So I have Instagram (and let’s quickly step over the unnecessary Instagram drama everyone including yours truly got into last week) and I really like it. Next to the embarassing increase in pictures I take of myself and the food I eat, I also do this #gratitude thing.
#Gratitude: I love making lists and I love gratitude. So once a day, I write down what I’m grateful for and happy about, in my iPhone notes. I then Print Screen and throw a shitty filter over the whole thing to share it on my Instagram profile.
As you can see in my collage (such craftmanship) I am grateful for little things like spinach and sweet comments on my blog but also for big things, like being in a healthy happy relationship or being financially stable.
Plus, I find it becomes really easy once you turn your attention to it regularly: I am grateful for a lot of stuff in my life and see it all the time. Hell, I am grateful for the fact I didn’t fall down the stairs this morning when I groggily made my way to the kitchen for coffee, and grateful for stairs, my kitchen and coffee. Look at that! 4 in only one movement!
So let’s talk gratitude lists! I’m hardly the first or the only person who does it, it’s a well known phenomenon both off-line and on-line. Off-line it’s sometimes used in therapy, lots in prayer (thank you for our daily bread!) and in general when people are feeling cranky: Trying to take their attention from the bad to the beautiful in life.
In the on-line category, gratitude lists are everywhere. On some websites it’s just called Gratitude (List), but The Happy List, Smile Notes, Counting My Blessings and Things That Make Me Smile are also popular names for it. Gala Darling has made it a gorgeous category on her blog called Things I Love Thursday (TILT) where she makes an overview of the things she loved that week.
It’s great for the writer to make a list like that: it forces them to really look around and put into words what they love about their life, which focuses them on loving their life! It’s also great for the reader to be reminded of all the great things he or she too could be grateful for, and to be inspired.
I recommend gratitude lists to everyone, and here’s why:
- A powerful thing happens when you start getting into the Gratitude Attitude: The focus goes from the negative to positive. You start looking, really looking, at the things you love. You start giving that your attention and that makes you feel good.
- And of course you know that you have lots of awesome stuff to be grateful for. But there is a difference between sort of knowing and really paying attention to it. By putting it in writing, you became aware of it on a way more conscious level. Your really focus and your gratitude becomes 1000 times more intense, which makes you feel even better.
- Because you feel good and your focus has shifted, you will start finding more and more to be grateful for. You’ll be Positive-Spiraling out of control before you know it.
- Gratitude has been associated with a psychological benefits. Gratitude is ALWAYS associated with increased happiness, and among the other benefits are better sleep, higher goal attainment and a general sense of well-being.
- So with gratitude boosting your mood and having other positive effects on you, it’s not a crazy assumption that this will result in more things to be grateful for. It’s nice to give things to appreciative people. When you’re in a good mood, you express your love and gratitude. This makes it more attractive for others to give you more of it. Also, the good mood and gratitude will make you ask -pleasantly- for what you want or go out and get it yourself. You bring more good things into your life like that!
- (Law of Attraction Optional) Only making it woo-woo for one second, promise, but the idea of gratitude in the Law of Attraction philosophy is that you set yourself up on a ‘I Have Lots To Be Grateful For’ level, which will bring you more to be grateful for. The more you feel it, the more you will receive it, kind of thing.
Anyone who has ever read my stuff or worked with me knows I recommend gratitude list for everyone, every day, whenever they want. It’s one of those things that is never bad for you, it’s a lot of fun and it is one of the strongest perspective-shifters possible. If you’re someone who looks more on the dark side than the bright side, then gratitude lists are the thing for you to get you to turn your eyes on the bright side too!
When you start out you might feel a little silly and can only come up with three things (your home, your pet, the fact your favorite sports team won) but once you’ve done it a couple of times, you spot things to be grateful for all around you. From the veggies in your fridge to that great hug you got from your mom to your iPad mini to sleeping in to flowers to coffee.
I got some really cool feedback that gratitude lists helped one of my readers sleep, that it made them more relaxed (it helps against worrying and ruminating) and that it really helped them feel better. Tell me in the comments about your experiences with gratitude list, gratitude journals and general thankfulness in your life, if you like. Or better yet, start practicing RIGHT NOW and drop me your personal gratitude list in the comments! What are you grateful for right now?!