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How To Practice Gratitude And Find Joy Every Day

Start a Daily Gratitude Practice With Journal Prompts

Woman sitting outside and writing in a journal as part of a gratitude practice.

I’ve been journaling for years – it’s how I process life as an introvert. But I didn’t actively start a gratitude journal practice until my mom passed away suddenly from a complication of heart disease in July 2019. This was the first major loss I had experienced in my life, and it hit me hard. I started to go through the motions of routine every day without feeling present or motivated.

I needed a way to find joy in everyday moments again.

When my mom passed away, I happened to be reading “Option B” by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. In the book, Sheryl talks about her grief journey after her husband died unexpectedly. This quote from the book struck me:

“Counting blessings can actually increase happiness and health by reminding us of the good things in life. Each night, no matter how sad I felt, I would find something or someone to be grateful for.”

Grant, Adam & Sandberg, Sheryl, Option B.

So that’s where I started – each night, I wrote down three things that I was grateful for that day. Some days it was simply “the taste of cake” or “my girls”. But as the days passed, I started to notice more and more things to be grateful for throughout the day. And I felt real joy in these moments even if I could still feel a trace of sadness overall.

Now a year later, I take a moment at the end of the week (usually on Fridays) to reflect on what I appreciated most about that week in my journal. Reliving joyful moments helps put hard times into perspective for me and I continue to turn to my gratitude practice to bring me relief.

A gratitude practice can help you find joy.

In 2020, we all experienced a worldwide pandemic. A time where schools closed, businesses shut down, and work-from-home became the norm for everyone. In these challenging times, when it’s easy to fall into depression and a “why is this so hard” attitude, I found my gratitude practice to be the best antidote.

Here’s the thing about gratitude though – it’s a practice. The more you actively look for things to be grateful for every day, the more you’ll find things to be grateful for… see how that works? Just like how you can miss obvious things by not paying attention, we can also miss out on joy because we’re too busy focusing on other stuff.

Writing in a journal as part of a daily gratitude practice.

Start your gratitude practice today.

If you’re looking to give gratitude practice a try, there’s no real right or wrong way to start. You can have a morning gratitude practice if you’re an early riser or reflect at night before you go to bed. Either jot a few things down in a journal or relive each moment in your mind. You can also write it out in a list style or a paragraph about each thing… there are so many options.

The key is to simply start and find a practice that works for you so that it becomes a daily or weekly habit.

Here are some journal prompts to help you get started:

“Today, I feel grateful for:”

  • List some people
  • The smell of…
  • The taste of…
  • The sound of…
  • The way that I…
  • This song:
  • This quote:
  • Being able to…
  • Going here:
  • Starting this:
  • Finishing this:

Want more tips on daily gratitude and journaling prompts? Come and connect with me on Instagram, where I share hand-lettered templates and inspiration. 

If you’re a new mom, you may be interested in my blog post on 8 Ways To Handle Mom Guilt By Practicing Self-Care.

hand lettered name Carola, mompreneur blog post author

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