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Alcohol and Mental Health

Gratitude Journal Prompts To Practice Daily

July 13, 2023
10 min read
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Reframe Content Team
A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
July 13, 2023
10 min read
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Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
July 13, 2023
10 min read
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Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
July 13, 2023
10 min read
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Reframe Content Team
July 13, 2023
10 min read

Think of your mind as a garden, with every thought and emotion a seed that you sow. Just as a well-tended garden will blossom, nurturing your mind with gratitude can cultivate a sense of well-being — and empower you to make lasting changes in your life.

In our fast-paced world, stress can often feel overwhelming, leading us to seek relief in harmful coping mechanisms like excessive drinking.

But there’s a better way to get through the rough patches  —  gratitude.

Practicing gratitude can be a powerful antidote to stress and a catalyst for positive change. These 15 journal prompts can help you along the journey.

The Science of Gratitude

Expressing gratitude activates the prefrontal cortex and the ventral striatum, brain regions associated with positive emotions and reward.

The prefrontal cortex, a region responsible for regulating emotions and decision-making, lights up with activity when we practice gratitude. This activation triggers the release of feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, creating a cascade of positive feelings.

Additionally, expressing gratitude stimulates the ventral striatum, an area linked to pleasure and motivation. It's like pressing a "happiness button" in the brain. As a result, we experience an increased sense of well-being, contentment, and optimism.

The brain is remarkably adaptive and can rewire itself based on our experiences. When we consistently practice gratitude, we strengthen the neural connections associated with positive emotions and reward. This rewiring leads to an enduring positive outlook on life, making us more resilient in the face of challenges.

Not only does gratitude affect the brain — it also influences our overall mental and physical health. Gratitude lowers our levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. It can improve our sleep quality and immune system.

By embracing the science of gratitude, we can tap into our brain's natural capacity for happiness and well-being. It empowers us to reshape our thought patterns, amplify positive emotions — and, ultimately, make lasting changes in our lives.

Journaling Into Gratitude

Incorporating mindfulness into your gratitude practice can enhance its effectiveness. When we are fully present in the moment, we can savor and appreciate even the smallest things in life. Take a deep breath, immerse yourself in the present, and let gratitude flow through you.

  • A moment of joy. Reflect on a recent experience that brought you genuine joy. What about it made you feel grateful? Who was involved? Include some sensory details: what did you see, hear, smell, taste, or touch?
  • Acts of kindness. Write about an act of kindness someone has shown you recently and how it made a positive impact on your day. Alternatively, write about an act of kindness you enacted and how it made you feel. How did you help?
  • Natural wonders. Describe a natural phenomenon or a beautiful landscape that fills you with awe and gratitude. Maybe this is a joyful memory — or something you see everyday.
  • Inner strength. Think of a challenging situation you overcame. How did it shape you, and what strengths did you discover within yourself?
  • Supportive relationships. Identify someone in your life who has supported you unconditionally. Write about their impact and why you appreciate them. Consider telling them someday, if you are able.
  • Simple pleasures. Take a moment to appreciate the little things that bring you joy, like a warm cup of tea or a gentle breeze on a sunny day.
  • Lessons learned. Reflect on a difficult experience and write about the valuable lessons or personal growth that came out of it.
  • Unexpected surprises. Describe a pleasant surprise or unexpected gift that you received. How did it make you feel, and why?
  • Gratitude for health. Reflect on the aspects of your physical and mental well-being that you are thankful for. Consider as many abilities and strengths as possible.
  • Memories that warm your heart. Recall a cherished memory that brings a smile to your face. Write about why it holds a special place in your heart.
  • Acts of self-care. Acknowledge the efforts you have made to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, or mentally. Have you started an exercise routine? Cut back on drinking? Write about how these acts of self-care make you feel.
  • Growth and accomplishments. Celebrate your personal growth and accomplishments, no matter how big or small. Write about the steps you took to achieve them.
  • Gratitude for diversity. Reflect on the richness of diversity in your life. Write about the different cultures, perspectives, and experiences that you value.
  • Supportive community. Describe a community or group of people who have provided support, encouragement, or inspiration. How has their presence impacted your life?
  • Future aspirations. Envision a future in which you have achieved your goals and dreams. Write about the gratitude you feel for the journey that has brought you there. Now think back to the present moment: what’s one change you can make to get you to that future?

Cultivating Gratitude for Lasting Change

We've explored the power of gratitude and provided you with 15 journal prompts — now it's time to take action! Here are three simple yet powerful steps you can take today:

  • Make it your own. Go to a local bookstore and take the time to choose your favorite journal. Or, buy a plain notebook or journal that you then decorate to your liking  —  with markers, glitter, stickers, magazine collages, or photos. The idea is that it should feel very much yours.
  • Create a gratitude ritual. Dedicate a few minutes each day to reflect on and write down your responses to the prompts. Make it a consistent habit. Incorporate gratitude into your daily routine. For example, express gratitude before meals or during your morning or evening rituals. Swap out a nightcap for time spent with your gratitude journal.
  • Share your gratitude. Share gratitude with your loved ones. Send a heartfelt message or note, or simply tell someone in person why you are grateful for them.

By nurturing gratitude, we can reduce stress, foster well-being, and empower ourselves to make lasting changes — and help us reach our goals to cut back on drinking.

Change takes time, and small steps can lead to significant transformations.

So, grab your journal and immerse yourself in the practice of gratitude. Allow it to transform your perspective, strengthen your resilience, and guide you towards joy.

Reclaim Your Health With Reframe

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually, with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

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And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app through the App Store or Google Play today!

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