A lot of attention has been placed on meditation in recent years due in part to the large number of studies which confirm its usefulness.

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However, there’s another exercise which is nearly — if not just as — powerful, has been proven (as much as anything can) through extensive research, and which also can be performed in as little as one or two minutes.

What is it? Gratitude. Specifically, various gratitude exercises, most of which involve writing about what you’re grateful for in some form be it as a list or a letter.

Gratitude-cultivating exercises have been shown to:

  • Increase mood and reduce negative emotions
  • Increase self-esteem
  • Improve relationships (both family, friendships, and romantic)
  • Makes us more optimistic
  • Reduce materialism (improve perspective of what matters)
  • Improve decision making
  • Improve sleep quality
  • Reduce depressive symptoms

That’s quite a list, isn’t it?

The gratitude exercise most extensively studied is a quick reflection and recording of three things which happened to you today (or any particular day) which you’re grateful for.

That’s great because it means with just a few minutes of basic writing each day you can take full advantage of the above-mentioned benefits.

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

– Melody Beattie

Sold on gratitude yet? There just so happens to be some killer gratitude journals out there to help get your gratitude habit started (and keep it going).

Here are the five best gratitude journals available.

52 Lists for Happiness

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Why it’s great: 52 Lists for Happiness is perfect for anyone who doesn’t have a desire to write but wants to take advantage of the power of gratitude. The journal has prompts you can reference to help you jot down a few things you’re grateful for each day in a simple list form.
>> See it on Amazon.com

Grateful Moment

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Why it’s great: Joybox’s Grateful Moment journal is structured similarly to the 52 Lists for Happiness journal with a few added benefits for anyone looking for a more all-in-one self-improvement journal. It includes daily, weekly, and monthly templates for goal setting, positive affirmations, inspirational quotes, and simple “3 things” gratitude exercise format for each day.
>> See it on Amazon.com

Start Where You Are

Why it’s great: Meera Lee Patel’s Start Where You Are self-exploration and gratitude journal offers both prompts to help you reflect on what you’re grateful for as well as drawings and other writing exercises to develop mindfulness and explore yourself. It’s the perfect journal for anyone looking to explore themselves a little more often.
>> See it on Amazon.com

Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal

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Why it’s great: Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal is unique because offers great questions to help your mind open up to the things you’re grateful for, perfect for anyone who isn’t a natural creative writer but who has a desire to explore through writing.
>> See it on Amazon.com

Panda Planner

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Why it’s great: Panda Planner is great for anyone looking for a more all-in-one gratitude and productivity journal. It includes a convenient section for your daily gratitude exercise in addition to using a 90-day organizational time management structure that allows you to plan out your goals and stick to a set schedule to realize that goal including goal tracking and a weekly review section.
>> See it on Amazon.com


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