Looking to start the new year off right? While we all may have aspirations of a brand-new healthy lifestyle and workout routine, perhaps we should focus on something simple. In the past few years, mental health has increasingly (and deservedly) gotten more attention in the media. One simple act you can do to improve your mental health, and this is backed by science, is think and express gratitude. Write it down. In this blog post, a round up of gratitude journals to record your happy thoughts.
In case you want to skip ahead, a table of contents of this blog post. The Good Taste Guide may earn commission when you click on links and make a purchase. We are so very grateful for our readers!!!
- The science of gratitude
- A Gratitude Journal Template
- Gratitude Journal Prompts
- Round-Up of Gratitude Journals
- The Happiness Project Journal
- Pretty Notebook for Gratitude Journaling
- Blue Sky Weekly Planner
- Moleskine Journals
- Levenger Five Year Journal
- Planners with Space for Gratitude
The science of gratitude
Because the power of prayer may be scientific, after all.
A Time Magazine article about neuroscience quotes the book The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time, “One powerful effect of gratitude is that it can boost serotonin. Trying to think of things you are grateful for forces you to focus on the positive aspects of your life. This simple act increases serotonin production in the anterior cingulate cortex.”
So your brain sends out happiness waves to your body when you’re grateful about something. There’s a lot of power in that knowledge.
Harnessing the power of gratitude by writing down all of the good things in your life, diverting your attention away from the bad, will boost your serotonin and dopamine naturally.
And New York Times article, “Choose to be Grateful. It Will Make You Happier.“, (an excellent read!) adds to this theory that gratitude can lead to peace and happiness. Author Arthur C. Brooks writes,
This is not just self-improvement hokum. For example, researchers in one 2003 study randomly assigned one group of study participants to keep a short weekly list of the things they were grateful for, while other groups listed hassles or neutral events. Ten weeks later, the first group enjoyed significantly greater life satisfaction than the others.
So, give thanks to realign your perspective. Keeping a gratitude journal is a great way to keep those positive brain waves firing. Think about the things that made you happy for the day, the little things in your life that make you smile – and write it all down in a pretty journal.
Here’s a simple sheet you can follow to help organize your thoughts in the morning.
A Gratitude Journal Template
This is a template you can save and either print off or use in the GoodNotes app on your iPad.
Gratitude Journal Prompts
Or just use this simple list to get started in your own notebook:
- I am… creative, happy, excited, energized… make it positive!
- What’s on your mind? Just do a brain dump of thoughts, things you need to do, what’s happening in the world
- What are you grateful for? You can keep it simple in a list or write out a paragraph.
- Finally, what do you want to do today? It’s SO easy to get caught up in our daily lives, and writing down what you want to do for fun, someone else, your health, and your brain will keep you intentional on the things that matter most. You can add a spiritual prompt, too.
Round-Up of Gratitude Journals
There are so, so many on the market. However, you don’t need to find the perfect journal to get started. Just use a pretty notebook or a weekly calendar to record your thoughts. Here are a few picks…
The Happiness Project Journal
This five year journal gives you space each day to jot down one sentence – and you can start at any point during the year, by the time you come around the next year, you’ll get to see what you were grateful for the previous year. What a simple and effective way to record your grateful memories! Shop the Happiness Project Journal on Amazon
Pretty Notebook for Gratitude Journaling
Record your grateful memories in style. Perhaps your first entry can be that you’re thankful for the preppy and cheerfulness Kate Spade brings to office supplies. Shop Kate Spade notebook on Amazon
Blue Sky Weekly Planner
These large calendars are my favorite – the paper quality is solid, the size is great for writing, and the design is simple and stylish. Rather than make your daily planner, use it to record your gratitude and self-care goals for the week. This would make a great notebook to jot down your grateful thoughts. Blue Sky Weekly planner on Amazon
Moleskine’s classic journals feature great paper and simple layouts. You can get a weekly planner or just a blank notebook. The weekly planners have space for each day. Shop the Moleskine store on Amazon
Levenger Five Year Journal
This journal is simple and pretty. You can start anytime during the year, the journal is undated. Every day of the year has its own page with space for you to write in each year – so you can reflect on your prior year’s entry. Shop Amazon
Planners with Space for Gratitude
If you don’t want a separate journal dedicated to writing down your gratitude, many planners incorporate a space for daily gratitude. Day Designer and the Time Factory from Target have space to record your plans, goals, to do list, meals, and gratitude each day which are a great all-in-one option for all of you planner lovers! (And here’s a roundup of more paper planners, if you’re looking.)
And, I’m grateful for YOU for reading this post!