Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.Melody Beattie
This quote says it all. Being grateful is important because it definitely changes how we see and experience things every day, and as a consequence, it also changes our whole lives.
That’s why I want to share gratitude journal prompts that you can use for your art journal and develop the habit of being grateful every day while making art along the way.
What is gratitude
According to psychologytoday.com, gratitude is:
“…an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has. It is a recognition of value independent of monetary worth. Spontaneously generated from within, it is an affirmation of goodness.”
“An affirmation of goodness”. I love this line. It’s so simple, yet so true.
So, basically, gratitude is the awareness of all the goodness you have in your life.
Also, I’d add that gratitude is the awareness of all the possible goodness you can have in the future. Just like the quote from the beginning stated.
Psychology Today also says that we can cultivate gratitude with intention and that there are social and personal benefits to this.
There’s also a wonderful article about gratitude on medium.com by Benjamin Hardy, where he has amazing insights into being grateful on a daily basis. Read the article here.
The bottom line is that gratitude is an intentional practice.
You decide to do it regularly and with complete awareness of the moment and the things you’re grateful for.
Sometimes when you’re having the happiest moment, you spontaneously feel gratitude, too.
However, if you set your mind to do it purposefully and with intention, you gain so much more from this practice.
The benefits of having a gratitude art journal
First, I’d like to mention the benefits of keeping a gratitude art journal. I’ve been practicing thankfulness every night before I go to sleep, and it’s given me inner peace and joy.
It’s like an instant revelation every time I express my deep gratitude for certain things or people in my life.
So, I just tried this with my art journal and it’s been a wonderful experience.
Here are all the benefits I’ve experienced with keeping a gratitude art journal.
Grateful for the little things
When you intentionally decide to think about what you’re grateful for every day, you become aware of the tiniest little things in your life that you are thankful for.
For example, you suddenly start to notice things like the beauty of the sunny day that allows you to go for a walk.
Or your little niece’s joy when you tell her you’re babysitting her tomorrow. (Yes, my niece and nephew were dancing with joy when they realized they were coming to my place. How is this not a blessing?)
The bottom line is that by writing down the things you’re grateful for with intention and mindfulness, you discover a whole new world of new blessings in your life that you might have taken for granted before.
This is one of my favorite things about having a gratitude art journal.
You get to experience mindfulness and art
Making art has always had a deeper meaning for me, rather than just a hobby. It’s always been connected to my deep thoughts, feelings, beliefs, desires, visions, etc.
This is especially true when you show gratitude.
Imagine this. You take your art journal, write about the things you’re grateful for and make some art on your art journal page.
You’ll definitely be more aware of your words when you write them down and look at them, and read them a few times.
Then, you spend some time decorating the page, making it beautiful. You take this time to focus only on the things you’re grateful for and the art around it.
That mindful moment is priceless.
You can revisit your gratitude journal
When you write things down. it’s impossible to forget them.
So, having a gratitude journal lets you revisit everything you’ve been grateful for and maybe remind yourself of the things you’ve done better just because you were grateful for them and appreciated them more.
In this way, your gratitude journal becomes a collection of your deepest thoughts and positivity.
Imagine having a book filled with personal positivity that can make any day a wonderful one, again and again.
But how to keep a gratitude art journal?
Pick an art journal for this purpose
Having a smaller journal for this is practical because it would be easier to carry around and use often. Also, if you’re planning on painting in it, just pick a journal with thicker paper, or glue two pages together if they’re too thin.
Pick a pen
You’re going to do a lot of writing, so pick a pen that you love using and that you can doodle with. For example, I always use my black waterproof pens for writing and doodling. They do a wonderful job and I can paint my pages freely knowing the pen is waterproof.
Decide on the time
Think about your day and decide when you have the time to focus on your journaling, and set that time only for yourself. It can be just 10 minutes during your morning coffee, or 15 minutes before going to bed.
Also, feel free to do it as often as you can, or as rarely as you wish. There are no rules for this, it’s your own choice. Maybe you’ll put too much pressure on yourself if you set to do it every day.
