What should I write in my gratitude journal?

Showing gratitude comes with a host of health benefits and filing up the pages in your gratitude journal will probably be easy at first. But, what if you had a bad day, are a little down, or short on time? What if you're in the midst of a tragedy? What can you write about to show gratitude on a daily basis? There’s always something to be thankful for and focusing on that will help you have a more optimistic outlook on life. Here are a few ideas to help you start and keep you going.

1. Take as much time as you can to really focus on the positive aspect of your situation before you write. Some days it may only be one word. Avoid focusing on or writing anything negative. 

2. Many people record just five things they are grateful for in simple sentences. Others go in depth and describe every detail. There’s no right or wrong way as long as you are truly grateful for whatever is you put on paper. 

3. Categorize your thinking like best-selling author Tim Ferriss does. Relationships, an opportunity, something great that happened recently, or something simple like clouds, rain, your pen, etc. Choosing from one category may help you focus and possibly generate more ideas. 

4. Respond to prompts. There are a ton to choose from! Some examples are: What positive quality did I get from a friend or family member? What positive quality do I like about myself? How is my weakness also my strength? How can I look at a negative situation from a different perspective? Responding to one of these will get your mind on the right track! 

5. Positive outcomes from surprises and challenges can be a great way to start your journal. Both of these cause strong emotions and can help you focus on the positive traits in an unexpected situation. 

It doesn’t matter if you write in your gratitude journal twice a day or twice a week. The goal is to create a habit by consistently focusing your thoughts on the positive things in your life and making them concrete by writing them down.

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