Start a gratitude journal: how to use one, prompts, and the best you can buy

Discover how writing down all the things you're grateful for can benefit you.

woman thoughtfully writing

by Emily Thorpe |

Sometimes when times are tough or you’re simply feeling a bit down, it can be helpful to look at the things that you are grateful for as a way to make you feel better or more positive. One way to do this is by using a gratitude journal.

What is a gratitude journal?

Quite simply, a gratitude journal is a tool usually in the form of a notebook, diary, or even an app that provides a space for you to write down the things you are grateful for. And when you think about it really hard, there is always something to feel grateful about.

Regularly using a gratitude journal ultimately helps prepare you for bad moments you experience, showing you the positives in life when you may be inclined to feel negative. Although you might not be able to think of things to be grateful for when you’re in the thick of going through a bad patch, reading through your gratitude journal can help remind you of the good things in life and ultimately make you feel better.

Related: 10 wellness journals to help you become more mindful

How do I use a gratitude journal?

It really is very simple to start your own gratitude journal. All you need to do is write or type all those things you are grateful for. You can do this in a dedicated gratitude journal, a diary, notebook, the notes app on your phone, or on a laptop or computer using a Word document.

Once you’ve chosen the place for your positive thoughts, next you just want to start noting down all the things you are grateful for.

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Gratitude journal prompts

If you’re struggling to think of things to write in your gratitude journal, don’t worry – it can take some time to get in the right frame of mind. Here are some prompts to get you started:

• What did you accomplish today?

• Which friend or family member are you grateful for.

• A mistake or failure that you are grateful for.

• What book(s) are you grateful for?

• What’s an accomplishment you’re proud of?

• What musician are you grateful for?

• What do you like about your job?

• A memory that makes you happy.

• A family tradition that you are most grateful for.

Gratitude journal examples

• Discovering a new walk you never knew existed.

• Spending time with your grandchildren.

• Good news about a potential health problem.

• Your pet and the happiness they bring you.

• Successfully making a delicious cake.

Gratitude journals to buy

Just so you know, while we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this page, we never allow this to influence product selections. Why trust us?

Mal Paper Daily Goal Setter Planner

Mal Paper Daily Goal Setter Planner
Amazon

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Tried and tested by Commercial Content Writer, Eleanor Weaver "As well as looking and feeling luxurious, available in soft-touch black, tan, and grey, I love how easy it was to use this planner to incorporate gratitude into my everyday routine. I love to write lists, and this journal served as a daily planner for organising my day, whilst framing it with quick and easy gratitude and affirmation prompts which really made a different. Taking the time out to focus on the positive set me up for a good day and the cheat sheet included in the planner helped me to prioritise my 'to-dos', keeping me from being overwhelmed or stressed. "This planner comes with enough space to plan for six months, as well as including pages to outline your long, medium, and short term goals, and proactively organise each month and reflect. "Using this planner has made a world of different to my routine, and has introduced more positive practices into my life - I would definitely recommend and it's certainly worth investing in for your self-care."

Stay Grounded Gratitude Journal

Stay Grounded Gratitude Journal

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An amazing pick from Papier, this journal focuses on gratitude, putting your appreciation onto paper. The journal features daily prompts as well as monthly check-ins, with uplifting affirmations, activities and mottos throughout. We love the list of gratitude tips Papier have thought of to get you started. Plus, a month's free subscription to the mindfulness and meditation app Headspace when you order a Papier gratitude journal.

The 6-Minute Diary Gratitude Journal

The 6-Minute Diary Gratitude Journal
Amazon

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Available in nine different colours to suit your personality, this simple and science-based gratitude journal will help you practice mindfulness and gratitude daily, weekly, and monthly to build positive habits that'll keep you motivated and inspired.

The Five Minute Journal: A Happier You in 5 Minutes a Day

The Five Minute Journal A Happier You in 5 Minutes a Day
Amazon

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With a simple structured format that takes just 5 minutes, The Five Minute Journal is a quick and effective way to focus your attention on the good to help you feel better every day. Follow the prompts each morning to practice gratitude, affirmations, and positive mental wellbeing.

The Mini Gratitude 30-Day Journal

The Mini Gratitude 30-Day Journal

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The Mini Gratitude 30-Day Journal from The Positive Day Planner is a handy pocket-sized tool where you can list your daily gratitudes for up to 30 days. When you're finished, it'll be a lovely notebook to look back through to feel all the positivity.

Daily Gratitude Journal

Daily Gratitude Journal
Amazon

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With an excellent quote for every week, this 52-week guide will help you to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. There's plenty of space for sketching, journal, taking notes, or just having fun and getting creative.

Lovendu Happiness Journal

Lovendu Happiness Journal

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Happiness is wellbeing, and we love that this journal is a tool to guide yourself on the path to a happier life. The structure of this journal is loosely based on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. This is a motivational theory in psychology that suggests that humans are motivated to fulfil their basic needs before moving on to more advanced needs. This journal will take you through some of this hierarchy and strive for you to meet some of your needs and learn more about yourself. It will also make you reflect on who you are as a person and what makes you happy.

My Mindful Mind Journal

My Mindful Mind Journal

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Find a moment of calm in a busy life with this mindful journal; a self-exploration book full of prompts and activities focused on helping to cultivate a mindful mind.

365 Days Of Gratitude Journal

365 Days Of Gratitude Journal

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Record all those small, great things that happen to us daily in the CGD London 365 Days of Gratitude. Finished off in a pretty pastel pink design, this journal makes a lovely gift to yourself or a loved one.

Gratitude journal apps

If you'd rather save the paper, why not look into a gratitude app? Here are a few of our favourites...

Gratitude Happiness Journal

Take control of your day once you wake up by instilling positivity and feeling the magic around you with the Grateful app. You’ll start each entry with prompts and can add notes, include photos, and use tags for entries.

Available on iTunes and Android

Reflectly

A personal journal and diary driven by artificial intelligence, Reflectly enables you to deal with negative thoughts, make positivity louder and to teach you about the science of well-being.

Available on iTunes and Android

Grateful

With its simple interface and daily prompts, Grateful is designed to make reflection and giving thanks both a joyful and easy process. Not quite sure where to start? Grateful will greet you with one question, such as. 'What made you smile today'? All you have to do is answer.

Available on iTunes

Make your own gratitude journal

If you're feeling creative, take a look at the video below where April shows you how to make your own gratitude journal.

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Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us