Gratitude is a powerful emotion. A simple definition of gratitude is – the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
Can feeling grateful every day actually change our lives? If yes, then how do we start feeling grateful when we feel like we don’t have enough to feel grateful for? How do we make practicing gratitude a daily habit? Won’t we run out of things to be grateful about eventually?
The answer to all of these questions lie in learning the art of maintaining a daily gratitude journal.
Gratitude has to become a habit, a daily practice of shaping our perspective, of training our mind to become capable of finding strength even in adversities. After all, we need the gratitude the most when it’s most difficult to find. But if you’ve trained yourself through the daily practice, then you’ll always find things to be grateful about.
And just with that powerful emotion of gratitude, you become equipped to transform your life and open up to incredible opportunities for love, joy, and success. There amidst all problems and chaos, you’re able to find a simple answer, a door to happiness.
How gratitude transforms life?
It can be hard to believe that something as simple as the practice of gratitude can change improve your life. After all, our problems are quite complex and require a logical approach. However, there’s enough research and evidence to back the claims about the life-transforming power of gratitude. (1) (2)
Here’s what happens when you start maintaining a gratitude journal – By practicing gratitude daily, you break the negative cycle that your mind tends to get caught up in. You raise your frequency and get attuned to the positive energies of the world. And by Law Of Attraction, you attract positive things that lead to happiness in your life.
However, to bring that change you need to show up and practice gratitude daily. It might seem hard at first, but it definitely gets easier with practice. The perfect way to practice is to start a gratitude journal.
If you are wondering what a gratitude journal is and how to get started with it, you are at the right place. Read ahead to learn everything about a gratitude journal and how to get into the habit of daily gratitude journaling.
What Is A Gratitude Journal?
A gratitude journal is a tool that keeps track of all the good things in your life. It’s a place where you build your regular practice of listing the good things in your life. It’s your daily reminder that – No matter how hard and stressful your life can get sometimes, there is always something to feel grateful for.
You are free to choose a tool that works for you. It could be a bullet journal, a simple notebook, or just some gratitude journal printables. The idea is to simply jot down the things you are grateful for regularly. If you want to go green, you can choose one of the many gratitude apps or even a simple word document. In the later section of this article, I’ve also shared a free gratitude journal printable that you can print and use.
To further motivate you to get into the habit of gratitude journaling, amazing benefits of this simple practice.
7 Benefits Of Keeping A Gratitude Journal
The following are the few benefits that people derive from using gratitude journals.
- Practicing gratitude journaling every day helps you lower down your stress levels and feel more balanced. (3)
- It helps you in staying calm at night.
- It makes you understand what is important to you and what you appreciate in your life.
- By noting down what you are grateful for every day, you slowly get to know what you want in your life. You start to focus on what matters to you.
- You can learn more about yourself and become more self-aware.
- Your journal is just for you and is your safe space. So, you can write anything you want without worrying about others judging you.
- When you feel blue, you can turn back the pages and read through it to re-adjust your attitude and explore all the good things that happened to you in your life.
What Do You Write In A Gratitude journal?
Your gratitude log or journal is your endeavor. It has to be unique and fun for you and your life. You can write anything you feel grateful about. You can write about a person you are thankful for, skills and abilities you are thankful to have, body parts you are grateful for. Music, mundane items, foods, your morning routine, and whatnot. No one can tell you what marks the cut for you and your circumstances.
If you have been successfully gratitude journaling for a while, it can be a challenge to think of new things that you are grateful for. If that is the case, think of a new angle. For example, if you have already written why you are thankful for a specific person several times, try viewing them from other people’s perspectives. You can find new perspectives to express gratitude like “I’m grateful for the way this particular person is treating other people.”
Just note that you can write about anything. No matter how big or small the thing is.
How To Start A Gratitude Journal?
As I told you before, starting a gratitude journal is very easy. You just need to take a blank notebook and write down everything you are grateful for. If you don’t want to be minimalistic and require a different approach, I am always there for you. Here is the most effective way to start a gratitude journal.
Step 1: Choose A Journal With care
Pick out a journal that stimulates you visually. Or you can also pick an ordinary one and personalize it with pictures of people and things you love and care about. Be creative and make the journal appealing as you are more likely to practice journaling if you like your journal. For some people, decorating the journal helps them stay motivated.f
But, if you are new to gratitude journaling, you must first practice it in your regular bullet journal. You can list each thing you are grateful for in the monthly block. This is called the “gratitude bullet journal.”
People who extols the benefits of the gratitude bullet journal recommend listing at least one thing you are grateful for each day. This will make gratitude journaling easy to start as listing five things may feel overwhelming.
