Starting a gratitude journal will change your life and open your eyes to everything around you that is good with the world. But sometimes you can get “stuck” figuring out what to feel grateful for. Here are tips and ideas along with journal questions that can get your wheels turning for your gratitude journal!
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What Is A Gratitude Journal?
If you are feeling down or confused, there is no better way to feel good again than to start a gratitude journal.
Remembering all the good things in your life, current and past, makes you realize how wonderful life can be, even if you are struggling right in this moment.
While some people say there are “rules” for a gratitude journal (like you have to do it before bed, or you have to write in it everyday), I have found that I like to journal when I need it most, when thoughts (mostly negative) are swirling around in my head.
That is when I get the most benefit, when I force myself to stop obsessing about everything that is wrong and focus on what is right in the world!
Here are my best gratitude writing prompts to help you get started!
Additional Resource: How To Start A New Gratitude Journal
What's Happening Today?
This is my favorite section! I like to think about what has been going on TODAY that is awesome (my husband made baked almonds, my son helped with his grandma, my daughter started a new job). Focusing on what I am grateful for today reminds us that even in times of trouble some good things are happening!
What made you laugh today?
What is today’s weather and what is one positive thing you can say about it?
What is one something you’ve learned this week that you're thankful for?
List 10 things you are looking forward to in the next year.
What habits or routines bring you joy? What was different today?
What is your favorite part of your daily routine?
Ohhhh friends… I sometimes call these people my chosen family too! Thinking about your friends can help in so many ways… generally you don't have as much history with friends and lots of good memories to think about.
Describe your oldest friend. What do you like most about this person?
Who is the one friend you can always rely on?
Who is someone that consistently makes your life easier or better.
Who made you smile in the past 24 hours and why?
Who is your newest friend?
Who is your oldest friend?
Who can you count on whenever you need someone to talk to and why?
Name and write about someone you’ve never met, but who has helped your life in some way.
Family Journalling Prompts
If your life with family members was terrible, maybe start with some other prompts, but if not, many family memories can bring comfort! Even though my Mom passed over 20 years ago, I love remembering when we made crafts while my dad attended graduate school. I KNOW I got my love of art from my mom!
Who is your favorite person in your family?
Describe a family tradition that you are most grateful for.
What is your favorite memory of your father (or stepfather)?
Describe a weird family tradition that you love?
What is your favorite memory of your mother (or stepmother)?
Describe your favorite pet (or former pet) and what you love(d) about it.
Who are you most like, your Mother or your Father?
Childhood Journal Prompts
Oh those carefree times when we were little! I love thinking back on lazy days spent playing outside for hours in the old farmhouse dump among the broken glass bottles (it was a different time then!) There are so many good memories in the past to be grateful for.
Describe your happiest childhood memory.
What is the biggest lesson you learned in childhood?
What childhood family trip do you remember most?
Where did you grow up, in the country or the city?
Who is a teacher or mentor that has made an impact on your life and how did they help you?
What is your favorite memory of your grandparents?
Natural and Outdoor Prompts
Nature can be such a calming influence! I love thinking about the gifts of animals, birds, plants and water. Oh and mountains, having lived in Colorado mountains always make me smile.
What is your favorite way to enjoy nature? (i.e. walking in the woods, sitting on the beach, or hiking in the mountains, etc.)
Any experiences with nature today? How did it affect you?
What is your favorite wild animal, and why?
How are the seasons affecting your mood today?
Does rain make you happy or sad?
Holiday Journal Prompts
The holidays are my favorite time of year (from Halloween to Christmas!) My birthday always started off the season (October 29th) and from there it was all fun and food and presents.
What is your favorite holiday and why do you love it?
What did your family do for Christmas that seems super special now?
What do you love most about Easter?
Who would you pick to be your Valentine this year?
What are you grateful for this year?
What are your favorite Thanksgiving foods?
Pop Culture Gratitude Prompts (Books, Movies & Music)
You know that song you listened to, driving on back roads with your bestie Suzanne with the Firebird top down (just me?) Music and movies always remind of what was going on when I first saw or heard them!
