151 Gratitude Journal Prompts (for a Happier 2021)

Want to improve your well-being with a quick daily pastime? This giant list of gratitude journal prompts will jumpstart your happiness and creativity!

You don’t have to face a blank page and try to think of something to write in your notebook. Use these gratitude journal questions as a guide to begin journaling and experience the power of gratitude.

9 Gratitude Journaling Tips

  1. Write It Down to Make it Stick
  2. Keep It Short and Sweet
  3. Don’t Wait for the Perfect Journal
  4. Focus on Small Things
  5. Mix It Up
  6. Understand Pollyannaism vs. Pollyanna Syndrome
  7. Reward Yourself
  8. Start a Gratitude Group
  9. Keep it Positive

Write It Down to Make it Stick

Yes, you can meditate on gratitude. It is an excellent practice. Write down your answers to the gratitude journal prompts, though. Just as writing down your goals makes them more real, note what you appreciate in your diary to make it stick.

It will also serve to track your gratitude practice. Date each entry, so you know what days you practiced and the days you missed.

Keep It Short and Sweet

Don’t write a novella. Start by simply answering the question. One sentence will do. One sentence per day is your goal. You’ll naturally work up from there. Or not. It’s okay.

I decided that I was going to write a Medium story about Gratitude every day. That lasted about eight days. Not only did I stop writing gratitude articles, I stopped deliberately practicing gratitude. Don’t wreck what should be a simple practice by overcomplicating it.

In many gratitude prompts below, I encourage you to select something you enjoy and tell why. Skip the why part in the beginning. Writing that one word or phrase will be better than skipping that day. The self-help gurus tell you to list five things every day. One word will do.

Don’t Wait for the Perfect Journal

Barnes & Noble and Amazon have fantastic journals. My kid found a beautiful journal for about $45. She’s been journaling for a couple of years, creating beautiful bullet journal pages, so I was happy to purchase it for her.

You do not need that! Any cheap notepad or composition journal from your local grocery store will work.

We used to order my kid’s school supplies online. They sent us the wrong several years ago. Since it was their mistake, they let us keep that box and supplies. It was full of elementary school composition books. They’re about $1 each at Walmart and what I use.

Focus on Small Things

As the song says, “it’s the little things that mean a lot.” Gratitude isn’t about grand or amazing things. It’s appreciating the small things. When writing my Medium gratitude stories, I included such simple joys as:

  • heavy cream
  • chickens (the animal, not food)
  • work friends
  • heat
  • cold

Expressing gratitude for small things is a great way to keep your practice consistent. I will also help spark ideas if you get stuck answering the gratitude writing prompts. Those are about as simple as you can get. Lots of small things will foster more happiness than any one big thing.

Mix It Up

Try not to write the same thing every day. The exercise part includes working your brain if you have trouble at first. If you get stuck, go ahead and repeat something relevant. First, try to come up with at least one new thing to express gratitude for each day.

Understand Pollyannaism vs. Pollyanna Syndrome

In the novel, the titular character plays the glad game. When Pollyanna finds herself in a difficult situation, she thinks of things she’s grateful for. At no point in the story does she attempt to ignore any of life’s troubles. She uses her habit of gratitude to be mindful of and cope with the trying times.

The purpose of gratitude journaling is to Practice gratitude, not to focus solely on good things. Ignoring anything negative is Pollyanna Syndrome and should be avoided. As in your yard, weeds pop up in life now and then. Weeds multiply if you ignore them.[related posts]

Reward Yourself

Reward Yourself for consistency or a target number of entries. Pick out a fancy journal and a quality pen you’d like to use for journaling, but don’t buy them yet. Start with a cheap journal and a pedestrian pen.

After you journal for 30 consecutive days, buy yourself a special pen. When you fill the composition notebook, then buy the fancy notebook. A little advice, pick a cheap diary with larger lines so you can fill it faster. Don’t use a college-ruled journal.

Start a Gratitude Group

Think of it as an accountability partner or group. Meet in person, email, call or text each other each day. You can use the daily gratitude journal prompts in this post as a guide for your group.

