Morning Gratitude Journal Apps and Books
There are many types of gratitude journaling. Some are meant for specific times of the day. Others are focused on specific types of gratitude. We’re going to zero in on what morning gratitude journaling is all about, how to do it, and why you’ll be glad you did.
What Is a Morning Gratitude Journal?
A gratitude journal is a journal where you write down things you’re thankful for. You could write in words, phrases, or entire journal entries depending on the mood you’re in. You can add doodles, sketches, and squiggles. You might choose to write in pencil, pen, marker, or fancy calligraphy. You might go with monochromatic colors or choose a rainbow to document your gratitude each day.
No matter how you decide to journal your gratitude, you really can’t go wrong. So, what’s the difference between morning gratitude journaling and regular gratitude journaling? In short, it’s something you do in the morning.
A morning gratitude journal will become a daily ritual you perform in the hours after you wake up and before your day begins. There are several fitting times to do your morning gratitude journaling. Depending on your life situation, you might want to take advantage of these scheduling suggestions. We recommend that you do your morning gratitude journaling:
- After you see your kids off to school but before your work-from-home job begins
- After you get your spouse off to work
- Directly after your regular morning routine (eat breakfast, get dressed) and before anything else
- As soon as you wake up before your morning routine
- During your baby’s or toddler’s morning naptime
- After you drop your kids off at school and before you get to work
Depending on your situation, you don’t have to set aside an hour or two to do this. Most of us only have time to squeeze in 15 minutes or a half-hour, and that’s okay. Life is busy. The point isn’t to stress yourself out by adding one more thing to an already over-packed schedule. Insert this activity where you can in the mornings to start your day off right.
Still not sure how to fit it in? Here are some options:
- Journal for 10 minutes in your car before heading in to work
- Journal for 15 minutes in a quiet kitchen before your spouse gets up
- Journal for 15 minutes during your toddler’s nap, then take a nap yourself
- Snatch 10 minutes to write down a few thoughts before your kids wake up
Look at your current day and figure out where you can fit in a spare 10 minutes. If you have more time, that’s great! The ideas below will be geared toward shorter and longer journaling sessions, so choose the methods that work for you and dive in. The most important thing is that you’re journaling and setting your mind on things that make you smile.
How to Start a Morning Gratitude Journal
Starting a morning gratitude journal can be quite basic. The essence of this practice is taking time to write down things you’re grateful for. It’s as simple as that. The add-ons to your journaling routine are entirely up to you. Here are several ways to get started with your morning gratitude journaling.
Step 1: Decide on a time
Consistency is key to any new habit you want to form, so it’s a good idea to pick a time when you’ll always do your gratitude journaling. This could be right when you wake up, in your car just before you walk into work, or while your child is taking their morning nap.
Choose a time that you think you’ll be able to stick with consistently, and you’ll be much more likely to keep up your new habit of morning gratitude journaling.
Step 2: Choose your space
Next, you’ll want to pick the space where you’ll journal. This could be a quiet kitchen island with a barstool seat. Maybe you have an oversize chair next to a window where the sunlight can warm you. Perhaps you have a window seat in your home.
Whatever area you choose, you’ll want to make sure of a few things. First, the area should be neat and tidy. There’s nothing worse than sitting down to journal and getting distracted by clutter, kids' toys, and work papers that need organizing.
Second, you want to make sure the area is consistently available for you each morning during your journaling time. It probably wouldn’t be the best idea to cozy up in your spouse’s favorite chair when you know they'll need it for their own morning ritual.
Finally, make sure the area has ample space for your journal and anything extra you bring along to your journaling session.
Step 3: Pick your add-ons
Add-ons are any items that you think would enhance your journaling session. Most people would include their morning cup of coffee or tea as a must-have add-on to their journaling experience. You might also want to add items like:
- Soft music
- A lit candle
- A cozy blanket
- Special lighting
Choose things that will make this journaling time extra special and give you something to look forward to each morning.
Step 4: Gather supplies
The supplies you want handy depends on how you plan on journaling. Keeping it simple? You’ll just need your journal and a pen or pencil. Getting fancy? You’ll need your journal and your calligraphy pens. Feeling artsy? Make sure you have colored pencils or sketching pencils sharpened at the ready.
Step 5: Choose a journal
There’s a lot of flexibility when it comes to choosing a journal, and it all depends on what you want to get out of your journaling time.
