Practicing gratitude is essential for your health and well-being. This is even important in recent years as we now know the most influential psychological, physical, and social health benefits that come from giving thanks. There are certain practices that will help you reap these benefits and the most common practice is to start a gratitude journal. Studies have shown that this activity offers many impressive benefits like better sleep, fewer symptoms of illnesses, and improved happiness. Create your own gratitude journal example using a template or a format of your choice.
Gratitude Journal Templates
What is a gratitude journal?
Gratitude is an abstract concept that is an important aspect of pro-social behavior and the act of gratitude journaling enhances your well-being. Gratitude is good for you because it makes you think positively and it strengthens your connections with others. This activity shows that you appreciate what other people do for you and that you have noticed their deeds. Gratitude is one of the emotions that’s easy to develop and a gratitude journal is an excellent place to start if you want to start being more grateful.
Why do you need one?
Showing gratitude is a good thing. The Dalai Lama is an advocate of gratitude and it’s no wonder why more people have started taking the time to create their own gratitude list of what they have in their lives. Keeping a gratitude journal is a wonderful way to demonstrate thankfulness each day.
Keeping a journal improves your well-being while gratitude journaling encourages you to write down all of the things that you’re grateful for. Keeping such a journal involves jotting down notes on things we feel grateful for each day. You can choose how long your gratitude list will be and how many details you include. Here are some benefits of keeping a gratitude journal:
- To increase positivity. Giving yourself time to focus on the positive things in your life increases your positivity naturally. Writing everything down makes you more optimistic since you will consciously choose to see more of the positive things in your life. Adopting this attitude will reduce the power of negative emotions. While you can store positive emotions in your subconscious, writing those emotions down will make them real and concrete.
- To improve your self-esteem. A gratitude journal is a highly personal activity that allows you to be more aware of your achievements. Showing gratitude can reduce your likelihood of making social comparisons. By expressing what you’re grateful for, you will be less likely to show resentment toward other people. Gratitude can even increase your self-esteem, which makes you trust other people more.
- To help you sleep better. Spending just 10 to 15 minutes to write down a couple of grateful statements before you go to bed will help you sleep more peacefully. Thinking about the positive experiences of your day or reminding yourself of what you feel grateful for will make you feel less worried. Clearing your head of negative thoughts will also promote a good night’s sleep.
- To feel happier. Showing gratitude is an acknowledgment that you see the goodness in your life. When you write these positive things down, you feel more positive, relish good experiences, and establish stronger relationships, all of which will make you much happier. People who write about gratitude are more optimistic and they feel much better about life.
- To reduce stress. People who feel thankful for the blessings in their lives can care for themselves better. They live healthier because they can manage stress in healthier ways. People who focus on feelings of satisfaction and contentment can counter stress naturally. This will leave them feeling more grounded and can deal with any issue they encounter.
Gratitude Journal Pages
How do you start a gratitude journal entry?
Not all gratitude journal pages are the same. You can just write about your day or you can start with a gratitude quote to expand upon. No matter what style you use, the most important thing is to choose a timing that works best for you. To help you out, here are a few tips for starting your first and succeeding gratitude journal entries:
Select a journal that inspires you
Many consider this the easiest step when starting a new gratitude journal. Some things to consider when choosing your journal are:
- Decide whether you use a physical journal or a digital one.
- Consider if you want to carry your journal around or keep it in one place.
- You can have unlined or lined pages in your journal.
Traditional journals are the most flexible because they are both portable and durable while notepads are ideal for quick note-taking and writing down reminders throughout your day. Whichever you choose, consider whether you use the journal for gratitude journaling exclusively or also for daily planning.
Focus on the benefits
You need to understand what you’re doing first before jumping in. If you know the purpose, it becomes easier to stick with the habit. Writing in a gratitude journal can lower your stress levels, make you feel calmer, and give you more clarity. As you develop this habit, you learn more about yourself and gain a new perspective to recognize your blessings, even the ones that come in disguise. You can also focus your energy and time on the things that make you a happier person.
Set a schedule to write in your journal
When you start writing in your gratitude journal, you might find it difficult to find the time to write because you would feel like you just added another thing to your never-ending to-do list. But if you can include this in your routine, it comes naturally to you. Making a habit of jotting down your thoughts in the journal is the best way to establish this habit.
Try to include this with a habit you already have like eating breakfast or meditating before bed. This makes the task more automatic. Also, change your mindset and consider this task as something you want to do, not something you’re forcing yourself to accomplish. This will make you feel more inspired to write in your journal.
