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When we express gratitude, it activates multiple areas of the brain that are responsible for providing chemicals that promote mood and happiness, such as dopamine and serotonin.
Writing down the things you are grateful for every day can have a positive effect on the functioning of the body and mind-from sleep quality to improved immunity and well-being. Gratitude diary as a personal way of venting, can reflect on the things a person is grateful for in life.
“A gratitude journal allows individuals to better organize their thoughts and tasks, and may improve organization and clarity,” said Leela R. Magavi, MD, psychiatrist, and regional medical director of the Community Psychiatry + MindPath Care Center.
Taking a few minutes every day or even a week to recognize and absorb the positive characteristics of life can have a significant impact on a person’s overall happiness.
This is the best gratitude journal on the market.
For those who don’t have much time but still want to establish a gratitude practice, the Happiness Project One-Sentence Diary (check it out on Amazon) is a good choice. It allows users to easily review what has changed in their lives since they started keeping a diary. In addition, it requires minimal time investment.
For those who are looking for a gratitude diary at their own pace, Even Happier (check it out on Amazon) is your best choice. It is provided as an audiobook, so you have the opportunity to listen to the prompts, and we like that it is based on research—especially the principles of positive psychology taught by author Tal Ben-Shahar in a popular course at Harvard University.
What to look for in a gratitude journal
Many gratitude diaries come with various tips to help users get started. However, as Manly pointed out, not all prompts are equally useful. “If you are buying a gratitude diary, please make sure that any pre-printed tips resonate with you,” she said. “Some people find pre-selected tips a real benefit, while others find them annoying.” According to Manley, different types of tips include romantic relationships, friendship, family, food, nature, free time, and Surprise in life.
There is no single correct template for the structure of a gratitude diary. Magavi recommends choosing one based on your story and personality. Magavi explained: “Some people perform better with more structure and guidance, while others perform well with more space and freedom to be creative and fluid.” “Some people like to write a diary freely. , While others prefer to complete daily tasks and gratitude worksheets.”
A good gratitude diary does not need to be expensive. “For those who like to create their own tips or free association gratitude diary, cheap notebooks can do that,” Magavi said. In the final analysis, what you get from a gratitude diary depends almost entirely on what you put in—not whether it has a heavyweight essay, a visually appealing cover, or an interesting font.
Frequently asked questions
What is a gratitude diary?
A gratitude diary is a notebook or other space dedicated to recording blessings in life. “Although other journals can be a space for free association, planning, or simple venting, grateful journals are dedicated to expressing gratitude,” Manley said.
A gratitude diary not only provides a way to recognize and acknowledge all aspects of life that we are grateful for, but it also gives us the opportunity to express ourselves in different ways. For example, Magavi said, some people even draw content-related pictures and share their diaries and gratitude with others.
How do you start a gratitude journal?
There is no “right” or “wrong” in writing a gratitude diary-it’s all about finding the best method for you. You can buy a simple notebook first, or even express your thoughts in a draft email.
“The key is to have a specific, sacred space, designed to express gratitude,” Manley said. “You can use a diary that provides reminders, you can create your own reminders, or you can simply do whatever you want. A consistent gratitude diary is a wonderful, continuous reminder that reminds people of the importance of living in gratitude.”
Magavi recommends that her patients complete short diary entries every day, don’t focus on grammar and punctuation, and write diaries at specific times of the day, which helps to establish routines. “I recommend that individuals write to themselves and others, and convey positive messages and checklists briefly,” she added. “Some people can benefit from picking two or three things they are grateful for every day and writing them down.”
Why is the gratitude diary effective?
It is important to note that like any other exercise to improve mental health, a gratitude journal is not for everyone.
“Some people think that a gratitude journal is not effective, especially when it feels like another housework to be done,” Manley explained. “Those with severe, chronic mental health problems may not be able to concentrate or focus on writing a gratitude journal, so this task may trigger feelings of overwhelm or despair.”
But for those who believe that they have gained something from their gratitude diary, there are many different benefits. Magavi said: “Diary helps individuals to understand themselves clearly and better.” “Thanksgiving diary allows individuals to point out the positive aspects of their daily life, thereby dispelling negative and painful emotions. Individuals can rejoice in any small victory. “
Magavi said that by letting people learn how to put their own needs and emotions above social expectations, writing a gratitude diary can help relieve anxiety and elevate a person’s emotions.
“Using a gratitude journal can create a more focused way of being, which is very beneficial to overall mental health,” Manley explained. “Because of the need to turn your attention to the inner self-reflection, the gratitude diary adds to the state of inner peace. On its own, this makes the calming parasympathetic nervous system work.”
What should you write in your gratitude journal?
Magavi advises her patients to list things they are grateful for physically, emotionally, and spiritually every morning and evening. “I also recommend people to think about and write down the things and people they are grateful for in their lives,” she said. “Writing thank-you letters to loved ones, or simply thanking others, can release neurochemicals responsible for happiness, motivation and stress relief.”
Generally speaking, Manly said that it is best to be as specific as possible when writing a gratitude diary. “Speciality allows our minds and spirits to focus on the exciting details that we often miss when we are busy or stressed,” she explained. “Diary reflections that focus on interpersonal relationships and unexpected joys in life usually have a significant emotional boost.”
For example, Manley said that instead of writing “I am grateful to my best friend”, a more specific reflection might be “I think it is so lucky to have Erica in my life. She is a source of support and kindness.” I am grateful to have a friend who has such integrity, sympathy and love in her heart.” This more specific type of diary produces a more intentional and uplifting focus. Gratitude can make life’s challenges smaller and easier to manage.
Why trust a very good mind
Emily Stone’s research has given her a deeper understanding of how the brain works and the source of happiness. Gratitude is usually overwhelmed by headlines or unpleasant encounters of the day. By spending a minute in the morning or before going to bed to reflect on the positive side, we can benefit a lot both physically and emotionally.
Additional reporting by Elizabeth Yuko.
As an experienced health writer and editor with a special focus on mental health and well-being, Elizabeth Yuko understands how powerful stress-reduction activities are for many people — and the fact that they are not one size fits all — all. With decades of first-hand experience dealing with anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, she has been looking for new (and research-supported) products, technologies and services that can help people cope with stress and other mental health challenges.