What is a popular song that you enjoy (and why do you like it)?
Who was your first “popular” crush?
What is your favorite movie and why do you love it?
What is a great book you’ve recently read?
What is one of your favorite songs from your childhood?
What is your favorite T.V. show and why do you love it?
Describe a funny YouTube video that you recently watched.
Remember “not home” when we used to go out in the world and see other sights? That will come back sometime and now is a great time to remember trips you have taken or ones that you have planned for the future!
What trips are you looking forward to? What excites you?
What is a favorite country that you’ve visited?
What do you like the most about your town or city?
How many of the Wonders of the World have you seen?
What is your all time favorite trip you have ever taken?
YES there can be good things about work (I love my work!) Especially when work is frustrating, it is great to remember things that make you happy, even if it only the donuts in the breakroom!
Describe the last time you procrastinated on a task that wasn’t as difficult as you thought it would be.
Describe the last time someone helped you solve a problem at work.
List 10 things you like about your job or workplace.
What was your first job? Did you love it?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
What is the biggest accomplishment in your professional life?
Has anything been going particularly well at work? Why?
What is a major lesson that you learned from your job?
I LOVE hearing taps played (my dad used to sing it to me when I was little!) or any other soul clearing patriotic song when I am down. You may love seeing the monuments or watching soldier return videos! These are mostly for the United States, but you can use them for your country too!
What do you love most about your country?
What is your favorite patriotic song?
What is your favorite national monument?
What is your favorite national park?
Who is your favorite military veteran?
What freedoms are you most grateful for?
All Your Senses
I almost didn't do these, but they are so good for bringing out gratitude! I love the smell of fall, the burning leaves and crisp cold air, oh and hay and horserides… see how these can bring back great thoughts!
Describe your favorite smell.
Describe your favorite sound.
Describe your favorite sight.
Describe your favorite taste.
Describe your favorite sensation.
Hobbies & Home Prompts
These are my favorite kinds of thoughts, of my homes and the people I love who I live with! Oh and crafts and hobbies, I love those too!
List 10 hobbies and activities that bring you joy?
What makes a house a home to you?
If you were going to paint a room in your house a crazy color, what would it be?
What is your favorite house of all time?
What is your favorite food you love to indulge in?
Describe your favorite location in your house and why you like it.
What is a recent purchase that has added value to your life?
Self Help Prompts
Like the family ones, if you are in a super bad place, maybe start with an easier set of prompts, but if you are thinking about doing a bit more deep work, these are GREAT!
What is the biggest accomplishment in your personal life?
What is a mistake that I’ve made, which ultimately led to a positive experience?
Write about a recent obstacle you faced and how you overcame it.
What is the hardest thing you’ve had to do, which led to a major personal accomplishment?
What is something positive you can learn from one of your negative qualities? (i.e. Being anxious means you’re really good at planning things out.)
List 10 skills you have that most people don’t possess.
List 10 ways you can share your gratitude with other people in the next 24 hours.
List 10 items that you take for granted, which might not be available to people in other parts of the world (i.e. Clean water, electricity, etc.)
Write about a recent time when a stranger did something nice for you.
How can you pamper yourself in the next 24 hours?
How is your life more positive today than it was a year ago?
Describe a “perfect day” that you recently had.
List 10 qualities do you like about yourself.
What do other people like about you?
Did you catch yourself smiling at anything today?
When was the last time you had a genuine belly laugh and why was it so funny?
If you’re single, what is your favorite part about being single?
If you’re married, what is your favorite part about being married?
What is one aspect of your health that you’re more grateful for?
Gratitude Journal Prompts Wrapup
Whew, that was A LOT to think about and the one thing that I will say to not try to put every one of these in every time you sit down to journal and practice gratitude!
Maybe pick a theme for the week or the month and then journal about that theme for a while until you run out and then pick another theme for a while!
Or you can skip around, OR have set series of questions you ask yourself every day.
The one thing you shouldn't do is make so many “rules” that you lose the joy that comes from being grateful and writing about your gratitude for the amazing life we have been given! Starting a habit of gratitude is one of the best gifts you can give yourself!