You’ve got your health, your job is stable, you’ve got a roof over your head and a great family, but you’re still feeling unfulfilled. Don’t worry, we all feel the same every now and then. The truth is, the way we live has changed, we no longer just live in our own lives, we experience other people’s lives daily thanks to social media. This digital world can often lead to making comparisons and feeling as though we’re missing out on something in our lives like the house, the new car, the shiny new wardrobe. Viewing life this way, I have learnt, is a super quick way to feel like shit, and it’s why gratitude prompts and practising gratitude is so important. Practising gratitude is a way to shift our focus onto the things and experiences we already have.
But, you might be thinking, ‘Oh, more stuff on gratitude, the internet is full of it.’ Well yes, the internet is full of it but the positive effects of practising gratitude have been researched and the findings are fabulous.
What is gratitude?
Gratitude is much more than just practising gratitude. Douglas LaBier, Ph.D., explains that there are two circles of gratitude – the outer and the inner circle. The outer circle of gratitude includes what I explain here, appreciating the things you have in your life and being thankful for what’s going right. The inner core of gratitude is gratitude on a much deeper level, it’s what really impacts our wellbeing. The inner core of gratitude is your awareness of how you’re connected in life, your awareness of just being alive in a moment of time.
Proof that practising gratitude is good for you
Back in 2003, Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough conducted and published research in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology on the effects of practising gratitude on a regular basis. Amongst the hundreds of participants who were either asked to take a small amount of time out each day to record what they were grateful for or to record the frustrations they’d face or to simply record things that had affected them in their daily life, that those who were assigned the task of recording gratitude experienced fewer symptoms of illness, they exercised more, they were more optimistic and had better self-esteem, they felt healthier and slept better and longer. In fact, another study found that practising gratitude also reduced the occurrence and duration of depression.
So why wouldn’t you practice gratitude for a few moments a day?
You might also like: Journal Prompts for Mental Health – The ABCD Method
How to practise gratitude
Here are a few tips for practising gratitude that might work for you.
- Start a gratitude journal or list. Write down the things that you are thankful for each day, perhaps a list of 3-5 things and use the gratitude prompts below to guide you. You can even try an app like Get Gratitude (iOS) or Bliss Gratitude Journal for Android.
- Practise gratitude during meditation
- Instagram the things you are thankful for or take photographs
- Turn a negative into a positive.
- Give someone a compliment
- Write thank you notes to people who you’re grateful for. It might be your child’s teacher, your friend, your boss or your partner.
- Start a gratitude jar where you place a coin each time you write in your gratitude journal. Over time, this jar will add up to enough to buy a small gift for someone or a number of small gifts for many people, who you’d like to show your gratitude. Research has found that the people who gift like this are more likely to pay it forward.
42 gratitude prompts
- What are you thankful for in nature?
- What are you thankful for today?
- Why are you grateful for your body?
- What are you grateful for your workmates?
- What are you lucky to own?
- Who has given you a lot of support?
- What book has inspired you?
- Who has inspired you this week?
- What do you love best about this time of year?
- What made you laugh today?
- I am grateful for my house because….
- I’m grateful for my partner because…
- I’m grateful for my job because…
- I love mornings because….
- I love the evenings because….
- One thing I take for granted is…
- What is something beautiful you saw today?
- What talents or abilities are you grateful for?
- How do you show your friends gratitude?
- I wouldn’t be able to live without…
- Which opportunities have changed your life?
- What do you like about your career?
- What kind gestures have you received recently?
- What things do you have now that you didn’t have 10 years ago?
- What strengths are you grateful to have?
- What skills or abilities are you grateful to have?
- What have you learned recently that you are grateful for?
- What has your life given you that you’ve taken for granted?
- What made you smile today?
- What small victory did you have today?
- What is your top goal and why are you grateful for it?
- I felt joyful today when….
- List 10 activities and/or hobbies that bring you joy
- How can you treat yourself in the next 24 hours?
- What obstacle did you recently face and how did you overcome it?
- List 5 things you’re looking forward to next year/next month
- Are you a morning or an evening person? What do you love most about this part of the day?
- Describe an experience that was hard but made you stronger.
- List 10 things you’ve accomplished that you’re proud of.
- What freedoms are you grateful for?
- What do you love the most about where you live?
- List 5 ways you can share your gratitude with others in the next 24 hours.
Free Gratitude Journal Prompts Printable
You know what they say, out of sight, out of mind. So why not download a copy of my Gratitude Journal Prompts Printable. It’s completely free and very beneficial to have on hand when you need a reminder to practise gratitude. You can put the gratitude prompts up in your office, on the fridge, or the back of the toilet door so they’re on hand when you need to flip the switch when negative self-talk starts.
Fill in your details to get access to your Gratitude Prompts Printable below.
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Have fun in San Diego Eva! It’s been a long time since I was there but it’s a gorgeous place!
Have a fabulous time away!
Hope you’re enjoy San Diego … you lucky thing! Some great advice here Eva x
I try to focus on the little things each day so I can see the small positives instead of the overwhelming things that might be going on 🙂
It is not natural to me, but I have a friend in Greece and she is having a terrible time (both with the economy and health of loved ones and so) but her sunny disposition is AMAZING. I am striving to be a little more like that. Unfortunately, I think her woes are forgotten by others as a result tho, so there is a double edged sword in there too. But all that said, I’m working on it, as I think it might be better for you, overall.
This is something I need to do at the moment as I am going through a little hard time. I have everything but the happiness just doesnt seem to be here enough.
Great tips Eva. Hope you’re having a fab time
I am pretty jealous you get to be in San Diego. I have family there but have never been myself. From what I here, it’s a little slice of heaven. 🙂 I have a request: I am putting together a Google calendar for all my blog parties. I will be making it public. I want to put your party on it with the time it starts, your web address, the time it ends, and your rules as copied and pasted from your site. Can you provide me with the times and permission to copy and paste, please? As far as I can tell, you start at 5 AM CST Sunday (I’m in Wisconsin). Thanks so much, Eva!
Actually, I got the time wrong. I am 16 hours behind you. I think you start at 8 AM your time and here it would be 4 PM the previous day. Right?