18 Game-Changing Tips For Gratitude Journaling (Especially If You’re Struggling)

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You already know the benefits of gratitude journaling, but you may not be getting the most out of your journal.

Maybe you don’t have time to write in it every day, or you’re struggling to think of things to be grateful for. It’s hard to know where to start if you’re not used to it.

Whatever your situation may be, here are some tips for gratitude journaling to help you get the most out of your journal and help turn it into a long-term healthy mindset habit. This way, you can experience all the benefits that come with it!

#1 Get A Dedicated Journal

A dedicated gratitude journal is important because it allows you to focus on your gratitude practice without distractions.

When you have a specific journal for this purpose, you’re less likely to skip days or forget to write in it. Plus, it’s a great way to track your progress and see how your gratitude practice has changed over time.

This can be a physical journal you write in by hand or a digital journal you keep on your computer or phone.

A gratitude journal can be even more focused if you choose. While any plain notebook can be turned into a gratitude journal, a pre-made gratitude journal can help inspire and utilize your time effectively.

Often these custom gratitude journals provide a space for you to write down what you’re grateful for without the need for brainstorming or coming up with ideas on your own. Some even provide quotes and prompts.

This can be helpful if you’re struggling to come up with things to be grateful for or don’t have much time to spare each day to create a DIY gratitude journal from scratch.

Whatever type of gratitude journal you decide is best for you, having a dedicated journal will help to ensure that you make time for gratitude journaling on a regular basis.

Things to try:

#2 Use Gratitude Journal Prompts

Best Tips For Gratitude Journaling Use Gratitude Journal Prompts

If you’re having a hard time writing in your gratitude journal, prompts can be a great way to get the ball rolling.

Prompts are simply questions or topics that can help you focus on the things you’re grateful for. They can be anything from specific prompts about what you’re grateful for today to prompts about your general feelings of gratitude.

Using prompts as one of our tips for gratitude journaling will help you get into the habit of writing in your journal daily. They can also help to keep your entries interesting and varied by getting you to think outside the box.

This is especially true when you’re brand new to gratitude journaling. Because knowing what to write about can often feel like a complete mystery when you’re a beginner.

So, if you’re feeling stuck on what to write, try getting some gratitude prompts for yourself.

Things to try:

#3 Get The Timing Right

Best Tips For Gratitude Journaling Get The Timing Right

When it comes to tips for gratitude journaling, there are no hard and fast rules about how often you should do it or what time of day is best.

What’s important is to experiment and find what routine or schedule works best for you. Some things to consider are:

If you want to make gratitude journaling a part of your daily routine, try doing it first thing in the morning. This will set the tone for your day and help you start on the right foot.

Alternatively, you could find a specific time to schedule it and stick to it. All you need to do is set aside 10-15 minutes each day, at your preferred time, to write.

If you find that writing in a gratitude journal every day is too challenging, try doing it once a week instead. This can still be helpful in terms of maintaining a regular gratitude practice.

Whereas only doing it one time in an entire month might be too much of a gap to turn it into a positive mindset habit.

If you’re looking for an extra boost, try doing a “gratitude blitz” once a month, where you write in your journal every day for a week or two. This can be really helpful in terms of keeping your focus on the things you’re grateful for.

If you’re struggling to find the time to write in a gratitude journal, try doing it in smaller bursts throughout the day.

This can be anything from taking 1-3 minutes to write down one thing you’re grateful for during your lunch break, to keeping a running list of things you’re thankful for on your phone that you add to throughout the day.

If you feel like you forget what you’re grateful for before you get a chance to write it down, try keeping your gratitude journal at hand throughout the day and writing things down as soon as you recognize them.

It doesn’t have to be detailed. Just write a few quick words so you can remember and expand on them later if you want to.

Things to try:

  • Test longer vs. shorter journaling sessions
  • Keep your journal handy or pocket-sized
  • Experiment with what time of the day you like to journal

#4 Be Mindful Of All Your Emotions

Best Tips For Gratitude Journaling Be Mindful Of Your Emotions

It’s often said that gratitude journaling is a great way to focus on the positive things in your life. While that’s true, it’s important to remember that your journal shouldn’t ignore negative emotions entirely.

