How to Express Gratitude (+ Journal Prompts & Activities)

How to Express Gratitude: Journal Prompts & Activities 
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* This post was originally published on November 25, 2019 and has been updated.

“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” -Zig Ziglar

Thanksgiving is almost here (yay!), so it’s the perfect time to count our blessings.

No matter our station in life, we have many things to be grateful for.

And research shows that to express gratitude for what we have has many benefits, including overall enhancement of well-being...it's also one of the best self care ideas for stress relief (which we could all use this year!). 

Considering the extensive advantages, you may want to consider instituting a gratitude practice year-round!

But even when we are grateful, it's not always easy to know how to express that gratitude.

That's why I've put together some gratitude journal prompts and activities for you! Maybe you can give them a try with your family this Thanksgiving.


Show someone special that you're grateful for them by sending them a personalized care package this holiday season! 



Benefits of Expressing Gratitude

There are so many science-backed benefits of expressing gratitude.

Study after study has confirmed the transformative effects of actively appreciating what we have.

Here are some of the ways in which expressing gratitude improves our lives:

  • Shifts our focus away from negative emotions like resentment and rumination
  • Makes us more likely to practice self-care, which supports mental health and physical well-being
  • Enhances empathy and helps us to be more understanding and compassionate towards others
  • Helps us to sleep better because we have peace of mind
  • Increases confidence and self-esteem by helping us to be proud of our own accomplishments while not begrudging others for theirs
  • Improves resilience during the most difficult times (emotional trauma, depression, etc.)
  • Helps with impulse control and making thoughtful decisions
  • Promotes lasting happiness because our happiness is based on our internal mindset, not external materialistic things
  • Helps us to be more giving (and to enjoy being generous)
  • Strengthens our spirituality and capacity for unconditional love
  • Enhances everyday mindfulness
  • Releases dopamine and serotonin in the brain
  • Express Gratitude: Things to Be Grateful For

    There are lots of things to be grateful for.

    Sadly, our fast-paced, technology-driven lives can cause us to overlook some of the simpler (yet important) things.

    But by focusing on these simple things, we can significantly increase our happiness and well-being.

    Regularly expressing gratitude helps keep us to focus on the positive and keep things in perspective when we are overwhelmed and nearing burnout.

    It cultivates a mindset that changes our entire outlook on life!

    Gratitude Habits

    A classic exercise called “three good things” helps us to bring all the things we should be grateful for into focus.  

    Here’s how you do it:

    Before going to bed, reflect upon your day and write down three good things that happened. Think about why those things happened and express gratitude for them.   

    Gratitude journaling is another healthy habit that can have transformative results.

    There are many ways to keep a gratitude journal. You could write down things you are grateful for upon waking in the morning or before going to bed at night.

    Or you could write down something you are grateful for the moment it happens.

    You could name as many small things as you can think of or you could select one (or a few) to express your gratitude for in a more in-depth way.

    Or focus on certain topics like your relationships, your health, nature, etc.

    Here are some gratitude journal prompts and activities that help me personally.

    I hope they help you too! Maybe you can try doing some of them with your family over the Thanksgiving weekend. 🙂

    Gratitude Journal Prompts

    I am grateful for this:

  • Act of kindness-
  • Convenience-
  • Display of mercy-
  • Family member-
  • Fortuitous event-
  • Friend-
  • Knowledge/lesson-
  • Often overlooked blessing-
  • Personality trait-
  • Pleasant surprise-
  • Simple thing-
  • Skill/strength-
  • Talent-
  • Test of character-
  • Teacher/Mentor-
  • Unique experience-
  • Gratitude Activities

    Gratitude Jar

    Each day write down one thing you are grateful for on a piece of paper. Fold it and place it into the jar. Open the jar whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed.

    Gratitude Rock

    Find a rock you like (because of the color, texture, or pattern, or because it’s from a special place, etc.) Whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed, hold the rock and remember all the things you are grateful for. Take a moment to be mindful and focus on the positive.

    Gratitude Walk

    Go for a walk outside. Nature has an amazing ability to calm the nerves, lift the spirit, and clear the head. As you walk, look in awe at the natural beauty all around you. Think of the things you are grateful for that you typically take for granted such as the air that fills your lungs, the trees that give you shade, or the legs that allowed you to go on the walk in the first place.


    Happy Thanksgiving!
     

     Over to you … what are you grateful for? Leave a comment!

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    About the Author

    Kalliope Archondis, JD, LLM. 👋Hi! I'm Kalli, lawyer turned freelance writer and founder of 3dsuccess.org, a personal development blog dedicated to helping you reach your goals and achieve your definition of success - without all the stress & anxiety. You can read more about me & 3D Success here.

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