Do you want something simple and straightforward? Choose a blank journal where you can write in your own prompts. Do you want to spend a bit more time and get creative? You might pick a bullet gratitude journal. Feel like getting over-the-top artsy? You could repurpose a sketchbook, place a journal prompt at the top of each page, and sketch, draw, color, and paint your answer.
Decide what you want the journal to emphasize to get the most out of your mornings.
Step 6: Choose a week’s worth of prompts
Another way you can commit to making your morning journaling a habit is by preparing journaling prompts. Some journals already have prompts on each page. However, if you chose a blank journal, you’ll need to come up with your own. You can choose ones like the examples below or pick some by doing a quick search online.
Select a week’s worth and write them at the top of each page so when the morning comes, you’re ready to go.
Morning Gratitude Journal Prompts
Journal prompts are the line or two of text that will help you get started journaling each morning. Here are several gratitude journal prompts you can use.
- Dear future self, I want you to know what I’m thankful for today…
- I am thankful for my family because…
- Five things I love about my job are…
- Looking around, three things I’m thankful for include…
- The thing I love most about myself is…
- What I love most about my spouse is…
- I am grateful for journaling because…
- I’m thankful for my favorite hobby because…
- I love the sunshine because…
Morning Gratitude Journal Entry Examples
Wondering what a gratitude journal entry looks like? Here are a few examples to give you some inspiration.
Prompt: Looking around, three things I am thankful for include…
Three things I am thankful for that I can see include my wood-burning stove, the sunshine streaming through my window, and the heirloom mug I’m enjoying my coffee in. The wood-burning stove provides our heat with such a wonderful source of cozy warmth. The sunshine always makes me smile and reminds me that spring is just around the corner. And the mug I’m drinking my coffee from reminds me that, though my mom might be in heaven, her presence, love, and words of wisdom will always be with me.
Prompt: I am thankful for my family because…
I’m thankful for my family because they mean the world to me. I couldn’t imagine my life without them. My husband is our rock, my best friend, my shoulder to cry on, and the one person in the world I love laughing with the most. Our oldest child is loving and kind, always looking for ways he can help those around him. Our youngest is full of life and challenges each of us to go beyond our comfort zones. Finally, our sweet middle child puts the spice in our life that we would be so lacking without. We complete each other.
Prompt: Five things I love about my job are…
My coworkers, the fulfillment it gives me, the purpose it gives me, the financial contribution it provides for my family, healthcare for my family.
Where to Find Morning Gratitude Journal Apps and Books
Morning gratitude journals can be found in a wide variety of places online, in physical stores, and in app stores. Here are several of the best places to purchase a morning gratitude journal.
Amazon has a large selection of morning gratitude journals, and it might be a good place to look if you’re not sure which type of journal you want. Amazon sellers have all types of morning gratitude journals including:
- Coloring gratitude journals
- Bullet gratitude journals
- Simple gratitude journals
- Journals with gratitude prompts
- Christian gratitude journals
- One-minute gratitude journals
Before you purchase, check reviews and be sure to utilize the “look inside” feature to get a preview of the inside of each journal.
Etsy has unique gratitude journals if you’re looking for something a little more specific. You can choose from:
- Personalized journals
- Customized journals
- Hand-sewn, leather-bound journals
- Print-out journals
If you need a special, one-of-a-kind morning gratitude journal to give someone as a gift, Etsy is a great place to start looking.
If you want a gratitude journal that aligns with the Christian faith, there is a large selection of gratitude journals on Christianbook.com. Each journal has a gratitude prompt and an accompanying Bible verse, making it an excellent addition to a time of prayer or Bible study.
Apple app store
The Apple app store has several app-based gratitude journals. These apps allow you to journal on the go no matter where you are. If your morning gratitude journal time is 10 minutes in your car before you head in to work, this might be a good option for you.
Google Play Store
The Google Play store also has several app-based gratitude journals to choose from. Before you decide to purchase or download anything to your phone, check the reviews and pictures to determine if it offers the features you want in a gratitude journal app.
Big box stores
If you’re out and about running a few errands, consider stopping into stores like Target, Walmart, Marshalls, and TJMaxx. Each of these places typically has a decent selection of journals available at budget-friendly prices.
Think About Gratitude
Life can be hectic, busy, stressful, and anxiety-inducing. By taking just a few minutes every morning to slow down, hit the pause button, and think about the things you’re thankful for, you train your mind to think about the good things in life, instead. You’ll find yourself breathing deeper and admiring the good life has brought you. You might even catch yourself smiling a little bit more than you used to.