After all, acknowledging both the good and bad aspects of your life is an important part of maintaining a realistic perspective and sense of balance.

If you only ever write about the good things, it can be easy to start feeling like you’re living in a bubble where everything is perfect.

Or worse, that you should only ever be positive, and having any sort of negative feelings makes you think there’s something wrong with you.

I know it sounds contradictory – after all, isn’t a gratitude journal only supposed to be about the positive in your life?

Traditionally, it is, yes. But I think a good gratitude journal or any kind of journaling you do to become your best self needs to balance both the positive and negative emotions in your life.

One way you can adapt your gratitude journaling to be more holistic is to try writing about three good things and one bad thing each time. This will help keep your journal balanced and provide a more realistic view of your life.

Remember, you don’t have to feel grateful all the time, and it’s perfectly normal to feel negative emotions like anger, sadness, and frustration.

It’s important to acknowledge these emotions and allow yourself to feel them. Don’t try to push them away or bottle them up. Believe it or not, this can actually help your gratitude journaling instead of holding it back.

Things to try:

  • Look for a gratitude journal that gives you dedicated space to acknowledge and process negative emotions
  • Write about 3 things you’re grateful for and one negative feeling that’s been bothering you.
  • Include a rant page in your gratitude journal to express things that annoy you
  • Combine gratitude journaling with something like Shadow Work.

#5 Be Specific

Best Tips For Gratitude Journaling Be Specific

When you’re brainstorming things to write in your journal, try to get as specific as possible. The more specific you are in your gratitude journaling, the better.

Simply listing things like “my family,” “my friends,” or “my health” is fine, but if you really want to reap the benefits of gratitude journaling, try to get specific about why you’re thankful for those things.

For example, you might write, “I’m grateful for my mother because she’s always been my biggest cheerleader,” or “I’m grateful for my job because it allows me to support myself and my loved ones.” 

The more specific you are, the more likely you will remember why you’re grateful for those things later.

Additionally, getting specific will help you notice the smaller things in life that we all too often take for granted and make your journal entries more meaningful when you eventually look back on them.

Things to try:

  • Ask why for each gratitude you write
  • Write your gratitudes in full sentences rather than a list
  • Keep a list of gratitudes daily but spend some time each week evaluating and expanding on your thoughts, feelings, and why.

#6 Write Down At Least Five Things

Best Tips For Gratitude Journaling Write At Least Five Things

This may seem like a lot, but it’s not as difficult as it sounds—and it’s worth it.

If you want to get the most out of your gratitude journaling, try writing down at least five things every time. This will help you keep track of all the good things in your life, both big and small.

It can also help you be more mindful of the smaller blessings that often go unnoticed.

When you take the time to write down what you’re grateful for, it not only helps you focus on the positive aspects of your life, but it also allows you to reflect on them later on.

This can be helpful when you’re feeling down or struggling with a difficult situation. 

Revisiting past entries in your journal can remind you that there are good things in your life, even when things are tough.

Things to try:

  • Make it a habit to write more than one gratitude
  • Aim to write at least 5 things

#7 Don’t Skip It

Best Tips For Gratitude Journaling Do Not Skip It

Skipping your gratitude journal routine may seem harmless, but it can actually make it harder to stick with gratitude journaling in the long run.

When you miss a session, it’s easy to fall into the mindset of “I don’t have time for this” or “This isn’t important.”

However, if you make an effort to write in your journal every time you schedule it—even if it’s just for a few minutes—you’ll find that it quickly becomes a habit that provides numerous benefits. And the more you do it, the easier it will become.

If you struggle to stick with gratitude journaling, try setting a reminder on your phone or placing your journal in a spot where you’ll see it every day.

Things to try:

  • Schedule a set time/day to journal and stick to it
  • Try setting reminders
  • Keep your journal somewhere handy throughout your day, like a pocket notebook

#8 Keep It Short And Simple

Best Tips For Gratitude Journaling Keep It Short And Simple

When it comes to tips for gratitude journaling, shorter entries are better. You don’t need to write a novel each time you sit down to journal (unless you want to). A few sentences are all you need.

