Gratitude Journaling for Anxiety

As humans we're wired to be on the lookout for what could go wrong around the corner. For people with anxiety, this sense of foreboding can be turned up even louder. Practicing gratitude can be especially helpful in working with these feelings of dread that often accompany anxiety. Below I've got three different ways of incorporating gratitude into your journaling practice, with a printable template for each.


1.) Listing Three Things You're Grateful For

This is the simplest one on the list that takes the least time. Just write out three things that your grateful for. They can be big things or small things, whatever you're feeling gratitude for in the moment. It can be nice to have a buddy to share your gratitude with, or you could even start a gratitude group text chain. Including friends in the practice helps with feelings of connection and can make it easier to turn this practice into a habit!

Gratitude journal printable
Download PDF • 583KB

2.) Three Good Things (Expanded Reflection)

This practice expands a bit on the one above, encouraging you to take some time to explore your gratitude in more depth. I originally came across this exercise through the Greater Good Science Center of University of California, Berkeley. It's based on research published in the APA journal, American Psychologist. Steps and downloadable worksheet below

  • In your journal or on the printable template provided below, write down your responses to the following inquiries.

  • Give the good thing that happened today a title

  • Reflect on what you think caused this event, and ask yourself why you think it happened.

  • Write down a detailed account of what happened (who, what, where, when, why.)

  • How did this even make you feel? How does it feel now reflecting on it?

  • Try to keep your mind focused on the positive elements of this event, and keep the writing style casual without worrying about grammar and spelling

  • Repeat for two more good things that happened to you today

  • It's recommended that you try this practice daily for at least a week

Link to original practice:

Link to research:

Printable Journaling Template:

3 good things edited(1)
Download PDF • 44KB

3.) Gratitude Bomb

The gratitude bomb is an exercise created by writer, Elizabeth Gilbert. It gives you an opportunity to take a more holistic look at what you're grateful for. In this exercise you can brainstorm, and jot down what you're grateful for in each of the following categories; family, body, work, community, home, and spirit.

Feel free to get creative with each category and think outside of the box, For example, family could include your pets or close friends. Give it a try in your journal, or print out the worksheet below!

gratitude bomb
Download PDF • 26KB

Give It a Try

Go ahead and pick one of these gratitude journaling exercises to try! I always encourage folks to pause before and after completing them to notice any shift in presence. If you notice you're feeling a bit lighter and less fearful after completing them, let that feeling soak in. The benefits of these practices will likely feel stronger if you stick with them regularly for a longer period of time. You might want to try committing to a daily practice of one of these exercises for a week or a month. Enjoy!