If you’re more like me (read: unorganized), then you just do this spontaneously when you feel like it without setting the time, but remind yourself to do it, so you don’t lose the good habit.
Write one thing at a time
What I mean is not to overwhelm yourself with a lot of things at once. If you’re going to write in your gratitude journal this evening, choose one aspect of your life to focus on.
For example, you could focus on the good things about your job, and write a few sentences. The next time, you choose to write about a specific person in your life.
This way of doing it lets you really focus on one particular thing and become aware of it at that moment.
Get into the moment
Let these 10 or 15 minutes of gratitude be special moments. Go deep into the appreciation of the things you focus on, and really try to feel how your chest fill with the feeling of thankfulness.
How to use a gratitude journal?
You can use it every day if you feel like it. Or just sometimes when you feel the need to write things down. You’re not only using it to write what you’re grateful for, but you’re also using it as a written reminder of all the goodness in your life.
This journal is not a one-time thing that you forget about. You need to use the journal so you don’t lose the whole gratitude vibe.
Your gratitude journal can be:
1. A place where you’ll express your gratitude regularly.
2. A life long reminder of all the things you’re thankful for, in the past, present and the future.
You can revisit it any time and see how your life changed, how your needs and attitude transformed, and even see how you were grateful for certain things that only happened afterward.
3. A wonderful and mindful art journal that you enjoy making. When you connect mindfulness and art, then everything gets so much more sense and meaning.
Having a gratitude art journal gives you the opportunity to combine wonderful things together: mindfulness, awareness, and gratitude.
You can use it to grow artistically while still doing something deep and meaningful.
Gratitude journal prompts
Here are some gratitude art journal prompts to help you start your gratitude journal.
1. What is that special person in your life that you’re grateful for? And why?
2. A great opportunity you’ve recently had.
3. Do you have any special talents or skills you’re grateful for?
4. Are there any special skills you want to develop? Be thankful for them even if you still don’t have those skills and watch what happens over time.
5. Are you thankful for a difficult situation in the past? This situation might have made you the person you are today. Try being grateful for it, it’ll surprise you.
6. Are you grateful for the food you like? Any special meal or food that you feel thankful for every time you eat it?
7. Look around your home. What are the things you’re grateful to have?
8. Think about your health. I think this is the most important thing to be grateful for. Just be grateful for your healthy body, and if you have health problems, try being grateful for dealing with those problems successfully.
9. Is there a thing/person/situation that you’re grateful for every day. For example, having breakfast on the table.
10. A trip you’ve taken that is really special.
11. What about all the love in your life?
12. Be thankful for your independence, whether it’s personal, financial, or any other.
13. Are you grateful for the feeling of serenity? What makes you calm and gives you the peace of mind?
14. Are you grateful for art? Art in general and your own?
15. What do you enjoy doing after a long day of work? Bubble baths? Reading a book? Daydreaming? Write about these.
16. Do you have any hobbies you’re so happy to do and enjoy?
17. Think about things your friends do for you, whether those are small things or big life-changing moments.
18. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your life?
19. Is there a person that always makes you smile?
20. A thing that you usually take for granted like having fresh water or the possibility to use a mobile phone.
21. What do you appreciate about nature?
22. Is there anything you’ve changed about yourself that you’re proud of, or maybe you want to change in the future? Be grateful for it.
23. Something so superficial but that you’re still thankful for, like having enough time to play computer games.
24. Is there a tool or an object that helps you on a daily basis?
25. A historical figure you appreciate.
26. Look out of the window. What do you see that you’re grateful for?
27. Do you have any memories you’re thankful for? If you have photos of events or people from those memories, include them in your gratitude journal.
28. Have you had any weird situations that turned out to be one of the best ones in your life?
29. Have you overcome a difficult obstacle that you’re proud of?
30. Or maybe you are experiencing an obstacle now and want to overcome it in the future? Be already grateful for that.
31. What do you love about your personality?
Tips for using gratitude journal prompts
Here are a few tips or reminders for using your gratitude journal.
Be honest with yourself
You do this only for you and it’s nobody else’s business. There’s no room for pretending or being scared.
