Gratitude journaling is the perfect addition to your self-care routine.

By Elizabeth Rhodes
May 09, 2020
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When was the last time you made a list of things that you’re thankful for? Right now, in the midst of a global pandemic, might seem like an odd time to start a gratitude journal, but in many ways, it could be exactly what you need. People across the globe are experiencing stress, anxiety, and uncertainty, but giving thanks and jotting it all down might help.

According to the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, practicing gratitude can have a number of psychological benefits: “Gratitude is a healing and supportive emotion...If you’re struggling with family drama, stressful travel, or disappointments, the practice of gratitude can help you through.” While there are a number of ways to work gratitude into your daily life, writing down the things you’re grateful for in a journal is a popular and relatively easy method.

To better understand the benefits of keeping a gratitude journal, Travel + Leisure asked Mimi Ikonn, co-founder of Intelligent Change, about the basics. According to Ikonn, gratitude journaling can improve your mental health by helping to alleviate emotions like jealousy and resentment and enhancing empathy. It can even help to cultivate your relationships and reduce stress — something many of us are struggling with right now.

Ikonn says that starting a gratitude journal is “one of the most rewarding gifts you can give yourself.” It cultivates an “attitude of gratitude” that makes us grateful for the things we already have in our lives and for what’s to come. Intelligent Change offers the “The Five-minute Journal”, with daily inspirational quotes and five simple prompts (three for the morning and two for night) that remind you of the positive in every day. This daily gratitude journal encourages you to reflect on the things you’re grateful for, write down daily affirmations, and more.

Of course, you don’t need to invest in a specific journal to get started. Simply dedicate a few minutes to reflect on the people, experiences, and things you’re thankful for and write them down in a notebook. Even if you can’t work it into your daily routine, try to remember to journal at least once or twice a week. Now is a great time to start meditating, too — here are our top picks for the best meditation apps.

Gratitude Journal Prompts to Get Started

  1. What are three things that you're grateful for today?
  2. Who are the people in your life that you're thankful for?
  3. What are the accomplishments in your personal and professional life that you're proud of?
  4. List five qualities about yourself that you like.
  5. List 10 activities that make you happy.
  6. What can you do to make today (or tomorrow) a great day?
  7. Write about a time someone — a friend or stranger — did something nice for you.
  8. Write about the things that made you smile today (or this week).
  9. Reflect on a challenging experience that you learned and grew from.
  10. List 10 ways that you are fortunate (think about your experiences, home, family, career, etc.).