I recently asked my social media communities what they were most looking forward to in November, and a lot of people told me they were really excited about Thanksgiving and an entire month focused on gratitude.
I love this, and while I think it’s important to practice and focus on gratitude year round, it never hurts to use Thanksgiving around the corner as a little reminder to give our gratitude practices a little extra attention!
Gratitude is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal when it comes to cultivating a greater sense of happiness, optimism, and positivity in our lives. However, it’s a tool that doesn’t come easily to many people because as humans, we are wired to default to the negative.
The good news is, we DO have the ability to retrain and rewire our brains to search for slivers of gratitude in anything, even the tough stuff.
And when we cultivate an attitude of gratitude and begin using appreciative language more frequently (think: “get to” versus “have to”), we’re better equipped to shift our focus from the not so great to what IS going well instead.
From there, it’s just a feed-forward cycle of how to better appreciate the things in our lives, which in turn can make us happier, less stressed, more resilient during hard times, and more.
As you’re starting out with establishing a regular gratitude practice, it may feel hard to think about what to write about besides just a list of things like family, friends, the roof over your head, your job, or your health. To help you, I put together a list of guided prompts that you can bookmark and refer back to as you get started and continue to evolve your practice.
15 Journaling Prompts to Help You Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude
1. Set a timer for 3 minutes. Write down as many things as you can think of that you are grateful for in that time. Try not to stop until the timer goes off. Once you are done, pick a few from the list and elaborate on WHY you are grateful for those things.
2. What is a win that you’ve had in the last 24 hours? Why do you consider this a win? What is something you are looking forward to in the upcoming week, and why?
3. Describe a happy childhood memory that you have. What specifically about this memory makes you smile?
4. Who is someone you feel you can always rely on? Describe what qualities in this person you really appreciate and why.
5. What is 1 accomplishment you’ve had this year in your personal life, what is 1 accomplishment you’ve had this year in your professional life, and what is 1 accomplishment you’ve had this year in your health and fitness? Why do you consider these accomplishments? What makes you the most proud?
6. Describe at least 5 things, in detail, that you appreciate about your body. Include physical attributes, ways your body can move and function, and how your body serves you.
7. What is a mistake that you’ve made in your life that’s ultimately led to a positive experience? What did you feel at the time you made the mistake, and why are you thankful for that now?
8. Describe 1-3 ways your life is more positive today than it was a year ago, even if not ALL aspects of your life are more positive.
9. What do other people like about you? Describe 3-5 characteristics about yourself that you know other people appreciate. Then describe why you are happy you have these qualities.
10. Think about the last time you had a really good day. What was so good about it? Describe in detail what happened and how you felt. How can you cultivate more of that feeling?
11. Describe the last time you procrastinated doing something that wasn’t ultimately as difficult a task as you thought it would be. What did you learn from the experience?
12. Think about a challenging person in your life. This could be someone you frequently disagree with, for example. Describe a few positive characteristics that you see in them as well as some lessons they have taught you.
13. Describe a tough time in your life that has required you to be resilient, whether past or present. Write about the ways you were or are able to show strength and resilience during this time. Has anyone helped you along the way? Write about how they’ve helped you too.
14. Name somebody you have never met, but who has helped you in your life in some way. How specifically have they affected you? What do appreciate about them?
15. Describe a small, every day thing that you enjoy doing with someone in your life, or something you enjoy doing on your own. What about this thing is special to you and why?
Hopefully these guided prompts will help your regular gratitude journaling efforts! Do you have any prompts you’d like to add to the list? What about any additional gratitude resources? If so, please share in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.
For more on gratitude, consider heading over to The Legit Fit Lifestyle Lounge, which is my free fitness community group over on Facebook. In this group, I will be hosting 7 Days of Gratitude from November 11th through November 17th and sharing a tip per day on how to start a regular gratitude practice if you don’t already have one and are starting from scratch. This group of people also embodies the gratitude attitude day in and day out, as we focus on using empowering language, being grateful for our bodies and what they can do instead of focusing on the scale, and being kind to ourselves during tough seasons or when things don’t go as planned. We’d love to have you join us! To request an invite to join the free group, click here.