Nothing is too small to be grateful for. Just trust yourself and your gut.
If you’re being true to yourself, things go smoothly and intuitively.
Don’t judge what you write
There’s no room for self-judgment here. This is supposed to be a joyous moment of gratitude, so write what comes naturally and don’t overthink it.
This being said, you’re not a shallow person if you’re thankful for your new jacket. You’ve worked hard for that jacket. You can be grateful for it.
Focus on the future as well
When we try to be thankful, we immediately think about the things that have passed or the present situations.
However, why not be grateful for the things that are yet to come.
Of course, nobody can promise to know the future, but you can focus your energy on things you want to happen by being grateful for them in advance.
This creates a wonderful feeling of humility and overall thankfulness.
You could sum it up like this: Whatever happens, I’m already grateful. It’s one of the best feelings in the world.
This way, you train yourself to be grateful no matter what.
Go into tiny details
When you express gratitude, you can look at the big picture.
For example, you could say:
I’m grateful for all the love I receive.
However, you can be really specific. Our days are filled with details, and we tend to miss most of them.
Why not focus on those tiny things that make our days better?
For example, you could write:
I’m grateful for the evening cuddles I have with my boyfriend/husband/cat/kids.
Do this when you’re undisturbed
In order to get into the moment and really focus on using your gratitude journal, try being alone while doing that, or at least somewhere with little disturbance, and where you0re comfortable.
Revisit your gratitude journal often
There’s so much magic in seeing all the things you’ve been grateful for in the past.
This way, you constantly remind yourself of all the blessings in your life.
And in turn, you create positive energy within you, and around you.
Gratitude journal quotes
Here are some quotes I’ve found that you can use with these gratitude journal prompts. They can be a great idea to use in your journal or only as an inspiration for your own words of gratitude.
Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.
Henri Frederic Amiel
In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
Give yourself a gift of five minutes of contemplation in awe of everything you see around you. Go outside and turn your attention to the many miracles around you. This five-minute-a-day regimen of appreciation and gratitude will help you to focus your life in awe.
It is through gratitude for the present moment that the spiritual dimension of life opens up.
Other ideas for using the gratitude journal prompts
You can use these prompts but not for a journal.
What if you use a jar instead?
What I had in mind is to use the prompts, and write what you’re grateful for on pieces of paper and put them in a nice jar?
You can decorate the jar, or write something on it, put a ribbon around it, whatever you want.
Also, instead of regular paper, you can use scrapbook paper to add more interest.
And if you want to revisit your gratitudes later, write the date on each of the papers. This way, you can go back and read some of those.
Maybe you’ll be quite surprised when you realize that what you’re experiencing now, you were grateful for it before it even became your reality.
An interesting and provoking thought, right?
Gratitude journal prompts – final thoughts
Gratitude is an elevating feeling of being aware of all the goodness in your life. It’s a practice of appreciating things most people take for granted.
And above all, it enriches your daily life and brings more joy to your days.
Moreover, by being grateful, you create a positive atmosphere in your mind, your feelings and your mood that shows on the outside.
How wonderful is that?
For me, it’s magical. The moment when I feel deep gratitude, my heart is full and my whole body feels light and instantly I feel joy.
You can achieve this in just a few minutes by being completely focused on the thing you’re grateful for. Try it right away and you’ll see.
Words are powerful, and when you say them aloud or write them down, they are out there creating energy and atmosphere.
That’s why keeping a gratitude journal is a wonderful way of practicing gratitude.
I also like this journal to be an art journal because I love adding an artistic touch to my deep thoughts on the paper.
It then adds another dimension to it all, besides being thoughtful and mindful, the process also becomes aesthetic and pretty.
I hope you’ll find the gratitude journal prompts inspirational and motivational. There’s so much to be grateful for, so I have no doubt you’ll fill your gratitude journal in a blink of an eye.
# express your gratitude intentionally and on a regular basis, to make it a habit.
# really focus on feeling the deep appreciation for things, make the moment mindful.
# be grateful for the things that still haven’t happened, express your gratitude for everything that may come your way because it can make you happy or make you learn something. Either way, you win.
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