10 Prompts for Gratitude Journaling

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February 21, 2014
Over the last couple months (though I'm totally not a huge 'journaler'), I've gotten into an oh-so-fulfilling habit of gratitude journaling. If you've never taken time to keep a gratitude journal, it's exactly what it sounds like--journaling about things you feel grateful for. The first few times I g-journaled (hah "g-journal"...sounds totally street, right?), I literally just made a list of things I was grateful for, kindergartener-at-thanksgiving style. And it got boring. I mean, how fulfilling is it really to write out that I'm thankful for my friends and family (duh)?

It was just not the way to do it. Since then, I've come up with more thorough, more specific, more creative prompts that I use when I g-journal. Varying what I write about + learning to write more precisely has done wonders for the practice. I love going back and reading my favorite bits of my days from months ago! Because I want to share that lovely-happy-fuzzy feeling, here are ten of my favorite prompts for gratitude journaling.

1. Take a walk outside for ten minutes of so. Just walk to the end of your street and back. Take in the beauty around you + appreciate the feeling of being outside, from nature to the fresh air you're breathing. Take note of three beautiful things you noticed. When you get home, journal about those things, why you appreciate them + how they made you feel.

2. At the end of the day, review your day + what you did. Think of at least two or three things that you did today that you're proud of--even if it's small. Did you ace that research paper? Or did you exercise even though you didn't want to? Write that down, as well as why it happened. This can help remind you what behaviors make you feel good + encourage you to do those more often!

3. Write a thank you note to someone--no one said gratitude was meant to stay private! Be thorough + specific, reminding that person of how much you need + appreciate them in your life. Bonus points if it's for someone unexpected, like a cafeteria server or assistant. Now go deliver that little envelope of love!

4. Take stock of all the various spheres of your life + spend a day being grateful for them. Take one day to be thankful for...your school/work, your family, your friends, your home, your lifestyle, your own body (yes!) or things that you read or heard during the day. As always, get specific! What do your friends do exactly that makes you so grateful? Is it that they are always happy to eat ice cream with you late at night after a bad day? Or they always make you laugh? 

5. Think of some of your favorite memories with friends, with family, as a child, or while traveling. Write down as much as you remember about that time, down to the thoughts in your head and the sights and smells around you.

6. If you've had a bad day, take time to nurture ideas about how you can turn the bad things into good things. If you got in a fight with your best friend for example, reflect on it + yourself, looking to see if you can apologize for something or communicate your feelings more calmly and clearly. 

7. Pick one person, just one person, that you're thankful for. The person who helped you out on that big project? The stranger who smiled at your in the grocery store when you looked upset? Someone who chose to celebrate with you? If you can't write them a thank you note, write a thank you note to God/the world/their momma for putting them into your life today.

8. Draw a picture of something that made you happy today, whatever that may be. When you're done, write a little blurb about the emotions that the picture could not express.

9. Write about your greatest achievements in your life. Then write about your smallest, but most cherished achievements.

10. This one's less a prompt but more something not to write about. Be careful not to write about something because you think you should be grateful for it. Some days, you may be grateful for your family. Some days, you may not be. That's okay. Embrace the things you're grateful for, not the things you think you should be grateful for.

I hope you put time into this awesome practice! I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments--how do you write in your gratitude journal?

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