Jotting down your thoughts in your journal will make you experience the many benefits. But you should have consistency. There’s nothing wrong with writing daily entries in your journal. If this works for you, that’s good! If you can only squeeze this activity 1 to 2 times a week, that’s okay too. Once you get into the routine of writing in your journal regularly, you will start noticing the benefits.
Use journal prompts
If this is your first time to start a gratitude journal, you might feel like it’s a daunting undertaking, especially when you staring at the first page. To make things easier for you, consider using writing prompts like:
- Writing about a time when you felt grateful for something that someone did for you.
- Writing about some specific ways to show gratitude to someone without saying the words, “thank you.”
- What’s something unique in your life that you feel grateful for?
- Writing a thank you note and address it to yourself.
- Choosing a photo, attaching it to your journal, and writing something about the photo and why it makes you feel grateful.
- Writing about something you look forward to.
- Writing about something that you have in your life but didn’t have one year ago.
- Thinking about a person who helped create the person you are today and what that person means to you.
Come up with new topics too
Thinking of new things to write about can be quite challenging even if you have a lot of experience with journaling. What you want to write might not be familiar or new topics. If you have already written about a specific topic, think of a new way to present or discuss that topic.
For example, you have already written about why you’re grateful to your partner. Now, try to write about your partner while seeing them from another perspective. You could find new things to write about like how they changed your life, when you first met them, and more. You can write about any subject, whether simple or relevant. If you still find it difficult to think of a topic, go online to find unique gratitude journal ideas to help you get over your writer’s block.
Try different things
When it comes to writing in a gratitude journal, there are no strict or standard rules. This is the most liberating part of this activity. You can make it all about your interests and the things that make you happy. You can even sketch some doodles, write on unlined pages, or make simple illustrations with your drawings.
If you are a visual person, you can even practice your photography skills and paste your photos on the pages of your to create a scrapbook-journal combination. You can even get your family involved as you develop your writing habit. Share the things you feel grateful for with your family or talk about them in your nightly routine. Doing this will be a great bonding experience for everyone.
Keep checking in with yourself
Knowing the reason why you want to start a new habit is essential. Checking in with yourself regularly is important too. Try to observe if you will feel any different about life after a week, a month, or a year.
Observe if your happiness levels have improved over time. Also, observe if your interaction with other people has improved. Determine if your self-talk has become positive. You can even review your journal and read your previous entries to see how much you have progressed.
Gratitude Journal Examples
How do you write a gratitude journal?
Using a gratitude journal or gratitude worksheets involves reflecting on and recording the things that you feel grateful for. Getting used to writing in your journal will help rewire your mind so that you can focus more on the positive parts of your life. From there, you will develop resilience against adverse emotions and situations.
Gratitude journaling is a popular practice in positive psychology, which is the scientific study of happiness. It’s also called “counting your blessings.” Although the format of your journal matters, it’s not as important as how you use it. Some create bullet-style journals while others prefer writing longer posts to express themselves. Here are some pointers for you to consider when writing in your journal:
Don’t just go through the process blindly
Based on psychological research work, they have suggested that gratitude journaling is more effective if you first choose to become more grateful and happier consciously. Some psychologists also say that the motivation to become happier plays a significant role in how effective your journaling process is.
Choose depth over length
If you want to add more details about a specific topic for which you feel grateful, it will lead to more benefits compared to creating a superficial list of several things without thinking about each of them.
Be both honest and personal
If you can focus on the people to whom you feel grateful, you will create a greater impact compared to if you focus only on the things for which you feel grateful.
Don’t keep adding things all the time
A great way to stimulate gratitude is to reflect on what your life would be like if you don’t have the blessings you have now. This is more effective than keeping score of the good things you have.
Savor blessings and surprises
Record in your journal any unexpected events or surprises as these will elicit deeper and more intense feelings of gratitude.
Don’t overdo your journaling
Starting your journaling process by writing occasionally can be more beneficial than forcing yourself to journal each day. In the beginning, writing 1 to 2 times each week is okay.
In a study, the researchers found that people who wrote in their journals one time each week for 6 weeks reported an increase in their levels of happiness. But those who wrote 3 times each week didn’t. These findings led them to believe that we adjust to positive events quickly, especially if we focus on them constantly. It might seem counterintuitive, but that’s how our minds work.