It’s especially important in these troubled times to practice gratitude so that you can balance the bad with the good, but it is exactly these troubled times that make that harder to do. After all, it can seem like an impossible task to see any positives when there is so much going on in the world.
(Image source: A Cup of Music Please)
However, it is those positives (and there are many, no matter how dire the situation) which will get you through, and see that life is still pretty good, despite the potholes in the road.
This article will give you 13 gratitude journal prompts to use in the morning and evening that will really give your mind clarity and raise your vibrations so that you continue to attract more good things into your life.
Why Write In Your Gratitude Journal Every Morning and Evening?
You know how it is; the second you wake up in the morning your mind starts turning, churning out thought after thought about the day ahead; your chores, who you’re seeing, what you’re doing, how work is going to go, what’s for dinner…it’s exhausting. And that’s before you’ve even gotten out of bed.
Equally, going to sleep can be difficult when you have masses of thoughts running around in your head about the day that has just gone, a job you forgot to do, or something silly you said 20 years ago to your next-door neighbor-but-one.
By setting aside 15 minutes at the beginning and end of the day to write in your gratitude journal will allow you to start and end the day on a positive note.
Use one or more of these prompts every day to help you get started.
1. What Am I Looking Forward To?
Having something to look forward to is vital to happiness, and sometimes the anticipation is even better than the event. Looking forward to the future brings the joy of the event into the here and now, and also gives a sense of hope for the days, months, and years to come.
- What is happening next week that I am looking forward to?
- What fun things does the next month hold for me?
- Is there a bigger event happening in the next year which excites me just to think about it?
- If there aren’t any events scheduled, then what can I do to change that?
Fun or exciting events create four stages of happiness – the anticipation, the savoring of the moment itself, sharing that excitement with others – either before or after the event – and then looking back on it.
2. What Have I Done That I’m Proud of?
Having pride in one’s achievements is a great way to increase your self-worth. No matter how big or small the accomplishment, people who take pride in what they’ve accomplished are happier, more content, full of gratitude for life, and tend to be able to motivate other people. There will be many moments in your life which you are proud of, so choose a different one each day.
- Raising children
- Buying your first car
- Acing that exam
- Giving up your seat on the train to someone less able
- Stopping smoking
Your life will be full of moments to be proud of, and recalling them will be a lot of fun.
3. What’s Changed in the Past Year Which I’m Grateful For?
Life drives us forward, even when we don’t realize it, and it’s only by reflecting on the past that we can really see how far we’ve come. Look back through the past year and find one point (there will be many) that has changed for the better.
- Is my diet better now than it was?
- Have I moved to a better house?
- Did I get a promotion?
- Have I ditched the job I hated for one I love?
- Have I started a new relationship?
- Did I end a bad relationship?
- Have I saved money?
- Did I visit a place I’ve never been to before?
Every single one of us will have made changes in the past year, so seek out the ones which bring you the most joy, and write about them in your journal.
4. What One Thing About Today am I Grateful For?
This is a really useful skill to have on your gratitude journey, as it brings your focus into the here and now and makes you look at the world with fresh eyes. When you begin to see small things in your every day that bring you joy, your life will change in wonderful ways.
- My coffee tastes wonderfully rich today
- The rain is going to give my plants a good watering
- The sun is shining – I can top up my vitamin D
- It’s my day off
- It’s my boss’ day off
- My car started
- My avocado was perfectly ripe
These may sound like trivial things, but every one of them (and many more besides) are things that other people might not have, so we are, in fact, fortunate to have them.
5. What Parts of My Job Do I Enjoy?
Monday morning blues are a thing for many people, but by reflecting on the parts of the job you enjoy will raise your gratitude levels and show you that actually, your job is pretty awesome in many ways.
- Which work colleagues am I grateful for?
- What things can I do that being paid allows me to do?
- What do I like about that Friday Feeling?
- Am I learning new skills while being paid?
- Do I enjoy having a change of scenery every day?
- Would I prefer to eat my lunch alone every day, or use it as a time to catch up with my workmates?
When you begin to see the positives in going to work, Monday to Friday stops being a chore and becomes something to look forward to.
6. What Thing Do I Own That Makes My Life Easier?
This question could keep you journaling for a month, as, without even realizing it, we are surrounded by things that make life easier. Learning to recognize the positive role these items play is a great step along the gratitude journey.
- How does my car help me?
