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What is all the fuss about gratitude lists and why are they such a great idea?
Let’s face it, life is hard! Everybody struggles with problems that could really shut us down if we let them. But we don’t have to focus on the tough times, right?
Here at One Exceptional life, we talk about overcoming challenges through faith and prayer, gratitude, kindness and positivity. My whole goal for you, to help you through the struggles, is to focus on the things you can control, not worry about what you can’t.
God has a plan for our lives. Our job is to trust Him, follow Him and do the best with what we have. This is where a gratitude list can really make a difference.
What is a gratitude list?
A gratitude list is anything that you are thankful for, plain and simple. It’s a great idea to get into the habit of writing down 3-5 of the things that you’re thankful for, every single day. Oh sure, you can be thankful for your family, home and health every day. But eventually you’ll just start taking those things for granted.
Your “gratitude list for today” will include things on that particular day that you raised your eyes to Heaven and thanked God specifically for. Maybe somebody let you out in a long line of traffic so that you weren’t late for your appointment. Or on your weekly weigh-in, you found out that you lost two pounds.
Maybe you received an unexpected phone call from a dear friend that you haven’t heard from in awhile. While doing laundry, you found a $20 bill in the pocket of your jeans. Or your husband showed up with a bag of M & M’s, just because he loves you.
You wouldn’t necessarily put these things on your big 100 things to be thankful for list. But they would be awesome examples for your daily gratitude list.
Focusing on the positive things in life, keeps our minds off of the negativity and fear that surrounds us. There’s no doubt that life is hard. Choosing to search for blessings instead of what is wrong in our lives has an entirely different positive result.
What are the benefits of a grateful list?
According to this article from Happier Human, they’ve compiled a list of 31 benefits of gratitude that is based on 50 research studies on gratitude. The very first benefit of gratitude on their list is that gratitude makes us happier. I know, shocker, right?
I’ll let you sort through the list on your own. But a couple of my favorite benefits are, that an attitude of gratitude makes us healthier, more optimistic and less self-centered.
Remember, gratitude is like a muscle. The more you use it, the more it grows. #gratitude #iamsothankful Click To Tweet
These two next benefits are on the Happier Human’s list. But it is something that I’ve personally experienced in such a big way, that I’ve built this blog around it. First, gratitude lists help you bounce back, and even more importantly, they have a positive impact on your prayer life.
For me, focusing on the blessings in my life, has taken my mind off of the hurt and sadness (basically my pity party.) Instead, when I’m feeling sad or pessimistic, I make a point of finding the blessings in the situation. I really recommend that you do that too. Then let me know what a difference that it’s made for you.
The Apostle Paul reminds us that giving thanks is a necessary part of a Christian’s daily life. We are surrounded by blessings. It’s important to note where all our blessings come from. They come from God, of course.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Philippians 4:6 KJV Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
James 1:17 KJV Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
What are some examples of gratitude lists?
I’m including my own version of 100 things to be thankful for later on in this post, so keep reading. But I believe that if you asked 100 people to share their own ideas of unique things to be thankful for, you’ll get 100 different lists. Of course there would be some overlap because most people include their family, health and home on their lists.
But even if those gratitude lists each included 5 to 10 of the things that each participant was thankful for, you would have thousands of examples of gratitude. That’s because we are all so very different and we each have our own unique perspectives.
For example, in our neck of the woods, we are coming into the fall season. The temperature is dropping and the leaves are turning color. Whereas my gratitude list ideas would include the pretty colors and the majesty of God’s handiwork, someone else might be thankful that the summer heat is leaving and it’s closing in on pumpkin-carving time.
“Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude.” – A. A. Milne, (from Winnie-the-Pooh)
How do you express gratitude daily?
The best way to start your daily gratitude list is to grab a pretty notebook. I would title it something like “Unique things to be thankful for”, “Gratitude list for today,” or simply “My gratitude journal.”
For a small cost, you can buy some really wonderful gratitude journals locally or online. You can also simply print off these free, Gratitude List Worksheets (below.) Make as many copies as you want and put them in a binder. I also offer a Joyful Living Through Gratitude Mini Bundle over in The Shop at One Exceptional Life, (also perfect for your binder.) You have so many options. A gratitude jar is a really cool idea as well.
