I Kept a Gratitude Journal for 30 Days — Here's What I Learned
I’ve been going through a bit of slump lately — perhaps due to exhaustion, (over)working from home, or just one of those life ruts we can all fall into from time to time. To help improve my mindset, I decided to try keeping a gratitude journal for 30 days. Here’s what I learned from it.
Keeping a Gratitude Journal: The Basics
Gratitude journals are used for writing down what you’re thankful for: someone special in your life, strong coffee, a favorite song, your health, or even something as simple as a beautiful flower you saw today. Research suggests gratitude can benefit your mental health and help you shift your focus away from “toxic emotions.”
To start a gratitude journal, all you really need is a notebook. But I’m all about simplicity when I’m trying to form a new habit, so I wanted a journal with built-in prompts, questions, and guides. I decided on the Good Days Start with Gratitude 52-week journal. Each date has three lines where you can list what you’re thankful for, and the journal also includes inspirational quotes and longer writing prompts.
Because I’m a total “out of sight, out of mind” kind of person, I kept the journal on my nightstand, where it was visible and accessible. That made my nightly gratitude routine easier to stick to. I also recommend setting alerts on your phone throughout the day to jot down what you’re grateful for in that moment. Not only did that make it easier to fill out the journal at night, but it also had a profound effect on my mood — I was getting frequent reminders to stop and notice something good in my life. It may seem cliché, but it really did boost me up.
Commit to 30 Days
I committed to keeping a gratitude journal for 30 days — and I’m glad I did, because it forced me to dig deeper with my gratitude list.
After the first few days, I started to run out of obvious gratitudes like “I’m grateful for my dad” or “I’m thankful for my house.” That mean I had to get creative and pay attention to little details like, “I’m grateful for the cute dog that gave me a slobbery kiss outside of Whole Foods today” or “I’m grateful that my boyfriend felt comfortable enough to talk to me about some of the hardships he’s going through.” By getting more specific, I was able to deepen the emotional boost I got from writing down my gratitude list.
I found that there’s so much to be grateful for if you’re tuned into it. Because I knew I’d be writing my list each night, I was always on the lookout for small, seemingly insignificant things that made me happy throughout the day. I’d notice how grateful I was for things I usually took for granted — like having curly hair or the smell of a luxurious shampoo. There’s a lot of good stuff in the world, if you’re looking for it!
20 Gratitude Journal Prompts
Need some inspiration for your gratitude list? Whether you’re using a journal, a notebook, or a notepad app on your phone, here are some fun gratitude journal prompts to get you started.
- Write about a time you were grateful for something your family did for you.
- What are five things about your best friend you’re most grateful for?
- Write three things you’re grateful for about your body.
- Describe a pet you’re thankful for.
- What do you enjoy most about your neighborhood or city?
- What about your childhood are you most grateful for?
- What is a goal you have achieved recently and why was it important to you?
- Describe one of your hobbies and list a few reasons it brings you joy.
- List three things your partner has done for you today that made you happy.
- What is a song you heard recently that brought you joy?
- What is something that made you smile today?
- What are three things you’re most grateful for in your partner?
- Describe the last time a coworker helped you.
- What are five things you like about your boss?
- What are three skills you’re thankful to have?
- Describe your favorite meal.
- What was the last great day you had, and what made it so special?
- What’s a funny family tradition you have?
- Talk about something painful you had to overcome, and how it made you stronger.
- When was the last time you gave back to someone less fortunate than you, and how did that make you feel?
Where to Buy a Gratitude Journal
Pick one up at your local bookstore, or explore the internet for options — you’ll find gratitude journals at any price point. There are tons to choose from, whether you want a blank journal or a book full of prompts. Here are a few to look into:
- Dailygreatness Original Diary is a daily planner that includes prompts for meditation, dream journaling, gratitude, and weekly check-ins.
- Good Days Start With Gratitude is a simple, straightforward gratitude journal with quotes and writing prompts to keep you inspired.
- Grateful is a gratitude journal app with daily prompts such as “What made you smile today?”
- The 6-Minute Diary helps you cultivate a morning and evening gratitude routine — three minutes each — with prompts like, “When was the last time you cried tears of joy?” and “This is how I’ll make today great.”
- Gratitude: A Day and Night Reflection Journal is a 90-day journal with space for a morning meditation and evening reflection each day.