Happiness journals have been quite the trend recently. There’s a good chance you know someone who keeps a happiness journal – and since you’ve stumbled upon this article – you’re probably considering starting your own.
Which is a great idea.
Why Keep a Happiness Journal?
The benefits of keeping a happiness journal or gratitude journal are clear:
- They are good for your mental health
- They aid in sleep
- They lower stress
- They improve personal relationships
- They increase generosity
And as Maanvi Singh points out, you don’t have to formally journal to reap these benefits, you just have to write down what you’re thankful for. But we believe that journaling is the probably the best way to organize your thoughts, build happiness, and grow gratitude.
What is a Happiness Journal?
A happiness journal is simply a record of things that make you happy. It’s that simple. A happiness journal can be structured thoughts or stream of consciousness. It can be formal or informal. Guided or free flow.
A happiness journal can take many forms:
- A guided journal with specific prompts
- A guided journal with more general prompts around gratitude
- A blank journal where you pave your own path
If you’ve never done any kind of happiness or gratitude journaling, we might recommend starting with a guided journal while you build the habit. Here are two of our favorites to check out:
You might also be interested in The Gratitude Sidekick Journal or 52 Lists for Happiness.
How to Use a Happiness Journal
- Create a time and a space to journal.
- Write down 2-5 things that make you happy.
- Write down a few goals you’d like to achieve today.
- Spend a little time reflecting on changes you’d like to see in your life.
Create a Time and Space to Journal
This is a simple – but very important step. Happiness journaling doesn’t have to be a formal habit you create that takes place at the same time and place each day.
But the biggest benefits come when you’re consistent. And if you’re anything like me, you need to develop a habit in order to be consistent.
First, choose a time to journal. It can be first thing in the morning, mid-day, or in the evening. But try to pick a time at which you can consistently show up.
Next, create a space. Spend some time on it. Create a space you want to spend time in each day. It can be a corner chair and side table or perhaps a cozy desk space.
Write Down What Makes You Happy
It really is that simple. Don’t overcomplicate this practice.
Set yourself a number of lines to write – it can be anywhere from 2-5.
These can be things you’re grateful for, things that make you smile, future events you’re excited about, people you love, etc… The options are endless.
The goal is that you’re reflecting on the positives and writing them down.
If you grab one of the guided journals we recommended, they will come with prompts to guide you on your happiness journey.
Write Down a Few Goals for the Day
Writing down goals is a great way to organize the day and keep you focused.
During this time, you can focus on your happiness goals. These can be global goals such as “spend more time with friends” or “spend more time enjoying nature.”
They can also be more specific goals such as “chat with one of my neighbors” or “attend an event.”
It’s entirely up to you as to how aspirational or specific you want them to be. The goal is that you’re considering things you want to accomplish and writing them down.
Reflect on Changes You Want to See in Your Life
What would make you more happy? How can you put yourself in a position to increase your happiness? What are the obstacles that prevent you from living the life you want? What do you need to do to overcome those obstacles?
These are all questions you should be asking yourself during this final step.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down to journal and blown through the first three steps only to get stuck on this one.
But it’s an important step. If you want to grow in happiness or gratitude, these are important questions to ask yourself.
15 Happiness Journal Prompts
Happiness journaling should be simple, straight from the heart, and easy. But we know it’s tough to get the thoughts rolling sometimes, right?
Here are 15 happiness journal prompts to get you started:
- What are three things you’re thankful for today?
- What made you the happiest over the past week?
- What’s the happiest thing that’s ever happened to you?
- What people in your life are you most grateful for?
- What’s your happiest memory of all time?
- What thoughts are you hanging onto that you need to let go?
- What negative past event do you need to move on from?
- What’s the best part of your job?
- What did you accomplish today?
- Write about someone who has had a positive impact on your life.
- What past mistake or failure are you most grateful for?
- Write about a happy memory from your childhood.
- Where’s your favorite place to visit? What do you love about it?
- What’s your favorite possession? Why do you love it?
- Open your phone and find an old photo you love. Write about the memory.
There it is. You have everything you need to start happiness journaling!