What are you grateful for? Listing and affirming gratitude is one of the best ways that we can begin to bring positive change for ourselves and those around us. As we begin to become more aware of the many blessings already present in our lives—from the small things, to the overlooked things, to the big and important things—we are better able to see and connect to the abundance that is around us.
A fantastic way to begin is with a formal gratitude listing practice. There are a lot of really great gratitude journals available on the market, but you don’t need to buy a new journal to start recording the things you are grateful for. Any notebook will do, and all it takes is a few minutes at the beginning or the end of your day to make a list of the things that you are most grateful for right now. Your gratitude journal can include anything, big or small. There will be some days when things are not going especially well and you struggle to find anything to be grateful for. These are the days when the most important invitation to you is to return to the simplest gifts that are with you all the time: fresh air, beautiful sunlight, clean water. On other days your list of gratitude might be more plentiful.
I’ve been keeping a daily gratitude journal for over five years and have seen immense benefit from it. A study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology called ‘Counting Blessings versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-being in Daily Life’ showed that ‘a conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits’. Starting your day with a list of gratitude sets the tone for the day, and once you’ve turned gratitude into a daily practice you’ll begin to experience greater awareness, acceptance, and compassion. These powerful questions can be a great starting point for connecting to gratitude and starting a daily gratitude practice:
- When did you find inner strength to overcome a great challenge?
- What has made you smile recently?
- Who helped you to achieve a recent accomplishment?
- What inspires you?
- Who has shown you kindness this week?
- Where are you best able to express yourself?
- When did you feel cherished?
- Where do you feel most at home?
- What part of the natural world inspires you most?
- What wishes have come true?
- Who brings joy into your life?
- What negative experience ultimately led to something positive?
- What can you see outside your window?
- Who really listens to you and hears you?
- Who or what has recently entered your life that you are grateful for?
- What room in your home most inspires you?
- Who has helped you to make a difficult decision recently?
Download your free 21-day course in The Path of Mindfulness. In this life-changing 21-day mindfulness journey, Dr Allan Kilner-Johnson guides you through a series of self-guided mindfulness exercises and shows you how and when to bring mindfulness into your daily life.