Using social media groups is another good option. Ideas for social media groups:

  • create a Twitter list
  • find or create a Daily Gratitude Facebook Group
  • tag friends in posts or stories or create a DM group on Instagram

Keep it Positive

You may be tempted to write about negative feelings for some of the prompts. Keep all your writing positive. It’s true, we don’t want to develop Pollyanna Syndrom. You have plenty of time during your day for what the Stoics call meditation malorum.[2]

The purpose of a gratitude journal is to focus on what you’re grateful for. Save planning for what could go wrong for another exercise.

Daily Gratitude Journal Ideas

If you prefer to have the daily prompts and writing lines in the same notebook, here are a few options that you can purchase from Amazon.

  • Start With Gratitude: Daily Gratitude Journal Positivity Diary for a Happier You in Just 5 Minutes a Day, paperback.
  • A Life of Gratitude: A Journal to Appreciate It All, Big and Small (Guided Journals, Self Help Books, Keepsake Gratitude Journals, Mindfulness Journals)
  • Today Is Great!: A Daily Gratitude Journal for Kids: “If kids focus on happy things, they’ll be happier people. This gratitude journal for kids is a colorful space for them to write about what they’re thankful for and practice being positive and appreciative every day.”

A simple composition notebook like this one is all you need to start your gratitude journey.  Purchasing that one from Amazon will be convenient, but you can probably find them cheaper at your local store.

Disclosure: Many of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you make purchases via those links, I may get a small commission. I’m grateful for your support!

The Positive Effects of Gratitude Practices

A collection of studies by Time Magazine suggests that a daily gratitude practice can benefit you in many different ways [1]:

  • Increase happiness
  • ease depression
  • decrease overeating
  • improve sleep
  • better self-care
  • increase patience
  • improve relationships

You’ll discover many ways you enjoy the benefits of gratitude. When you feel your stress levels falling, writing in your notebook will become the favorite part of your daily routine.

Gratitude Journal Prompts

Many of these will seem repetitive because they’re repetitive and also repeat occasionally. That’s okay because we’re keeping it simple and writing one thing per day.

You may have five things you love about Tuesdays where I only prompt you for one. That means you can reuse that prompt on Tuesday again.

Let’s begin the gratitude writing prompts!

Who is a family member that you’re grateful for? Write a sentence about why you’re thankful for them.

A song that energizes you is ______ because

The lyrics to my favorite song are

One of my favorite songs is _______ because

What is a lesson you learned because of hard times in the past?

What is a piece of technology that you’re thankful for?

Describe one of the positive experiences you’ve had during a difficult time.

What is something you use every single day? How do you enjoy it?

Tell about something you’ve done recently to make someone else’s life easier.

What is one simple pleasure that you enjoy and appreciate? Why?

Describe a situation where a difficult time has benefited you in a positive way.

What is the most beautiful thing you saw today?

Think of something in your daily life that many take for granted. How can you appreciate it more?

Write about something someone has done for you that made your life easier recently.

Gratitude Journal Prompts for Habits

The best way to give yourself plenty to be thankful for is to develop good habits. A growing list of positive habits will contribute significantly to your happiness and help you enjoy an attitude of gratitude!

Sure we’ll try to turn positive journal prompts into a daily habit.

What is something you recently read that resonated with you?The favorite way to exercise is ________ because when I do it, I feel.

The favorite way to enjoy nature

Describe the good feelings the last time you practiced self-care.

Something I love about this pen is.

A food I enjoy is ____

One thing I love about my journal is

How did you feel the last time you helped someone with something?

What is a food that you could eat every day is? Describe why.

Describe one way that self-care has positively helped you.

What was the first thing you did today? How can you use it to make your day better?

What is the best book you’ve read this year? Why did it resonate with you?

Where You Are

The favorite thing about your neighborhood? Why?

What is something you love about your house is?

What is the best part of your favorite place to vacation?

Something I love about my room is

Describe the last time you got excited at work? Why?

Reflect and write a few lines about something in your city or town that you’re grateful for.

The best part about nighttime is.

Describe what you like about your favorite place to relax.

The best part about coming home at the end of the day is

Write three things that you love most about mornings.