What is the best way to show gratitude?
Showing gratitude to the people in our lives is important. Sure, it’s important to say thank you to those around us. But showing appreciation goes a long way. It also pays beautiful and loving acts of kindness forward. We aren’t just grateful when people give us physical things. But that kind of goes without saying.
However, we also should show gratitude when people pray for us, care for us, support us, lead us and guide us, just to give you a few examples. Don’t forget about showing gratitude to God. We can do that through offering prayer, praise, worship, service and living our lives that are pleasing to Him.
So how do we show others that we’re thankful for all they do for us? Well, we give back by showing them what they mean to us. Here are just a few ideas, besides simply saying “thank you,” which you should do anyway.
- Give them a small gift of appreciation
- Offer to help where they need it
- Compliment them
- Encourage them
- Write a handwritten note or buy them a beautiful card
- Listen to them
- Show them how much you care
- Cook them a meal or invite them to dinner
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” —William Arthur Ward
For more ideas, check out this mega list of the Best Random Acts of Kindness. What are your favorite ways to show gratitude? Be sure to share your ideas in the comments below.
What are some great gratitude list ideas?
I get it. Sometimes, we just need a little nudge to jump start our gratitude habit. If you’ve already grabbed the gratitude worksheets above, hang tight. As a subscriber to One Exceptional Life you’ll get access to all of my freebies in our password protected Inspirational Resources Library including the Count Your Blessings Gratitude Calendar.
But if you would rather start with the 40 idea prompts that are in that printable calendar, grab it below. Either way, as a subscriber. You get access to a whole bunch of great goodies.
Both of these Gratitude List printables are a great way to get you started. If you need some help or get stuck on a letter, feel free to check out my own gratitude from A to Z list.
I have taken the liberty to come up with even more gratitude list ideas. Honestly, it didn’t take me very long to come up with this list. So grab the worksheets and get started. Start with 10 minutes and see how many items you can add to your gratitude journal.
100 things to be thankful for
These are some of the positive things in my family’s lives. Not all of my ideas will resonate with you. But I hope that some of my ideas will spark an interest in you, to dig deeper into the possibilities.
This gratitude list of mine has 100 things to be thankful for. But truly, it is just the starting point. Why not make a compilation of gratitude lists in your own daily gratitude journal.
- Our Heavenly Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit
- The Holy Bible, God’s rule book for our daily living
- The salvation of our souls that is available to anyone who accepts the free gift
- Our local New Testament church where we worship, sing, learn, fellowship and grow
- Our spouse
- Children who call me Momma
- Our parents who loved, nurtured and raised us
- The people who love and support us
- The people who love our kids
- A good night’s sleep
- A warm cup of coffee to help us slide out of the fog
- Our cell phones that keep us connected to loved ones, far and near
- Our pets, who love us unconditionally
- Our home that keeps us safe from the elements
- The beauty of God’s handiwork. Flowers, trees, mountains and seas. Our Heavenly Father created all of it, with a simple command
- Finding the blessings in the hard times
- The vitamins, minerals and medicines that we count on
- Water to keep us hydrated and healthy
- Freedom brought by living in the land of the free, home of the brave
- A rainbow after a summer storm, which is God’s promise to mankind that He will never again destroy the world by water
- The blessings of sight, taste, hearing, touch and smell
- A beautifully cooked meal to provide nourishment for a healthy life
- Freedom of choice
- Performing a random act of kindness for a total stranger
- Making a home-cooked meal or some baked goods for a friend in need
- The heart that keeps pumping and provides us life
- Jobs or businesses that provide income for our families
- Food on the table
- The privilege of buying groceries
- The privilege of paying bills
- Technology that keeps us close to one another
- The washer and dryer in our home
- Friends who are always available when you need them
- Our church family
- Answered prayers
- Unanswered prayers
- A nice hot shower after a long day of work or play
- The struggles we face daily. Whether big or small, we learn and we grow from them
- Sunrises and sunsets, showing us the power and handiwork of God
- Money in the bank
- Coupons and rebates, especially if you’re not expecting them
- Magnum double caramel ice cream bars (or your personal favorite ice cream)
- M & M’s (or your personal favorite candy)
- Clean, fresh-smelling sheets
- Laptops for everything that the cell phone cannot accommodate
- Our favorite comfy spot in the house
- Naps, to refresh us after a long day or during a rainy Saturday
- Hulu. So that we no longer have to pay that big ‘ole cable bill
- Wireless printers. Actually, wireless anything and everything
- Cars that take us from point A to point B
- Unexpected gifts, given and received
- Glasses because they’re better to see you with, my dear
- Flowers. Only God could create so many types and colors
- A nice new hair wash, cut and style
- The privilege of movement and legs for walking
- Eyes to see all the beauty that surrounds us
- Freedom of religion. I’m praying we don’t lose this
- A closet full of clothes to keep us covered
- A nice warm blanket on a cold winter day
- Air conditioning during the hot summer months
- Heat for our homes
- The beach. How awesome is the power of the ocean and the sand between your toes?