By giving yourself permission to keep things short, you’ll avoid feeling overwhelmed or like you have to write a certain amount.

This will help make gratitude journaling more enjoyable and something that you actually look forward to doing.

It’s also much easier to maintain a habit if it takes a shorter amount of time. Because even if you want to spend more time gratitude journaling, you might simply not have the time. And that’s okay!

A few minutes is all you need to reap the benefits of gratitude journaling. So don’t stress if you can’t write entire pages or don’t have much time. (It’s perfectly normal.)

Just focus on writing down a few things you’re grateful for each time. What matters is that you’re mindful enough to think about them!

Things to try:

  • Don’t force yourself to try and write an essay
  • Sticks to a few sentences (or words if you have to)

#9 Try A New Perspective

Best Tips For Gratitude Journaling Change Your Perspective

Sometimes if you feel like your gratitude journaling is stuck, a new perspective can help.

While gratitude journal prompts can help you look at things from a different perspective, it’s not the only way to do so.

When you’re thinking of things to be grateful for, you could, for example, try to include the five senses. This will help you relive the experience and feel grateful all over again. By focusing on your different senses, you might notice things you’ve otherwise overlooked.

For example, if you’re grateful for a sunset you watched, write down what you saw, smelled, heard, felt, and tasted.

Alternatively, if you always journal at the same time and place each session. Consider trying a new location or time. Something as simple as changing your environment can often inspire you to notice other things you’re grateful for that you may have previously missed.

Things to try:

  • Journal prompts
  • Think about what your senses feel
  • Find a new location to journal

#11 Don’t Forget The Little Things!

Best Tips For Gratitude Journaling Do Not Forget The Little Things

When brainstorming things to write about in your gratitude journal, don’t forget to include both big and small things.

Yes, it’s important to be grateful for the major blessings in your life, but don’t forget the smaller moments and accomplishments that make up your day-to-day life.

Those little moments are just as important!

For example, maybe you had a great workout at the gym, made a new recipe that turned out well, or finally tackled that pesky pile of laundry that’s been sitting in your room for weeks.

Whatever it is, take a minute to reflect on those smaller moments of happiness—you deserve it!

Things to try:

  • Think about little things that make you happy
  • Ask yourself what made you smile, even if it seems simple or obvious

#12 Be Patient

If you’re new to gratitude journaling, it might take time to get into the habit of regularly writing in your journal. And that’s okay!

It takes time to form new habits, and it might take some experimenting to find a routine that works for you, so be patient with yourself.

If you miss one or two sessions (or even more), don’t beat yourself up about it. Just pick up where you left off and keep going.

The most important thing is that you’re making an effort to be more mindful of what you’re thankful for. With time and practice, gratitude journaling will become second nature!

Things to try:

  • Be patient with yourself
  • Keep trying!

#13 Make It A Habit

Best Tips For Gratitude Journaling Make It A Habit

One of the easiest ways to make gratitude journaling a habit is to write in it daily, even if it’s just a few lines. The more you write, the more natural and easier it will become.

There is no “right” way to use your gratitude journal, but being consistent might be a key element of your routine that you’ve been missing.

The more consistent you are, the more benefits you will experience from gratitude journaling. So find a method that works for you and stick with it!

Things to try:

  • Try to journal daily if you can
  • Find an alternative routine if you can’t do it daily, like once a week

#14 Don’t Worry About Perfection Or Overthink It

When it comes to gratitude journaling, overthinking and perfection can be a major roadblock.

It’s easy to get caught up in the details and start judging yourself for not writing more or not including certain things on your list. Or even feeling like everything you do isn’t good enough.

The most important thing is that you’re being mindful of the good things in your life and taking the time to appreciate them.

So if you find yourself overthinking things, just take a deep breath and relax. The best way to approach gratitude journaling is to simply let go and enjoy it!

Remember, gratitude journaling doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as just writing down whatever comes to mind. And if you’re really stuck on what to write, always go back to the tried and true method of using journal prompts.

