Making a gratitude list is a great way to calm the nerves, soothe the soul and remind yourself daily of the things that truly matter. Such a list can help you to let go of the bothersome and irritating stuff that can mar your day. It's enjoyable but also useful to make a gratitude list, and it can help to give you relief from worry and provide you with a sense of purpose.
Part One of Three:
1Be in the moment. This is an important part of reflecting on the things that matter to you know and in an ongoing way. Too much focus on the past and the future can raise feelings of disappointment, anxiety and even fear. You don't want any of those sorts of feelings interrupting your thought flow when creating your mental gratitude list.
2Select a place to keep your gratitude list. If you have a great memory, this could be in your head (in which case, it is a "mental gratitude list"). However, many people prefer to document their list in some way, such as using a notebook, journal or vision board. Whatever you choose, make sure that it is something you will use and refer to regularly, so it must be easy to access.
- You can decorate the item you store the gratitude list in if wished; doing this can be part of the process and helps to make it something you get joy from.
3Keep the format easy and succinct. Unlike a gratitude journal, a list is a short, punchy and easily read/remembered/viewed format. While a journal can include a list, it can also include lengthy paragraphs and essays, which the list format avoids. Always use bullet points, tables or some other form of listing that works for you and keeps the listed items short and to the point.Advertisement
Part Two of Three:
Making a Gratitude ListEdit
1Think of something, anything, you are grateful for, or that you can tell yourself you are grateful for even if you do not feel gratitude for anything. For example: I can see, or I have a home.
- You might like to tailor your gratitude list to particular roles in your life. For example: 10 Things to Be Grateful for as a Mom; 7 Things to Be Grateful for as a Colleague; 18 Things to Be Grateful for as a an Adult Child, and so on.
- Be careful to avoid listing too many things that you "own". Objects can form part of the list but shouldn't be the bulk of it. Think about experiences, relationships, emotions, the world around you, the things that happen, etc. These are infinitely more rewarding than stuff.
2Keep thinking of things you are grateful for. Once you think of one thing it becomes easier to think of other things to add to the list. You begin to realize that anxieties, worries, fears do not accurately describe your life; in fact, whatever is bothering or upsetting you is more accurately a much smaller thing when looked at within the whole, whether you know the source of the concerns you're experiencing, or not. Chances are too, that the source of the your worries can be perceived in such a way as to properly place them right-sized alongside other aspects of your life, many of which you are now grateful for.
3Write down the things you're grateful for (if this is how you're keeping track). Or, you could make a video, an infographic, a chart, a poster, a 3-D model, a song, etc. However you wish to record this gratitude list, go with the flow. If it's to be a mental gratitude list, remember it as best you can, for easy recall when needed.
4Add other things to the list, by way of reminders. There are tricks to staying grateful and grounded, and it may help you to include these triggers as part of your gratitude list recordings. These include:
- Stay in the now. The moment is right now, your current experience matters.
- Focus on what needs to be done today. Try to feel that you are doing everything possible today to prepare for anything that is to come. The key is to keep coming back to the day, to the hour, to the moment. It takes practice, but it works.
- Try to be mindful of where you are and what is happening. If you are physically safe it is probable that right here, right now you are otherwise okay as well, barring illness or extreme circumstances. Anything else is in the future.
- Tell yourself that in the moment, all is well. Imagining worst case scenarios is only helpful in as much as it causes you to be prepared rather than scared. In the moment, nothing in the future has happened yet. It is the truth. You might still have trouble ignoring the future, but you can admit this truth enough to breathe and concentrate on being grateful, which ultimately will help you face the future anyway.
- Treat yourself with kindness, especially when you step out of your comfort zone.
- When it seems as if everything is going wrong, allow yourself the time to step back and focus on what is going right.
- Remind yourself often that gratitude is about being aware of what you have, not of what you do not have.
5Consider adding inspirational quotes, stories and-outs to your list. If your list is in a tangible form, add things to make it more vibrant and fun to use. Even if you've made a mental gratitude list, you can stick up some Post-It notes around the house with some inspirational sayings or comments, to remind you of the importance of gratitude.Advertisement
Part Three of Three:
1Include the need for acceptance as part of creating and using your gratitude list. This requires imagination and willingness to care for yourself (the list is the first self-care practice, the inclusion of acceptance is the second self-care practice). It takes practice, but with practice comes a lot of peace of mind. Non-illness related anxiety, worries or fears cannot live in the same mind with gratitude and acceptance. The peace is not forever; it comes when you can place yourself successfully in the moment. The key is, when you fall out of the moment, to do your best to bring your thoughts back into the moment. With practice, the time you spend with a more peaceful mind can last longer and longer. But the key is to keep coming back.
2Make use of your gratitude list to remind you of what you already have to be grateful for. Then, acceptance is simply the admission that everything is the way it is right now. You might wish you could change things, but if you truly cannot change things right now, then denial of the fact that you cannot causes emotional discord.
- It might help to note that you don't have to like something to accept it. But acceptance is the answer to virtually any problem. Admittedly, this is a challenge, so work on it and keep referring back to your gratitude list.
3Convince yourself of this truth: Right here and right now I am okay. Practice. Accept that things are the way they are right now. You don't have to like it. Practice. Anxiety cannot live in the same mind as gratitude and acceptance; acceptance need not be rushed.Advertisement
- Think of one thing to be grateful for each day and quickly add to the list. A good prompt is: "Today, I am grateful for...".
- Use breathing to remain calm whenever stressed or upset. Learn to breathe deeply into your back, using your diaphragm. Find a place to sit down (or stand) where you are alone enough that you will not likely be bothered by anyone for a few minutes. If sitting, find the proper posture for your back and exaggerate it. In other words arch your back and lift your chest, spreading the front of your chest and opening your airways as fully as possible. It might help to place your hands flat on top of one another on the top of your head and push your elbows back gently. If standing push your pelvis forward and down and breath into it as well as your back, also lifting the chest. Keep breathing deeply in and out. If you have the posture right you will soon find yourself breathing as a singer needs to in order to sing from their diaphragm. Keep breathing consciously.
- Keep the gratitude list up-to-date. The things for which you are grateful will change over time and that is as it should be, for you change as well.
- Some days will be harder than others to feel gratitude; that's okay, just stick with it and keep looking for something to be grateful about.
- Surround yourself with people who are also grateful and who are inspiring. Their gratitude and excitement will rub off on you.
- Upload your list online for others to be inspired by!
Things You'll NeedEdit
- A notebook, journal, paper, etc.
- Something to write with
- Ideas for your gratitude list
- A daily reminder to focus on your gratitude list (and to add to it)
Upload a picture for other readers to see.