There’s a good chance that you’ve heard about the benefits of practicing gratitude. If you don’t know where to begin, we’ve collected the best gratitude apps for iPhone and Apple Watch to get you started.
Gratitude is a buzzy self-care practice these days, but its effects are not overblown. It’s a simple thing to do, and it’s associated with a massive list of positive benefits.
Here are the best gratitude apps for iPhone and Apple Watch — and why you should use one.
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Why you should use a gratitude app on iPhone and Apple Watch
Some people might be tempted to write off gratitude journaling as a wishy-washy self-care practice. Those people, however, would be mistaken. Practicing gratitude is power, and a growing body of scientific research proves it.
Universities like UC Davis and UC Berkeley are spearheading research into the practice of gratitude and finding incredible results. For one, people who regularly practice gratefulness are often happier and less depressed than people who don’t. Gratitude can also positively affect your overall mental well-being.
According to the UC Davis Medical Center, the practice of gratitude can also have real effects on your physical body.
For example, researchers found that gratitude is associated with higher levels of good cholesterol and lower levels of bad cholesterol. Gratitude practitioners also generally had lower blood pressure during periods of rest and stress.
Gratitude is also linked to higher heart rate variability, a metric associated with a healthy nervous system, increased mental clarity, and overall less stress.
You don’t need to practice gratitude for years to start seeing tangible results, either. UC Davis researchers found that keeping a gratitude diary for two weeks caused participants to have lower levels of perceived stress and depression.
If you need more convincing, here are some other stats from UC Davis.
- Gratitude is associated with 23% lower cortisol levels or the stress hormone.
- Practicing gratitude was associated with a 7% reduction in signs of inflammation
- Gratitude is linked to a 10% improvement in sleep quality in those with chronic pain and 19% lower depression levels.
Best Gratitude Apps for iPhone and Apple Watch
Now that you know how powerful gratitude can be, these are the best gratitude apps available on iOS and watchOS.
As one of the most popular gratitude journal apps on the App Store, Gratitude is an aptly named app. However, its features extend beyond gratitude. The app includes inspirational quotes, a vision board feature, affirmations, and more.
If you need help staying motivated, Gratitude also has reminder features and unique challenges. For example, you can sign up for a seven-day or 14-day gratitude challenge. Although the app has a subscription option, it offers an impressive list of features for free.
You can download Gratitude here.
The Thankful app brings a no-frills approach to gratitude journaling. When you first open Thankful, the app shows a counter with how many days you’ve stayed consistent. From there, it’s easy to tap on a plus icon to get to your gratitude journal space.
Thankful costs $1.99 to download and use, but it doesn’t require a subscription to access all its features. There are additional prompt packs available for single-time fees, however. The Apple Watch companion app sends you a notification to remind you to journal at a predetermined time.
You can download Thankful on the App Store.
Day One Journal
Day One Journal is a bit more general than some other options on this list. Instead of being a straightforward gratitude app, Day One Journal is a complete private diary system. It’s also a well-regarded and reviewed app that has won several App Store awards.
The app itself is beautifully designed. In addition to gratitude journaling features, Day One Journal lets you create complete diary entries with audio, videos, photos, notes, and more. Although the app is free to download and use, some of the premium features require a subscription.
You can download Day One Journal here.
As with Day One Journal, the Reflectly app is geared more toward general journaling than gratitude journaling. However, it’s still an excellent option to consider for an iPhone-based journal — and it has a trick up its sleeve that makes it stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Reflectly is an AI diary that uses artificial intelligence. Through a simple mood-tracking system, the app intelligently gives you personalized motivation reminders and prompts. There are, of course, gratitude-based prompts available on the app. It’s free to download, but some features — like unlimited stories and advanced stats — require a subscription.
You can download Reflectly here.
Three Good Things
If you’re looking for a straightforward and simple gratitude option, then Three Good Things is probably up your alley. Based on the exercise of the same name known to increase happiness and well-being, Three Good Things makes gratitude journaling simple, quick, and easy to do.
When you open the app, it will prompt you to write down three good things each day. It doesn’t get much fancier than that, but doing this simple exercise is proven by researchers at UC Berkeley & UC Davis to have a wealth of benefits. Best of all, the app offers a lot for free, and its 99-cent-a-month subscription is highly affordable.
You can download Three Good Things here.
As with Three Good Things, the Delightful app is based on an exercise developed and perfected at UC Berkeley & UC Davis. This simple app prompts you to journal about three good things each day. It’s a no-frills approach that is highly effective.
The app lets you back up and save journal entries in CSV format, which could be handy for those concerned about data backup. Although the app is entirely free to use, there are some premium features available for a one-time purchase of $6.99. These include a Face ID lock, the ability to search entries by keyword, and a “Flashback Today” widget.
You can download the Delightful app here.
365 Gratitude Journal
The 365 Gratitude Journal is a good app option for those who want to do more long-form gratitude journaling but may struggle finding things to say. The app provides a prompt that lets you explore various life lessons related to difficult emotions, positivity, self-love, and more.
Additionally, the app comes with several non-gratitude features like daily affirmations, mood trackers, courses, games, and meditations. It also has a unique “community” feature that lets you share things you’re grateful for in a small community of people who care about the practice of gratitude.
You can download the 365 Gratitude Journal here.
The Notes app isn’t a gratitude journal, but you can use it like one. Because of that, it’s worth an honorable mention. If you want to keep it simple, you can create a pinned note that you keep at the top of the app and fill it out each day.
Although you won’t get prompts or additional journaling features, using the Notes app has the added benefit of syncing your journals across your Apple devices. It’s also completely free to use — and there will never be ads or subscriptions to unlock any premium features.
Gratitude is free!
An intentional gratitude practice is one of the most powerful self-care exercises you can apply to your life. And even though it can have a wide range of positive effects, practicing gratitude is generally completely free.
You could, of course, just use a pen and paper. However, the apps listed above have a wealth of nifty features, affirmations, prompts, and more that can help you stick to the practice of gratitude journaling and spark a plethora of benefits in your life.