What is your and your friends’ favorite hangout?  List the reasons enjoy it?

What is your favorite thing about Fall?

Something I enjoy about my job is

What beautiful thing did you notice today that you have never seen before?

Whenever You Are

Name three unique things you are grateful for about 2021.

One good about Mondays is

What is your happiest memory from the past year?

What is something about Thursdays that you enjoy? (Speaking of Thursdays, you should check out my podcast BeerThursday.)

I enjoy Fridays because

Describe your happiest childhood memory.

I’m grateful for Saturdays because

Something great about Sundays is

What is the best thing that happened to you this week? )Remember that the little things add up!)

Name something that’s happened in the past year that you’re grateful for.

Describe your happiest memory from the past month?

Describe what you like best about your favorite season.

What is one thing you appreciate about your least-favorite season?

What are some things that happened last year that you are thankful for?

Relationships

One of the best things about being married/single/in a relationship is.

Something I love about my pet is

What is your favorite memory of your mom, stepmother, or mother figure?

Write something about one of your friends that you’re grateful for.

How did it make you feel the last time you helped a coworker?

Write about a positive impact that one of your parents or a parental figure had on you.

What’s the best gift you have ever received?

Describe your favorite family tradition and what it means to you.

What is your favorite memory of your father, stepfather, or father figure?

Write something about your favorite pet you’ve ever had.

Who did you talk to most today? Describe your relationship. What do you love about this person?

What is the best gift you have ever given?

Your Individuality

What has been the best thing about being your age?

Describe something about your job that you’re grateful for (especially if you don’t like your job!)

What is your favorite color? Why is it meaningful to you?

What is your favorite food? What do you enjoy about it?

Describe what happened the last time you cracked up laughing.

What is your biggest accomplishment? How does accomplishing it make you feel?

Think of a person who usually annoys you. List three positive things that you appreciate about this person.

Describe 2 or 3 of the most beautiful things you’ve ever seen.

What is your proudest accomplishment in your professional life?

What is your favorite junk food? Why is it so appealing?

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this year?

Write your favorite quote and why it’s your favorite

What time of year do you enjoy most. What do you like best about it?

Which time of year do you like least? What is one thing you appreciate about it?

Gratitude Journal Prompts With Prep Work

“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

Speaking of gratitude, how about instant gratification? It sometimes takes a while to enjoy the rewards of something good we do.  These ITEMSACTIONS? that you can do today, then wait a couple of days for the response.

Since you may not always get a response, first write down how performing this act made you feel. Then you can write about the reaction after you get it.

It’s like two gratitudes in one prompt!

Perform a random act of kindness today. Tonight, write down how it felt.

Email a friend and tell them why you appreciate them. Write down their response.

Give someone an unexpected compliment today. Describe their creation tonight.

Call a cousin or another family member (or friend) you haven’t spoken to in a while. How did it feel getting to hear their voice?

Surprise someone with their favorite snack or drink. Then describe their reaction.

Call a close friend you haven’t spoken to in a long time. What was it like catching up?

Take a 5-minute mental health break. How did it feel to stop and breathe?

Write a family member and tell them about a positive impact they’ve had on you. How did they respond?

Leave a positive note with the tip next time you visit a restaurant. If you see their reaction, how did they react? Otherwise, how did it feel to give them the extra compliment?

Write a written card to a friend telling them why you’re thankful for them. Describe their response.

Keep in mind that you may not get a response. That’s okay, and it’s also an excellent exercise to give a person something and not get anything in return.

Although the exercises state to describe the other person’s response, that is not why you perform these acts of kindness. Do these things for the recipient so that they can enjoy the gift you give them.

A bonus is that you will learn to appreciate giving.

Daily List of Gratitude Prompts

If you want guided daily prompts, enjoy this list. If you struggle with any of the days, select a prompt from above.

I will eventually add the rest of the months to this list. I’ll post the November and December prompts sometime in October.

September Gratitude Writing Prompts

1 – Labor Day is coming up soon! Write three things about your job that you’re grateful for. Especially if you don’t like your job!

2 – Where is your favorite place to go for the holidays?

3 – What’s your favorite way to relax? How does it make you feel?

