“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.” Henri Frederic Amiel
“What is gratitude? How do you practice gratitude?,” These seem like d’uh questions, but it made me stop and think. Gratitude means different things to different people and then, there are those that brush it off and don’t believe in it. I know, right? But to each her own.
The question, however, inspired me to write this post. In the course of the discussion that followed that question, we ended up listing ways to practice gratitude. So, to celebrate World Gratitude Day, let’s talk about gratitude!
What is Gratitude?
Gratitude is that feeling, that emotion we feel when we are thankful for something, someone. Say someone brings you a cup of coffee and you appreciate it, you’re being thankful. You can also feel thankful for that green light while driving to work, a gift you received, your friend, your family—anything.
In addition, gratitude is also a sense of awareness—recognizing that you acknowledge the good in your life, your world. When you express this awareness, you’re being grateful.
When we’re grateful, it changes our perception of life. With all that we experience on a daily basis, we can easily get sucked into the negative part and wallow in it. As if our own lives aren’t enough, we’re also bombarded by the media escalating every nasty thing there is. But if you choose to focus on the good, it is not difficult to diminish the negativity. Gratitude can be a powerful way to do this as it changes the way we feel inside.
What are the benefits of practicing gratitude?
Research studies find that practicing gratitude brings plenty of health benefits.
To list just a few, people who practice gratitude:
- Are happier, more optimistic and satisfied
- Are less anxious and depressed
- Have stronger immune systems with
- Have fewer symptoms of illness
- Sleep better
- Enjoy stronger relationships
- Recover faster from trauma
- Feel more connected
- Do not play the blame game
- Show more empathy
- Are non-judgmental
- Are more compassionate
- Recognize and appreciate what they have
- Attract more happiness
- Live a better quality of life
In fact, gratitude transforms the way you see your life. You focus on what you have rather than what you don’t. You know what they say about getting what you expect. When you expect good things to happen, they do.
Which brings us to the question…
How do you practice gratitude?
Believe it or not, it can be hard to practice gratitude sometimes, simply because we may not be in the mood to do so. Which is why it is best to create the habit of practicing gratitude. How? The easiest and most effective way is to start a gratitude journal, where you can write down what you’re grateful for on a daily/weekly basis.
Here’s my step by step guide to starting and keeping a gratitude journal
You can write in this gratitude journal as soon as you wake up, or before you go to bed at night, when you’re relatively relaxed. Keep the journal on your bedside table. Or you can journal whenever you’re most comfortable. Maybe you prefer to do it at lunch time—it’s up to you.
Also, to practice gratitude, you can keep a physical gratitude journal or a digital one. I personally prefer to hand write in my pretty, pretty journal, playing with color pencils and sometimes doodling—there’s a special joy in writing, seeing the words on paper.
But please do what you feel happiest doing. It’s easy to keep one on your mobile on the go. There are just no rules!
Why keep a gratitude journal, though?
Why not just stop for a moment every day and think about what you are grateful for? Of course, you can. But then, journaling has its advantages. Gratitude is not about being grateful for a few minutes. When you journal, it helps you make it a daily habit and when you do it consistently, it becomes part of your daily routine. You change your perspective.
Besides, writing it down makes it possible to go back and browse through your journal and this can be really uplifting on days when you feel low. It’s a great reminder of all the good things you experience in your life.
And yes, gratitude needs practice. The transformation in your mindset does not happen overnight—which is why it needs to be a habit. The shift is gradual and over time, you’ll feel lighter, happier, more appreciative of what you have.
Just commit to making it part of your daily routine. Set aside a little time—maybe 10 minutes—to reflect on your day, your thoughts, your feelings.
Stuck on what to write in your gratitude journal? Yes, it can be challenging to practice gratitude sometimes. There may be days when you feel you’ve run out of things to be grateful for. So, a little nudge can be helpful. The good news is, there is nothing too big or too small to express gratitude for.
Also, remember that you need not make long lists. In fact, just listing 3 things every day keeps it simple and easy to practice gratitude.
Here are 100 prompts to help you practice gratitude and write your gratitude journal.
100 prompts to practice gratitude
1. 3 things I am grateful for in my life
2. 10/5/3 things I’m grateful for today
3. Five people who made me smile today (can be friends, family, strangers)
4. The best part of today was
5. What I love most about my home
6. These are my favorite foods because
7. I’m grateful for my friends because
8. One silver lining today was…
9. I’m grateful for my vision because today I saw
10. What I love about my face
“Get rich quick! Count your blessings!”
