You don’t have to be a good writer, or a writer at all, to start a journal. You don’t even have to write in full sentences or use correct spelling. Throw all grammatical rules out the window, if you please.
Many people say they don’t journal because they don’t know what to write about. For that reason, journaling becomes a stressful to-do list task.
Here’s what I’ve found works great for people who are stressed out about journaling: prompts!
Of course, you can also journal about what stressors you’re facing in life, but for now, we’re going to focus on a specific type of journaling: Gratitude journaling.
Journaling and practicing gratitude have been researched extensively, and the results are in: many mental and physical health benefits ensue from the practice. One study found that gratitude journaling could lead to greater well-being, a more positive outlook on life, and feeling more connected to others. Another study found that practicing gratitude can result in better sleep and even reduce the risk of heart disease!
Here are five prompts to get you started on the path of reaping the benefits of journaling. Again, there’s really no wrong way to journal, so you can approach these however you’d like. You can also create your own prompts based on these ones.
No victory’s too small to count here. It can be something as small as “actually woke up on my first alarm instead of hitting snooze five times” or as big as “finished up a big project at work.” Revisiting these little victories will help you feel a sense of accomplishment.
This doesn’t have to be a complete list. Personally, I like to take the time to list five people and write what I’m grateful for about each one of them. Bonus points if you share the journal entry with the people you wrote about!
You can revisit places near and far, natural wonders, man-made wonders, people, animals, whatever comes to mind. You’ll spark some joy taking a walk down memory lane and feeling grateful for how beautiful life can be.
Having something to look forward to is great to get you through rough days. Make a list of at least five things you’re looking forward to this week. It can be watching a new episode of your favorite series, indulging in a delicious dessert, or a night out with friends.
This prompt is great especially when you’re feeling down in the dumps like nothing brings you joy. Making a physical list of things that make you happy, from petting a cute dog on the street to sharing a meal with friends.
All these prompts will help you count your blessings, be mindful, and practice gratitude. Before you know it, you just might be looking forward to journaling because it makes you feel sooo good.
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