4 – Write down one or two good things that happened to you today.

5 – What about your body are you grateful for?

L’Shana Tovah tikatevu!

6 – It’s National Read a Book Day. What is the best book you’ve read this year? Why did it resonate with you?

7 – It’s National Grateful Patient Day. Write about someone who has taken care of you at some point and why you appreciate them. Or, if you know a healthcare worker, sent them a text or letter telling them you’re grateful for them.

8 – It’s Pardon Day. Describe a time that someone forgave you of something and how it feels being forgiven.

9 – What is your favorite holiday? Why?

10 – It’s World Suicide Prevention Day. Reflect on a time someone told you they appreciate you. Call, text, or write a friend going through rough times. Don’t tell them what today is. Tell them that you miss them. Then make plans to meet them soon.

11 – Patriot Day. Describe a situation where a difficult time has benefited you in a positive way.

12 – Grandparents Day. What is the best memory you have of your grandparents or a grandparent-like friend?

13 – National Pet Memorial Day. Describe a fond memory or two about your favorite pet you’ve ever had.

14 – National Coloring Day. What is your favorite color? Why is it meaningful to you?

15 – International Day of Democracy. List 3 freedoms you’re thankful for and why you appreciate them.

G’mar Chatima Tova!

16 – Describe your favorite moment of the day. What do you enjoy about it?

17 – International Patient Safety Day. Write about something healthy that you enjoy.

18 – National First Love Day. Think back to your first love or crush. Write down a couple of reasons why you like them.

19 – Wife Appreciation Day. List a few women whom you appreciate, whether or not they’re you’re wife. Send them a message and tell them at least one reason why you’re thankful for them.

20 – German World Children’s Day. Who are a few kids who brighten your day? Describe why you enjoy being around them.

21 – International Day of Peace. Write two or more lines of gratitude for peace in your life.

Happy First Day of Fall!

22 – Fall Equinox. Describe your three favorite things about Fall.

23 – Redhead Appreciation Day. Think of a redhead in your life and write what you like about them. BONUS: Without telling them what today is, let them know what you think of them.

24 – Heritage Day. Even though this is a South African holiday, list a few things you appreciate about your heritage.

25 – National Daughters Day. Write a few lines of why you’re grateful for your daughter or anyone else’s daughter. Get Bonus Feels for telling them why you’re thankful for them.

It’s also National Comic Book Day. What’s your favorite comic book movie?

26 – National Family Day. Compose a few things about your family you’re thankful for—bonus points for telling them what you appreciate about them.

27 – World Tourism Day. Write a few lines reflecting on a memorable vacation you’ve taken.

28 – National Neighbor Day. Wite 3 things you appreciate about your neighbors (especially if you don’t get along with them). Bonus points for sharing it with them.

29 – National Coffee Day. Write a few lines reflecting on what you enjoy about your favorite beverage, even if it isn’t coffee.

30 – National Love People Day. Ignore cable news and ponder three things you appreciate about your fellow humans. Send loving kindness thoughts to someone you don’t get along well with.

It’s also International Podcast Day! Check out my two podcasts: All Things Travel for informational and entertaining travel talk and Beer Thursday for big laughs and brilliant insights into current events and pop culture.

October Gratitude Writing Prompts

Some Gratifying Homework To Prepare You For October Prompts

October 5th will be World Teachers’ Day. Prepare to send a teacher a gift or note telling them why you appreciate them. Keep in mind that the teacher may not respond. Don’t let expectations ruin the joy of giving you can feel.

October 9th will be World Post Day. Send a physical card or letter via post or mail to a friend or loved one. Try to time it so that the letter arrives on or before the 9th.

October 11th will be National Coming Out Day. Reach out to friends struggling with acceptance from others. Spend some quality time with them and let them know that you appreciate and respect them.

October 16th will be Sweetest Day. Plan to give someone a card with a sweet message on that day.

October Gratitude Journal Prompts

1 – International Day of Older Persons. Write about something that you’ve learned from an older person and how it’s positively affected you.

2- International Name Your Car Day. Do you have, or have you ever had, a vehicle that you remember fondly? Describe positive memories from any mode of transportation. Include walking if you have to.