11. Reflect on this quote: “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” Eckhart Tolle
12. I am healthy because
13. A freedom I’m grateful for
14. A person I’m grateful for
15. What I love about my job
16. A challenge I overcame today
17. I’m grateful for my car/bus/ferry/train because
18. I appreciate my dentist (doctor, teacher, or other service provider)
20. Why my favorite holiday is
“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.” Anthony Robbins
21. I’m grateful for this element of nature because
22. Reflect on this quote: “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
23. I’m grateful for the smell of….
24. I’m grateful for technology because
25. What I love about my body
26. I’m grateful for my childhood because
27. The knowledge I’m most grateful for is….
28. Why my favorite color is
29. My favorite type of food is…. because
30. If you identify something or someone with a negative trait switch it in your mind to a positive trait
“Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul.” Amy Collette
31. I’m grateful for breakfast because….
32. Reflect on this quote: “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” Oprah Winfrey
33. I appreciate the sound of…
34. The memory I’m most grateful for is…
35. In my home, my favorite place is….
36. Outside my home, my favorite place is…
37. The book that I’m most grateful for is…
38. From a tough situation, what can I learn? When I look back on this, without emotion, what will I be grateful for?
39. The texture I’m most grateful for is…
40. 10/5 things that always make me smile
“Eat, drink and be thankful!”
41. I love that I’m able to….
42. Reflect on this quote: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” Melody Beattie
43. I’m grateful for summer/winter/rains because…
44. My mind is a powerful thing. One element of it I’m grateful for is …
45. Values I hold most dear and am grateful I have
46. Ways I share my gratitude
47. I’m grateful for these skills and abilities…
48. I am most grateful for this bit of advice.
49. I am most grateful for this daily routine
50. I am most grateful for this scent today
“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” Cynthia Ozick
51. I am grateful for this person from my childhood
52. Practice no complaining/criticism/gossip today and observe how your , energy changes when you focus on the positive.
53. Reflect on this quote: “Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” Brian Tracy
54. Today, I am most grateful for this song because…
55. I am most grateful for this daily chore/task
56. I am grateful for this tradition
57. I am grateful for this challenge/obstacle
58. I am grateful for this small thing I use daily
59. I am grateful for this small thing that happened today
60. Today, I am grateful for this lifestyle habit
“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”
61. This week, I am grateful for this (a special moment, an event)
62. I am grateful for this form of expression (interpret it how you like)
63. Things I love about my family
64. Reflect on this quote: “Appreciation can change a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.” Margaret Cousins
65. Today I am grateful for this friend/family member
66. I am grateful to myself today because
67. Sound, and strive to feel, genuinely happy to hear from the people you speak with today either in person or on the phone.
68. I am grateful for this talent I have (describe)
69. Three things I can be grateful for about myself
70. One thing I may usually for granted that I am grateful for
“Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty.”
71. One mistake I’ve made that I am grateful for
72. Animal or pet are I am grateful for
73. Something about my parents I am grateful for
74. Reflect on this quote: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” John F. Kennedy
75. Something about my spouse that I am grateful for
76. A quote that I’m grateful for is….
77. A vacation spot that I’m grateful for is…
78. Someone at my job that I appreciate today is…
79. A surprise that I’m grateful for is…
80. Today I will live in the moment. How?
“What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.” Brene Brown
81. A joke or funny story that I’m grateful for is….
82. A photograph that I’m most grateful for is…
83. Three things I’ve learned so far from journaling
84. A kind action that I’m grateful for today is…
85. Reflect on this quote: “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” William Arthur Ward
86. A gadget I am grateful for
87. Something from the past that I’m grateful for is…
88. I’m looking forward to the future because…
89. The convenience I’m most grateful for is…
90. The thing (person, situation, or event) that made me stronger is…
“ ‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.” Alice Walker
91. A gift that I’m most grateful for is…
92. The moment I’m most grateful for today is…
93. I am grateful for these things in my surroundings (home/neighborhood/city/park)
94. An experience I am grateful for
95. What can I offer others that I am grateful for?
96. Things others in my life have done that I am thankful for
97. What I see right now that I can be grateful for
98. Who am I grateful to for teaching me something lately?
99. Physical sensations am I grateful for right now
100. Something I enjoy right now that I can be grateful for
101. An unexpected kindness I received this week
102. An accomplishment I am grateful for this week
Yes, two bonus prompts, because it is hard to stop when you get going! Mix and match. Enjoy!
Express your gratitude. Practice gratitude. Let those you care about know. Keep a gratitude journal. Stay positive.
How do you practice gratitude?
(There are Amazon affiliate links in this post. If you buy those gratitude journals via my affiliate links, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. I will donate this to charity. Thank you!)