Gratitude journal

Mike asked me for details about my gratitude journal

Mine is really quite simple… so simple that I’m a little embarrassed to be turning this into a blog post! But it seems appropriate as I’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow…

I have a nice leather journal (that I use for jotting down other thoughts, things I’ve learned, etc.), but any notebook or piece of paper or digital file will do.

Each day, I write the date, then write down a list of five things that I’m truly grateful for. It takes about five minutes to do.

The more specific, the better, although once in a while things like “my health” or “my friends” will creep into my list.

Usually my list involves many things from the previous day that I’m thankful for, but sometimes a couple items are things I’m thankful for in general; “the best hubby ever” and “Nutmeg the very cute cat” are ones that frequently turn up on my lists.

There are some days when I really don’t feel very grateful about much. In that case, I don’t force myself to write down five things, but I write down what I can. Usually, however, I’m able to find five things that I’m truly thankful for!

My religious faith allows me to take this one step further. After writing down my five things, I pray a quick prayer of gratitude. This segues quite nicely into a daily time of prayer.

I’ve used the gratitude journal tool on and off for the past several years. When I’ve stopped, it’s because I’ve found myself treating this as routine — just writing down five things because “that’s what I do” but not taking any time to really savor each thing I write down and to feel grateful for them. I prefer to physically write the items down in my journal, instead of typing them, because it forces me to slow down at least slightly and think more about what I’m writing.

Here are a few recent entries from my own journal:


  1. Didn’t sneeze much yesterday (I sneezed pretty much non-stop on 11/17)
  2. Felt “fed” at church
  3. Time I got to spend with Steve
  4. Made homemade bread successfully
  5. Watched Ratatouille


  1. Good time talking with Steve yesterday
  2. Went to gym, finally!!
  3. Good work day
  4. Got Christmas newsletter almost done
  5. Chatted with Jenni for a little bit


  1. Got to hang out with Lucy
  2. Had lunch with Steve
  3. Got lots of exercise
  4. Yummy dinner — brussels sprouts cut from the stalk, chicken, rice
  5. Good night of sleep (I was especially thankful for this because I had woken up at 2:30 am the night before and couldn’t get back to sleep)

I’m definitely curious to see how this impacts your overall level of positivity, Mike, as well as anyone else who has been trying this!

(I thought this would be a super-short post. “Write down five things you are thankful for.” But as I’ve said before, I can be wordy…)

3 thoughts on “Gratitude journal

  1. Corrie, wow, thanks! I’ve been hearing about gratitude journals so thanks for sharing your approach. I’m thinking we might try this with Nathan before he goes to be each night, where all 3 of us share something we are thankful for.

  2. Corrie, I would to know more about writing journal, would you like to suggest some sites or provide some tips to me. Idea of gratitude journal is going to have great impact the way we think.

    Thanks for sharing this one.
    – Preetam

  3. Hi Preetam – I don’t think I’ve ever looked for any sites about journaling; it’s something I’ve always done so I’m not sure how to tell someone how to start! Keeping a gratitude journal, or a daily list of things you are thankful for, however, is a good place to start.

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