3 – October 5th will be  National Do Something Nice Day. Reflect on a time that someone did something nice for you and how it made you feel.

4 – World Animal Day. What’s your favorite animal? Why is it meaningful to you?

Example. I love meerkats because Timon is the GOAT! My kid played Timon in a production of The Lion King, and she was brilliant and hilarious. Now I’ll always love meerkats. Because of Harry Potter, I love hippogriffs for various reasons. Now, what is your favorite animal?

5 – World Teachers’ Day. Reflect on a teacher who positively impacted your life or a teacher that you simply love.

6 – Which of your five senses are you most grateful for? Explain how you’re thankful for it.

7 – What obstacles have you been able to overcome in your life?

8 – Which of your friends is the most festive around holidays? How do they make you feel about the holiday?

9 – World Post Day. Remember a card, letter, or postcard you’ve ever received and loved. How did it make you feel?

10 – National Hug a Drummer Day. If you know one, hug one. Think about–and listen to–a song with a beat that you love. Music and rhythms can elicit primal feelings in us. Describe how that song’s beat makes you feel.

Happy Indigenous Peoples Day!

11 – International Day of the Girl Child. Think of a girl who’s a delight to have around. Describe how being around her feels.

12 – Farmers Day. What is your favorite fruit or vegetable? Describe why you and enjoy it and how eating it makes you feel.

13 – Reflect on the teacher’s reaction to your card/note and how it made you feel. If they didn’t respond, how did it make you feel giving them the gift or message?

14 – National Dessert Day. What is your favorite dessert? Write a few lines describing why you love it! (Remember, you’ll love the dessert more and be healthier if desserts are a rare treat and not a habit!)

15 – National Grouch Day. Think of a loved one who is grouchy, even if it’s your cat. List a few things that you appreciate about them.

16 – Global Cat Day. Write a few lines about a cat you love (real or fiction) and how it makes you feel. If you’re not a cat person, write about another pet.

17 – National Pay Back a Friend Day. Appreciate a good friend. You don’t have to pay them anything. Simply write a few lines of appreciation for this friend.

18 – Health Care Aide Day. Think back on when someone helped you through a difficult situation and reflect on how that made you feel.

19 – National New Friends Day. Even if you haven’t become good friends yet, write a few lines of appreciation about a new person you’ve met recently. If you haven’t been out much, recently can mean a few years. The idea is to express gratitude for any other person.

Only 10 More Days Until Halloween!

20 – Nation Day on Writing. Jot down a few lines describing the positive effects you’re enjoying from gratitude journaling.

21 – Reflect on your favorite hobby and list a few things you enjoy about it.

22 – The weather will be turning cooler soon in the northern hemisphere. Reflect on something that makes you feel nice and warm.

23 – Slap Your Annoying Coworker Day. We journal so that we can respond better than that! Think of a few things that you appreciate about an annoying coworker. Write what you appreciate about them and send them a few loving-kindness thoughts.

24 – Tomorrow is National ICare About You Day. Reflect on a loved one and what they meant to you. Then call or message them and let them know!

25 – International Artist Day. What piece of art inspires you. Write a few words about how it inspires you.

Only 60 More Shopping Days Until Christmas!

26 – National Day of the Deployed. Write a few words of gratitude to those who put their lives on the line to protect us. If you know someone currently deployed, send them a message with how much you appreciate them.

27 – National Mentoring Day. Write a few words of thankfulness about a person who has helped you in some way. If you can, send them your thoughts.

28 – National Immigrants Day. Reflect on what you love about your heritage, ancestry, or family traditions. If you know someone from another country, call or message them with a friendly greeting.

29 – National Internet Day. Write a few lines how gratitude for ways that you benefit from the Internet. Just don’t spend too much time on it.

30 – National Text Your Ex Day. Think back to an ex you still appreciate and have fond feelings for, and write about why you’re thankful for them. If appropriate for your situation, send them a text saying hello!

31 – Halloween! Reflect on a fond Halloween memory and write a few lines about it.

Check back soon for November’s list of gratitude prompts!

Question: Which gratitude journal prompts resonate with you most?

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