Many of us can get bogged down with work or school stress, negative news and worry about the future, but there is something that can help: gratitude. Research has shown that gratitude effectively increases happiness, improves physical health and even strengthens relationships. When you choose to record your gratitude daily in a journal, you’re training your mind to refocus on the positive. Passion Planner conveniently contains blank pages that can be used as your gratitude log. If you’re ready to join the likes of Oprah and Deepak Chopra (two avid gratitude journal practitioners), feel free to use the following gratitude prompts to help you get started:
Who or What Inspired Me Today?
When you are inspired, you feel a deep sense of passion and motivation to do something for yourself, others or the world. For a painter, inspiration might lead to filling a new canvas. A poet might take to the page. But inspiration can also be simpler. You might be inspired to cook something new, to help your neighbor or to learn a new language. Chances are there was a catalyst that led you to want to take this action or dream of it. Whether inspiration led you to do something or simply feel something today, take a moment to record what gave you a surge of inspiration.
What is Something I Like About Myself?
We often get in the habit of focusing on ways to improve ourselves and achieve more. While this way of thinking can help us grow, we can also forget to appreciate the positive qualities we already possess. Think of a skill or personality trait for which you are grateful and jot it down in your Passion Planner. Celebrate who you are before shifting your attention to who you want to become.
Who Has Made a Positive Impact on My Life?
Think about some people who have had a positive impact on your life, either in the past or presently. Choose one person and list the gifts they have given you—their time, their humor, their good advice, etc. You may even consider composing a thank you letter to them. Whether you choose to share the letter with them or not, simply writing down your appreciation can be a satisfying experience.
What Did I Accomplish Today?
In a world of never-ending to-do lists, it can sometimes feel like there’s not enough time to do everything. Even if you had five things you needed to do today, but you only managed to get to four, acknowledge your effort. By getting in the habit of focusing on what we did, instead of what we failed to do, we extend compassion to ourselves and we learn to celebrate our capabilities.
What’s Something I’m Looking Forward to?
Though gratitude holds the power of rooting us in the present and reminding us that what we have is enough, anticipating the future positively can also be empowering. Looking forward to future events replaces worry or boredom with excitement, and inaction with action. Even though the future hasn’t yet happened, naming what you hope to see is a profound first step in manifesting it.
Erica Garza is an author and essayist from Los Angeles. She holds a master's degree in Writing from Columbia University. Her writing has appeared in TIME, Health, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Women's Health, and VICE.