Research shows that gratitude makes you happier. One of the simplest ways to cultivate a grateful heart is to keep a gratitude journal. It can be as simple as taking time each day to write down the things you’re grateful for. Or, if you want to get creative with it, you can use gratitude journal prompts to keep your focus fresh each day. The following are just a few of our favorite gratitude prompts.
1. What are the 3 best things that happened to you today?
This is a classic prompt, but it’s powerful. Just pause and try to think of three things to be grateful for in your world right now. It can be something as simple as a warm smile from a coffee shop barista or as big as a raise at work.
2. Think of a quote that inspires you. How can you apply it to your life right now?
Reflecting on a meaningful quote can lift you up and help you through the day. Try thinking of quotes related to gratitude specifically. You can find many of them among our inspirational signs. For example, we’ve always been partial to the quote, “Begin each day with a grateful heart.” That’s what practicing gratitude is all about in your everyday life.
3. Make a list of 5 people who shaped your life in a positive way.
When you take time to be grateful for the people who made a positive difference in your life, it helps you to remember how far you’ve come, how much you’ve grown, and how you too can be a light in other people’s lives. It also serves as a humbling reminder that there are some amazing people who have your back.
4. Who inspires you to be a better person?
This goes hand in hand with the previous prompt. Think of someone who inspires you to better yourself, whether it’s a public figure, a celebrity, a coach, or someone in your own day-to-day life. Then try to think of the qualities that make that person so inspiring. Take a moment to feel grateful for that person’s influence and consider how that influence has helped shape your own life—or how it can still shape your life for the better.
5. What made you smile today?
This is similar to the first prompt, but a bit more abstract. Even if you’re having your toughest day of the year, you can usually find a reason to smile. Maybe it was the smell of cedar as you took your morning walk, your favorite song playing on the radio, or a hilarious joke you heard on your morning commute.
6. Name an accomplishment from the past year that you’re proud of.
This is another one of our favorite gratitude journaling prompts. As we navigate the challenges of each day, it’s easy to lose sight of the incredible accomplishments we’ve made. So take time to reflect on one of those accomplishments and just how amazing it is.
7. Think about a time in your life when you overcame insurmountable odds.
When you consider the ways you’ve beaten the odds, it’s hard not to feel gratitude. Think of a time when you’ve proven your doubters wrong or risen above adversity when you could barely believe it yourself. When you consider the magnitude of this type of accomplishment, it puts a lot of things into perspective—especially when you consider that you still have that same amazing potential inside of you. So practice gratitude for your most outstanding accomplishments.
8. Think of one friend you’re extremely grateful for. Why?
Your “friend” can be a childhood friend, a BFF, a spouse, a close relative, or anyone who supports you, inspires you, and is always there for you. These people make our lives better every day.
9. Name something you’re grateful for that your parents and grandparents didn’t have.
We take for granted a lot of amazing privileges, technologies, and conveniences that once would have been inconceivable. What modern conveniences are you grateful for, and how have they enriched your life?
10. Think of a movie or book that touched your soul.
Powerful art can educate us, make us cry, encourage us to look at the world in a new way, and even change our lives. Think of a piece of art that had that type of impact on you—and consider why it was so meaningful.
11. Name a possession that makes your life easier.
It could be a technology that saves you time, a self-improvement book that keeps you motivated, or even a smartphone app that helps you manage your professional or personal life. It could even be something as simple as a photograph of your family that helps you stay inspired when times get tough.
12. Make a list of things you take for granted.
When you acknowledge that you take something for granted, you bring yourself one step closer to appreciating it—and appreciating your situation in life. There’s a really profound quote that goes, “I still remember the days I prayed for the things I have now.” It’s such a simple but beautiful sentiment; it immediately puts things into perspective. You can reflect on this message daily by hanging an I Still Remember the Days Wood-Framed Sign in your home.
13. What’s the best thing that happened to you this week?
Maybe you can’t think of a great thing that happened today, but surely you can think of something from the past week. Make a conscious effort to reflect on the good things, and gratitude will come naturally.
14. What are 3 foods you can’t live without?
If there’s one thing we can all be grateful for, it’s delicious food. Food doesn’t just nourish us. It brings families together, keeps traditions alive, conjures heartfelt memories, and provides warmth and comfort. What are three foods you can’t live without? Do they have meaning to you beyond just the flavor?
Make time for gratitude practice
There are countless other gratitude journal ideas and gratitude writing prompts, but these should provide plenty of inspiration to get the ball rolling. Set a few minutes aside for gratitude journaling each day, and see how it can change your life.