Gratitude Journal Guide: Tips, Templates, Ideas & Examples

Do you have someone that you would like to express your gratitude? What is something that had happened which you are truly thankful for? Reflecting on gratitude can help us to focus on the positive things in life instead of the negative ones. Keeping track of the grateful things in life and positive thoughts cultivate you to become a more optimistic, happier and healthier person.

What is a gratitude journal?

A gratitude journal is a collection of things that you are grateful of. You can use a gratitude journal to focus on the positive things in your live and to record the people that you are thankful for.

A girl hugs her mum with gratitude and thankful for her love.

Benefits of writing a gratitude journal

Maintaining a gratitude journal benefits your mind both mentally and physically. It is known to be able to help in relieving depressive symptoms.

1. Lower stress level, to become a more optimistic person

Documenting the positive events that happened to your life is known to help with managing your stress levels and helps you feel calmer.

2. Understand what truly matters

At times, we will find ourselves overwhelmed with too many things in life to know what is important to us and what is not. Understanding what is important to you help you to appreciate your life and get your life priorities sorted out.

3. Appreciate the people and things in your life

Reading your gratitude journal motivates you and gives you the strength to overcome tough times and succeed. By recognizing that there are many grateful moments in your life, things may not seem as bad as what you think it is. You will realize that you are not alone and there are many people who still care about you.

4. Increase our self-esteem

Gratitude makes you aware of the good other people do for you. As a result, you feel loved, cared for, and appreciated—which makes you feel better about yourself and improves your self-esteem.

5. Improve sleep

Beautiful young woman lying on bed under the white cover with her cute small dog.

Positive emotions like gratitude activate the parasympathetic branch of your nervous system, also called the relaxation response, while negative emotions activate the sympathetic branch, often referred to as the fight-or-flight response. Considering that, it’s no surprise that gratitude has been shown to reduce the time required to fall asleep, increase sleep quality and sleep duration.

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Gratitude Journal Prompts to start off writing

A beautiful woman enjoying cup of coffee during healthy breakfast at home writing a notebook with an adorable golden retriever dog besides her.

Grateful to be alive

  1. When is the last time that someone put a smile on your face? How did it happen?
  2. What is a song that you enjoy, and why do you like it?
  3. List 5 activities or things that bring you joy, and why?
  4. List 5 things that you look forward to in the next 1 year, and why?
  5. Describe your favorite food. How did you find out about it?

Thankful for friends and family

  1. Name someone that has made an impact in your life, and how did they help you?
  2. Tell about family member you are grateful for.
  3. Choose 3 people to say thank you to today.
  4. Tell about a time you were grateful for something a friend did for you.
  5. Tell about a time that you were grateful for someone helping you when you were hurt.
  6. Name a person who you can count on whenever you need a listening ear. How are you thankful for that person?
  7. Who is someone you have a hard time getting along with? Think of at least 3 positive things to say about that person.
  8. What are 3 ways to say “thank you” without using the words thank you?
  9. Say something positive about the person on your left.

Grateful for everyday

  1. What was the best part of your day?
  2. Tell about something you have learned this week.
  3. What is something that you’ve learned this week that you’re thankful for?

Grateful for your body

  1. What is a sound you are grateful for?
  2. What is a smell that you are grateful for?
  3. What taste are you grateful for?
  4. Which of your five senses are you most grateful for?
  5. If you had to give up all your possessions what 3 things would you keep?
  6. Which season are you most grateful for and why?
  7. Talk about all the people who keep you safe.
  8. Talk about all the ways you are healthy.

Tips to get started

A happy young black woman walking in a sunflower field.

  1. Find a space that you are comfortable with to write your gratitude journal
  2. Focus on the benefits and how writing a gratitude journal can help you to improve your life
  3. Set aside a time that you want to start writing, and think about how often you can write, as consistency is key!
  4. If you are sure that this is something that you want to do. Shift our mindset and think about it as something you want to do and not as a chore.
  5. Find a gratitude journal prompt from books, online or you can even think of a fresh topic that you want to write on.
  6. Understanding what works for you is another way of knowing more about yourself. Some of which could be using photos that you have taken, songs that remind you of a particular time of your past, and more!

Want to start on your first gratitude journal soon? Select and find a topic that sparks your interest and takes your first step into discovering a more positive side in life and discovering more about the people who you are thankful for!