So many of us live in such a constant blur of stress and to do lists that we don’t really experience the days we go through, let alone take the time to appreciate all the good things we have in the midst of the stress and chaos. Keeping a gratitude list is a great way to remind yourself how good you’ve really got it, and to transform even the most frazzled and frustrated of moods into something positive.
How to Create Your Own List
There is no one way to create a gratitude list. Some people like to keep one running list they can carry in their wallet or tack up on the fridge to give them a boost whenever things start getting stressful. Other people like to write a new list each day to give themselves fresh perspective. Here are two of my favorite gratitude list rituals:
If you’re the sort that has trouble getting to sleep because your mind is racing with all the things you didn’t get done and all the things you’ll have to do the next day, this ritual is perfect for you. It’s like counting sheep, except every sheep is something lovely and uplifting that leaves you feeling relaxed and happy when you finally drift off to dreamland.
Each night, after you’ve turned off your light and nestled down under the covers, let your mind wander across all the things from the day that you’re grateful for. It could be anything from your family to the day’s warm weather to the parking space you got right in front of work—nothing is too big or too small. If one thing in particular really touches you, allow yourself to dwell on it and the happy feelings it evokes as long as you like. Focusing on positive thoughts as you fall asleep is a great way to quiet your mind, let go of the stress of the day, and wake up feeling refreshed and reenergized.
Many of us wake up with a laundry list of all the tasks we have to tackle already running through our heads. Instead of getting yourself worked up before you’re even out of bed, try this instead:
As you lay in bed, still all warm and cozy, think of 3 things—just 3 things—that you’re grateful to have in your life today. Your health. Your home. The yummy leftovers you have in the fridge from your favorite restaurant—again, nothing is too big or too small. In fact, including the “insignificant” things we have to be grateful for can open us up to realizing how many little opportunities we have to be happy throughout the day.
Retraining Your Mind (and Your Mood)
The simple truth is that the kind of day you have depends largely on the filter through which you view the world. By getting into the habit of looking for the things you have to be grateful for, you start to reframe your entire perspective. You begin to really appreciate your blessings instead of taking them for granted. You’re better able to handle stress and disappointment because you’re plugged in to just how much you have to be thankful for. You learn to look on the bright side of things.Give it a try yourself! I guarantee it will change the quality of your days for the better.