- Prosthetic legs and the prosthetists who are skilled at making them
- Our Pastor who leads our local flock
- The privilege of a good education
- Pizza, spaghetti, burgers, scallops and whatever your favorite food is
- Kids who know how to cook
- Blessing the lives of those around us
- Sweet iced tea (or your favorite cold beverage)
- A fun fellowship meal after church on Sundays
- Laughing until you wet your pants
- Chinese takeout and a video chat with the family
- The many opportunities we are fortunate to experience
- The power of forgiveness, both toward you and others
- Binge watching your favorite guilty pleasure on a down day
- The quiet view from 6000 feet in the air, while my son pilots the plane
- The answered prayer after a complicated problem is solved
- Avoiding the turtle in the road
- Coming home after a long trip
- Wifi. Where would we be without it? Heaven forbid the power should go out (which actually did go out as I was writing this😂)
- The generator that runs everything (but the wifi, of course😂) when the power does go out
- Having a career we love
- All the love that we are surrounded by
- A positive, thankful mindset
- The view from my favorite spot in the house
- The privilege to vote
- Having a good conversation with a total stranger
- Developing new friendships
- Beautiful long distance friendships with people we’ve met online (most of my best friends have come because of the interweb)
- A great bra that fits. It’s probably TMI, but I’m in love with this one (so soft.)
- A day off where you let it all go and enjoy time with your spouse and kids
- That “P” from PayPal telling you that you’ve made a sale
- Endless opportunities
- Unlimited inspiration
- Ordering takeout at the last minute because nobody feels like cooking
- Mistakes that work out for the best
- The changing seasons
- God’s majesty and handiwork
An attitude of gratitude makes us healthier, more optimistic and less self-centered. Are you making a daily habit out of gratitude? #attitudeofgratitude Click To Tweet
Unique things to be thankful for
Obviously, there are some things on that list of 100 things to be thankful for are unique to my family and I. But unique means that there is nothing like it. In other words, my family play days will be very different from your family play days.
So make your own gratitude list that is unique for you. One of the great blessings of keeping your gratitude lists all together is that there will be times when you’re feeling down and discouraged. Having a journal to go back and read is a great way to pick you up out of the doldrums.
It’s really hard to stay sad when you have page after page of blessings that you took the time to not only notice. But you made a point to write those things down.
Remember, gratitude is like a muscle. The more you use it, the more it grows. As you build your daily gratitude habit, recognizing those things that you can be thankful for will eventually become second nature to you.
You’ll also get in the habit of looking for the silver lining in every rainbow. Instead of naturally going into your “woe-is-me” mode when you get bad news or a challenge pops up in your life, as gratitude becomes second nature, it will change your response to every obstacle. You will find that you’ll no longer react with negativity. Instead, you’ll respond with optimism and hope.
Do you see how that works? Pretty cool, isn’t it? Just remember, there is always something to be thankful for! What are your greatest blessings? Please share them in the comments below. You may just remind our other readers of things they too, can be thankful for.
“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” —Zig Ziglar
***All Scripture brought to you by the King James version of the Holy Bible
Are you ready to start your own gratitude list?