With the Thanksgiving season upon us, many people are running a mental checklist of what they’re thankful for. While pausing to appreciate what we are grateful for may seem like a simple act, studies prove that doing so can benefit many aspects of your life. In fact, research shows that jotting down your thoughts can help improve your mental health, physical health, sleep habits, stress levels, and more.  

One way to make giving gratitude a part of your daily routine is by keeping a gratitude journal. It may come across as one more thing to add to your already-busy plate, but over time it’ll become a habit and a natural part of your day. To help you get started, we’ve put together a few pointers on how to start (and keep!) a gratitude journal.  

Choose a journal. 

You’ll need to choose a journal that will work for your lifestyle. Do you plan on leaving your journal on your nightstand? Would you prefer to have a notepad you can carry with you throughout the day? Whatever journal style you choose, place it somewhere you’ll see it to remind you about writing down what you’re thankful for.  

Pick a time of day. 

As with any new habit, consistency is key. When is a good time for you to write in your gratitude journal? Are you a morning person who wants to jumpstart their day by writing down what they’re grateful for? Or would you prefer to jot down your thoughts before bed? There are no concrete rules around practicing daily gratitude, so choose a time that works best for you. 

Keep it simple. 

Your gratitude journal does not have to be pages and pages long. Your journal can have as many – or as few – words as you like. A simple, straight-forward way to get started is to write down three things you are grateful for each day. Once you become comfortable with this, you can pursue writing about 5-10 things. Another option would be to set a timer on your phone for 10-15 minutes.  

Need help getting started? Here are a few gratitude journal prompts to help inspire you: 

  • Write a few words about someone you admire. 
  • List three things that made you laugh this week. 
  • Think back to the person you were a year ago. How have you changed?  
  • Write about an event or something you’re looking forward to.  
  • Write a few words about your favorite food. 

Gratitude journaling can be as serious or relaxed as you want it to be. Keeping a gratitude journal can help you feel content and satisfied with your life instead of feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Adding a daily dose of gratitude to your routine can help also you put trust in your own abilities and spend less time comparing yourself to others. If you have questions about how you can take care of your mental health, visit our website for more info.