Things to try:

  • Keep things simple
  • Let go and enjoy the process
  • Avoid judging or comparing your process to others

#15 Be Honest

Best Tips For Gratitude Journaling Be Honest

This is one of the best tips for gratitude journaling, but it’s also quite difficult to put into action that many people actually miss out on it.

When you’re honest with yourself, it’s easier to be grateful for the good things in your life. After all, gratitude is all about appreciating what you have, and it’s difficult to do that if you’re not being truthful.

It’s also important, to be honest when writing in your gratitude journal because it can help you identify areas of your life that need improvement.

This also comes back to one of the earlier tips for gratitude journaling on this list – that it’s okay to feel your negative emotions.

Think about it – if you’re only writing down positive things and ignoring the negative aspects, then you’re not really being truthful or honest with yourself.

In order to make progress and grow as a person, you need to be aware of both the good and bad in your life. And if that means you need an extra section in your gratitude journal for writing these things down, go for it!

So don’t be afraid to be truthful in your gratitude journal—it can only help you!

Things to try:

  • Be honest with yourself
  • Keep your journal private and safe
  • Be compassionate, and do not judge yourself

#16 Try To Find The Silver Lining

While keeping in mind not to ignore your negative emotions, even on your worst days, there is probably at least one thing you can be grateful for.

Looking for the silver lining is a good thing, so long as you’re honest about it! And it’s okay if sometimes you can’t find one.

In fact, trying to find the silver lining when you’re feeling down is a great tip because it can help shift your focus from the negative to the positive.

It may not seem like much, but once you start looking for things to be grateful for, it’s amazing how many good things you’ll find in your life.

Maybe you had a good cup of coffee in the morning or listened to your favorite song on the radio.

Taking the time to notice and appreciate the good things in your life can help shift a bad day to a not-so-bad one.

It’s easy to focus on the negative, but instead, challenge yourself to think of things that make you happy and content.

If you find it difficult to think of positive things, try brainstorming a list of things you’re grateful for before you start writing in your journal. This will help jumpstart the process and get those positive thoughts flowing.

Things to try:

  • Challenge yourself to find at least one positive thing, even on tough days.

#17 Don’t Compare Yourself To Others

Best Tips For Gratitude Journaling Do Not Compare Yourself To Others

Everyone experiences gratitude in different ways, and there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Just because someone else seems to be doing it better than you doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong.

Everyone has their own unique journey, no matter how slow your progress might seem.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and break the rules if things aren’t working for you.

And if you feel guilty for not including certain things in your gratitude journaling, then consider keeping it private.

Sometimes knowing that no one else will see your gratitude journal will help you open up more to what matters to you. Rather than what you think society expects you to be grateful for. (Remember what I said about being honest!)

Things to try:

  • Don’t compare yourself or your gratitude to others

#18 Make It Fun

Finally, make sure to keep your gratitude journaling fun and interesting.

There are so many different ways to journal, and if the traditional way isn’t working for you, then try something else!

Try using a different medium, such as a gratitude jar or even a gratitude rock. You can also get creative with your journal entries and use different colors, drawings, or even photos.

Find a method that works for you and stick with it.

Gratitude journaling should be something you enjoy, not something you dread. The more fun you have, the more likely you will stick with it long-term. So make sure to find a way to make it fun for you!

Things to try:

  • Make your gratitude journal fun!
  • Try different mediums like journaling, jars, and rocks
  • Decorate, color, draw or even add photos to your journal

Try Using These Tips For Gratitude Journaling Yourself

Best Tips For Gratitude Journaling Summary

If you’re not already doing so, start gratitude journaling today! It’s a great way to boost your happiness levels, reduce stress, and appreciate all the good things in your life—no matter how big or small they may be.

There are many ways to go about it, so find what works best for you and make it a habit. And if you get stuck, be sure to refer back to these tips for gratitude journaling, as you might find something to help you tackle it.

It’s not uncommon to struggle with what to write, finding the time, or sticking to it as a long-term habit, so don’t beat yourself up about it, and try using these tips to help you solve it instead.

Have any other questions or concerns about gratitude journaling? Leave us a comment below—we’d love to chat!

Further reading:

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