- Does TV enhance my life?
- In what ways does my Kindle enable me?
- How long would I spend in the bathroom if I only had a bath instead of a shower?
- What would happen without my alarm clock? My cooker? My fridge?
We all take these everyday items for granted, but without them, our lives would be exponentially harder. Imagine how different life would be if you didn’t have the phone/laptop/tablet you’re reading this on!
7. What Books am I Most Grateful For?
Reading feeds the soul, and most bibliophiles will have a select few books which really stand out for them. Choose just one such book and write down the reasons why you chose it.
- What memories does this book evoke?
- How does this book make me feel?
- What part of this book stands out the most?
- Where was I when I read this book?
- What did this book teach me?
8. What Tradition am I Grateful For?
Whether we realize it or not, our lives are steeped in tradition; things which have been passed down from generation to generation, perhaps, or maybe a newer tradition which has been started within your own family. Think of one and write about it in your gratitude journal, using these prompts as inspiration:
- When did this tradition start?
- What memories does this tradition conjure up?
- Who first started it?
- How do I feel when I think about this tradition?
- Is this a new tradition or have I carried it on?
9. What Mistakes Have I Made Which Turned Out to Be a Blessing?
Very often, what we perceive as a failure on our part can turn out to be one of the best things which ever happened to us, which is why this gratitude journal prompt is so important. Think back over your life and choose a time when you felt like you’d made a mistake, and then think about the following questions.
- Was it really such a big deal?
- Did that ‘mistake’ ruin my life or actually make it better?
- Did losing that one thing leave the door open for something bigger and better?
- Where would I be now if I hadn’t made that mistake?
- Am I still upset about it, or am I grateful for it paving the way to something more enjoyable?
It is said that when one door closes, it’s the universe’s way of showing you something much better, and when you look back on your past perceived failures, you will begin to see that at work.
10. What One Thing in This Room am I Grateful For?
When we’re used to seeing the same things day after day, it can be so easy to take them for granted, but so many of our possessions come with a story. Choose something in the room you’re in now, and explore it.
- What is the object?
- How does it make me feel?
- Where did I get it from?
- Did I buy it or was it gifted to me?
- Where was I when I bought it/received it?
- What other memories are attached to it?
- Was anyone with me at the time?
By looking at the object itself, you will bring about a whole world of feelings, memories, and anecdotes to be grateful for, and which will fill your gratitude journal with wonderful thoughts.
11. What Have I Made Recently?
This could be absolutely anything, from a drawing or a painting, to the meal you had last night, but whenever you make anything at all, you are tapping into your creativity. This, in turn, allows for expression, freedom, and a belief in yourself.
- Choose one thing you have made recently, and think about it
- Why did you make it?
- How did you feel when making it?
- How did you feel when you’d finished making it?
- Were you proud of yourself?
- What did you do with it once it was made?
All of these prompts will lead you to gratitude as you explore where your creativity took you and will inspire you to either make it again or aim to do even better.
12. Name One Person Who Influenced Me in my Life
We’re all influenced by people we meet along the way, but it doesn’t have to be a ‘real-life’ person. Work through these suggestions for ways to open up a ‘dialogue’ in your gratitude journal.
- Is there a teacher who influenced me, and why?
- Did I have a relative or family friend who I looked up to?
- Was there a character on TV or in the movies who resonated with me?
- What about a character in a book who has really made me examine my thoughts and ways
- How about a musician whose words and music inspired me in my formative years?
Influences come from everywhere but we don’t often recognize them. This gratitude journal prompt will help you to see these influences for what they are and the way they moved your life.
13. If I Had to Choose One Photo Which Makes Me Smile, it Would Be This One
Photographs are so important because they can instantly transport us back to that moment in time. Choose one photograph and use it as a prompt for today’s entry into your journal.
- Who is in the photo with me?
- Where was the photo taken?
- Who took the photo?
- How old was I?
- How did I feel in that photo?
- What emotions does it invoke now?
- What was happening when that photo was taken?
- Is there a story behind the clothes I am wearing?
A photo is a frozen second in time, and a wonderful way to remember the past. Looking back and really noticing the details behind the picture is a wonderfully nostalgic way of feeling gratitude for good times that have passed.
Starting a gratitude journal can be difficult, especially if you are new to the idea. Use these prompts either at the start of the day or in the evening – or even both – and you will find the floodgates opening to gratitude in every part of your life.