I’d like to share some examples of gratitude lists and journal entries that will help guide you and add confidence to your own practice.
I’ve already written at length on how to write a gratitude journal, so if you’re unsure about how often or when to write, how many items to write in a list, what to think about when you’re writing, what type of journal works best, etc. then I recommend checking it out. I also list out all the numerous benefits of a gratitude practice to help you find your “why”.
There are two main ways you can write gratitude lists – shorts and sweet or longer and in-depth. Both have shown to be beneficial, however one definitely outshines the other in terms of a long-term practice that continues to enrich your life.
Short and Sweet Examples
This is the simplest and most common practice. Here are some examples of short and sweet gratitude lists:
- My happy dog
- The smell of fireplace smoke outside
- My roommate baked cookies
- Warm, clean sheets
- Met an old friend for dinner
I don’t recommend writing excessively short lists like this, however. It becomes too easy to quickly jot it down without taking the time to genuinely reflect on each item and recall how it made you feel. Some people can do it, and that’s great! But if you find yourself just going through the motions, then try another approach.
The more detail you add, the more you’ll naturally meditate on each item and feel the emotion of gratitude. This is the secret to gaining all the benefits of a gratitude practice – feeling the emotion of gratitude.
Here is the same list from above, but with more detail added. You can better sense the emotion that’s behind each one now.
- My dog is so energetic and smiling that she always puts a smile on my face.
- The smell of fireplace smoke when I’m walking outside is nostalgic and comforting.
- My roommate baked cookies today and they were delicious. I love that she shares things she bakes with me.
- I put clean sheet on my bed today, and they were still warm from the dryer and smelled so good.
- I got dinner with a friend I haven’t seen in a couple months. He radiates good energy, and I love spending time with him.
Long & In-Depth Examples
We’ve been leading up to this, but the more detail and emotion you put in your gratitude journal entries, the more beneficial the practice will be.
So here is the other end of the spectrum where your list really only needs one item, but you spend more time writing about the details of the event, how it make you feel, why you’re grateful, etc. Here you’re truly meditating on the feeling of gratitude.
Here are some different examples employing this tactic that are real entries from my gratitude journal:
“The warmth of the sun keeps me healthy by providing Vitamin D, but it also grounds me and relaxes me when I’m feeling tense. This afternoon I let my dogs out into the backyard, and Lexie plopped down to sunbathe like she does. This time I joined her, stretching out on the back patio, closing my eyes, and letting the sun warm away some of my tension and remind me how big the world is and how much opportunity and potential exists out there.”
“It was my friend Janette’s birthday today, and I was invited to join her entire family for a birthday dinner. She and her whole family are so unconditionally accepting and supportive of me, and I am always so grateful for them.”
“Today at the supermarket, a young man was so courteous and helpful towards one of the meat counter employees before he even asked for the bacon he needed. Small acts of kindness like this always warm my heart, and I’m grateful for those who make an effort to always be empathetic towards others because those are the people who make the world such a good place.”
“On my run this morning I was overcome with gratitude as I watched people drive by me on their morning commutes. Running in the mornings brings me joy and protects my mental health, and it wasn’t possible for me to do when I worked a 9-5 job. As a freelancer, I’m blessed with a lifestyle that allows me to slow down, take care of myself physically and mentally, and enjoy more time with my dogs and those I care about. I’m truly so grateful that I don’t have to work a regular job anymore.”
“Today I’m especially grateful for the internet, which I always take for granted. I got shin splints on my run today, and without the internet I really wouldn’t know how to properly help them heal and how to prevent it from happening again. The internet is indispensable for me when it comes to staying healthy.”
Which Method is Best?
This depends on you. I’d play around with the different styles and figure out which one leaves your heart feeling fullest afterwards. There’s really no wrong way to do it as long as you focus on the emotion of gratitude as you write.
You don’t have to feel bound to any specific method of writing your gratitude list either – it’s okay to mix it up and write shorter lists on days you’re tired or short on time.
You can use any notebook to keep a gratitude journal, however, there are a bunch of journals made specifically to support and guide your gratitude practice. If you think you might want to try out one of those journals, here are a few that align with the various types of gratitude lists we’ve discussed.
You’ll gain more benefits from writing in a paper journal, however if you’re looking for digital journals or apps you can find a full list in my previous blog post on how to write a gratitude journal.
Good Days Start With Gratitude
Geared towards the short and sweet daily journaling, each weekly spread contains space to write 3 things you are thankful for each day of the week. There is also a gratitude prompt at the end of each week with a full page to reflect on the prompt.
Okay Fine, I’m Grateful!
This journal supports both the long, in-depth journal entry and the shorter but detailed entries. The journal is smaller, but with one full, lined page dedicated to each entry, there is plenty of space to get detailed about one thing you are grateful for or make your own list of 3-5 things. It also has inspiring, full-color quotes opposite each entry page.
Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal
This journal also supports the long, in-depth journal entry, however each entry is prompted and encourages a different focus and reflection on each entry. The prompts help you connect emotionally with the wonderful things in your life. And bonus, there are beautiful illustrations that you can color!
The most minimalistic and simple gratitude journal, it has full, lined pages for your to write any kind of journal entry that you like.
One Last Question
I’d love to know which type of gratitude list you think you will use – short and sweet or long and detailed? Or something in between? Or, if you already have a gratitude practice, which do you use? Please let me know in the comments!