Whether you use a simple page as a gratitude journal or beautifully customized spreads in gratitude bullet journal, it doesn’t matter. What matters is your commitment to feel grateful every day and stick with it.
Step 2: Create A Ritual
After choosing a journal, you need to create a ritual to repeat every time you journal. Having a routine will implement a call of action by our muscle memory to our body, mind, and spirit. Rituals create habits, and consistency is critical in journaling.
A ritual can be anything. Lighting a candle, drinking a hot cuppa, playing a favorite song, meditation, chanting small prayers, etc.
Any kind of ritual is a great way to let your body and mind know that it is the time for gratitude journaling. Moreover, a routine, when done consistently, will strengthen the ability to turn action to habit. In addition to, this process is usually fun and relaxing, giving us the motivation to form a good habit of journaling.
Step 3: Gratitude Journal Prompts
Writing 4 to 5 things you are thankful for every day can be comfortable at the beginning, but slowly, you will start running out of ideas.
To overcome this, Tim Ferriss, a best-selling author, uses categories instead of thinking random gratitudes every day. They are –
- A relationship that you are grateful for
- An opportunity that you are thankful for having
- A great thing you saw or happened to you today
- Something simple near you like the chair you are sitting, the pen you are writing, clouds outside, etc.
Therefore, considering these categories, I have listed some examples of gratitude prompts to help you.
- An old relationship you are grateful for.
- A quality you appreciate in your co-worker.
- You can write about a quality you like in your partner.
- Good quality you want to pick from your mom, dad, or friend.
- The quality you admire in yourself.
- You can write about some positive qualities of a role model you value.
- Things you admire in the employees at the places you frequent.
- The thing you are looking forward to today.
- An opportunity you have today that most people don’t.
- Things that made today great.
- One thing I am better at today than yesterday.
- One thing you appreciate about your health
- Something you admire about the career skills you have today.
- Something you appreciate about your financial situation.
- One thing you appreciate about your appearance today.
Good Things Happened Today
- One good thing that happened to you during the day.
- An obstacle that you overcame today.
- Food I ate today
- The sight that you did see today that you found enjoyable.
- The scent you smell today that you found enjoyable.
Other Things Near You
- Pick an object you love and write what you love most about it.
- One thing you appreciate most about the home you live in.
- One thing you appreciate most about the city you live in.
- Things you appreciate most about the country you live in.
- One thing you appreciate most about the restaurants you frequent.
- One piece of clothing you appreciate most.
- One thing you love about the music you listen to.
- The art you admire.
Free Printable Gratitude Journal Template
I have tried different gratitude journals over the past two years. Trust me, I have never felt happy, more creative, and grateful for everything and everyone before. I want to try the gratitude journals regularly. So I have created a free gratitude template. You can download it here and print it out on your printer or at a copy shop. You can place this template in your bullet journal or your binder.
When you just want to experiment with maintaining a gratitude journal for a month, then making 30 copies of a printable gratitude journal template is the way to go. You need not have to make big investments to get started. All you need is a binder to put together the prints.
Bullet Journal Gratitude Log Ideas
If you already maintain a bullet journal and want to use it for gratitude journaling, then you will like some of these unique and fun gratitude log layout ideas I have come across on the internet. Like any other page in the bullet journal, you can get creative with the gratitude log too.
“I have got a pocketful of sunshine” gratitude layout by heartistic.jess is a great way to instantly perk you up. If you like seeing all of your gratitude logs in one place, this is an apt one for you.
This layout is a lovely and simple gratitude bullet journal page idea. All you have to do is draw a sun in the middle of the page and list all the things you are grateful for in a creative manner.
This layout by the petite planner is very minimal and organized. If a word isn’t enough, writing a line or two lets you create a few more details without taking much of your time. You can list the things you are grateful for every day and the entire month can be visible on a single page.
This layout by claire.igraphy has a beautiful fall theme. Don’t you think it is as organized as it is sleek?
In this theme, Kimberly from Subline Reflection has allotted each box to each day in a month. You can write one thing you are grateful for that particular day. This layout is best suitable for people who are in a hurry and can’t think of many ideas.
This layout is for the people who want to get creative. Drawing the entire page with boxes and filling some with memories or some creative doodlings.
This layout focuses on words only. You can write a word or a phrase each day about the things you’re grateful for. At the end of the month, you will see a page filled with positivity.
If you want to be creative with drawing boxes for the gratitude log, you can always doodle different shapes and write one thing you are grateful for every day.
