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It’s no secret that showing gratitude is good for you. The simple habit of reflecting on what you’re grateful for on a regular basis can actually lead to a happier, more content life.

Often we focus too much attention on the negative aspects of our lives. Criticizing and focusing on problems comes easily. For most of us, appreciation and focusing on the good takes effort.

What is a gratitude journal?

A gratitude journal is a record of things that you personally appreciate or are thankful for in your life. It can be a cute blank journal or a diary with a lock. It could also be a part of your bullet journal. Ultimately, the best gratitude journal is one that you write in regularly.

When you take the time to focus on the good things in your life, you naturally become more positive. By writing down what you are thankful for on a regular basis, you are choosing to see more of the positive things in your life, giving less power to negative emotions.

While regular journaling can improve your well-being, writing down all the things that you are grateful for can take the experience to a whole new level. Expressing your thoughts by writing them down has more advantages than if you just think the thoughts. It makes you more aware of them and can deepen the emotional impact it has on you. People who practice gratitude on a regular basis are predominantly happy because they see the positive in negative situations.

What do you write in a gratitude journal?

Gratitude is a skill anyone can develop. All it takes is a bit of practice. Don’t think of it as a burden or a responsibility. There’s no right or wrong way to keep a gratitude journal. The things you list can be relatively small in importance or large. The goal is to remember a good event, experience, person, or thing in your life, then enjoy the good emotions that come with it.

Start small, maybe just three items per entry. Lots of sources suggest you write down five things you’re grateful for every time you sit down to write, but it’s helpful to give yourself a little leeway. If five things occur to you, write them all down. Write down ten things you’re grateful for if they occur to you. When you have a hard time drumming up the gratitude, be content with just three items.

Starting and maintaining a journal can be difficult at first, but after a while you develop a practice that keeps you accountable to developing appreciation and enjoying happier days. Keep doing it until it becomes a habit.

What you need to start a gratitude journal

As with any new project, start with gathering supplies. You could simply grab your favorite notebook, write “Gratitude” on the cover, and date the pages.

If you’re new to gratitude journaling, it may feel daunting to look at a blank page. The journals below are helpful because there are prompts that make you think outside of the box, and can make you grateful for things in your life that you might have forgot about.

 

Now that you know how to get started, you’re well on your way to a successful gratitude journaling practice. You might find that reflecting on the things you’re grateful for will inspire you to express that gratitude to others. Just remember not to get discouraged when starting your gratitude journal, it takes time to create a new habit.