This layout has gratitude things listed randomly in a beautiful manner. Don’t you think it is unique, simple, and minimalistic?
This gratitude jar has days of the month lined up from bottom to top. You can fill the jar with things you are grateful for every day.
This spread is created by sketches.sunny. She has given her own touch to every log. She created a very personal page using doodles, different fonts, and handwriting, and a bit of humor.
Box it up! Create a spread where you write gratitude logs and track your mood together. Allot the dates of the month to every box and fill them with your gratitude logs.
This journal is for you and your eyes only. So do whatever works for you. There are no rules!
Best Gratitude Journal Applications Available
Grateful people can acknowledge and appreciate more goodness in their lives. Gratitude brings out more positive emotions that generally give you life satisfaction. If you want to go green and don’t want to use paper, you can always go digital. There are many gratitude journal applications available out there. Here are the five best ones.
Gratitude App is created by an Indian mobile app developer. This app is for people who are suffering from anxiety and depression. It improves our mental health and the perception of life. Gratitude makes you learn how to love and care for yourself and the people around you.
Moreover, the gratitude app also includes a daily dose of inspiring quotes, affirmations, daily reminders, photo attachments, and Gratitude letters. It is a digital gratitude journal that you can use whenever and wherever.
Live Happy is an app created by the makers of Live Happy magazine. This gratitude app provides you with scientifically and statistically proven tips on well-being, happiness, and a more meaningful life.
Not only on Gratitude, but this application also focuses on the entirety of living a happier and healthier life. You can choose a few activities that you can perform from a set of several activities for the day. And this application will tell you how each one will promote happiness and why.
Not only this, Live Happy also offers interviews and shows from people who share their knowledge of Gratitude, well-being, mindfulness, etc.
356 Gratitude focuses on what is useful in life. This app has a unique format and approach. You can win prizes and rewards when you complete daily challenges. 365 Gratitude features daily prompts on the things that can help appreciate your work, friends, family, and other relationships. It also features a community chat where you can inspire and support others with your words of wisdom. Moreover, this app also has a mood-tracker where you can track your mood daily to understand yourself better.
Altogether, 365 gratitude is more than a gratitude journaling app; it can be called as an accomplishment app.
Day One Journal
The app, Day One Journal, is an award-winning gratitude app. It helps you in developing good habits, including mindfulness and Gratitude. It is named as “the app of the year” by apple. The app is a digital journal with numerous amazing features. You can store photos, audio files, video files, and other data you need. You can also add reminders for important appointments.
Day One Journal also offers a premium subscription where you can get access to more significant app features, including unlimited data storage, syncing all apple devices, prioritized customer support, a 25% book printing discount, etc.
Grateful: A Gratitude Journal
Grateful is an app powered and designed by Treebetty. According to Treebetty, grateful is an app for counting your blessings. It has daily prompts that give you something to write about when your mind is blocked. But, if you don’t feel like answering the prompt, you can choose another one and even write your own if you are in a great mood and want to be creative. Therefore, this app is considered as a no-frills approach to gratitude journaling. There is nothing overly fancy about the Grateful app, and this is what makes the app charming.
- Do gratitude journals work?
Practicing gratitude is good for you. Researchers have found that people who maintain gratitude journals or write gratitude letters to people are reported to be happier and have better health than others.
- Can journaling be harmful?
The answer is yes. In some scenarios, journaling can be harmful. It makes you overthink your life, confronting at times. Writing negative can cause you to spiral down, and you can get stuck inside your journal. But these scenarios are easily avoidable; you just have to moderate the amount of time you are spending on journaling. You should know when to stop. Once you do it, you will automatically find journaling most relaxing.
- What is a bullet journal gratitude log?
A bullet journal gratitude log is a spread we create to write things we are grateful for in life in our bullet journals. We can get creative and make these spreads very fun and unique.
- Which is the best gratitude journal?
The best gratitude journal is the one that works for you. There are many excellent gratitude journal options available in the market. However, the following are some of the hot picks.
- Even Happier
- Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal
- The Happiness Project One-Sentence Journal
- Start With Gratitude: Daily Gratitude Journal
- Happy Journal, Happy Life
- A Life of Gratitude: A Journal to Appreciate It All, Big and Small
- Gratitude and Well Being – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3010965/
- Your Best Life: Breaking the Cycle: The Power of Gratitude – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5085955/
- Gratitude Diary for the Management of Suicidal Inpatients: A Randomized Controlled Trial – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30657226/
Giving thanks can make you happier – https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier#:~:text=In%20positive%20psychology%20research%2C%20gratitude,express%20gratitude%20in%20multiple%20ways.