Being grateful is a hot topic these days. If you are familiar with Brené Brown, then you know she never interviewed a single joyful person in twelve years of research that didn’t actively practice gratitude. Since we all want to experience more joy, it’s about time we roll up our gratitude sleeves and get to work!
If you’re like me and are out of practice in the gratitude department, this list of 101 things to be grateful for can help get you get started. Some of things on the list may resonate with you. If they do, feel free to use them. If they don’t feel right, make up a couple of your own.
How to practice gratitude:
- Pick 1 to 3 items from the list below. Or make a list of things that are easy for you to feel appreciation for.
- Breathe deeply a few times and allow the muscles in your chest to relax.
- Spend at least 17 seconds focusing in on each item. Feel the appreciation expand in your body. Set a timer when you first start to get a feeling for how long 17 seconds is.
Do this exercise once in the morning before you get going with your day and once at night before you go to bed. If you forget, no problem. It’s only 17 seconds. Practice anytime you remember. Set a reminder on your phone if that helps.
Want to feel more gratitude? Here are 101 things to be grateful for:
- Breathing: if you really think about it, isn’t it a miracle that our body automatically does this for you?
- Air and Oxygen: breathing really wouldn’t be the same without it.
- Your Heart Beat: put your hand on your heart and feel it beating for you. Again, it just does this job automatically just for you. How cool is that?
- Your Eyes: sure, they may not see 20/20, but they give you the gift to focus on the good things in life. Use them to seek out beauty. You won’t be disappointed. If you are only seeing bad stuff, consciously look for something good. YouTube has tons of awe-inspiring videos at your fingertips.
- Your Ears: think of the sound of birds, of rain, of music, of laughter. Any sounds that make up the soundtrack of your life.
- Your Hands: be conscious of all the wonderful things your hands allow you to do on a regular basis and how different your life would be without them.
- Your Tastebuds: yes, a weird thing to think about, but think of all of the delicious experiences your little tastebuds have given you.
- Your Entire Body: just take a moment and appreciate how hard your body works for you every moment of every day. It never gets any kind of thanks for it’s brilliant work in keeping you alive. Your body is a miracle! It may not be “perfect”, but it is brilliant nonetheless. Give it a pat on the back.
- Your Family: they are always there. You may not see them everyday, but they are a constant in your life that you can count on. Isn’t it nice to know there is someone out there that knows you and loves you?
- Your Friends: you may only have a few that have really hung in there during your life, but how great is it that they have been by your side through all of your ups and downs?
- Inspiration: here is the thing, like no other time before, we can find inspiration in a multitude of forms instantly. From nature, science, art, music, play, adventure—it’s all out there. Go find it! Don’t wait for it to come to you.
- Animals: whether it’s a bird flying above, a squirrel being squirrelly, or a dog greeting you enthusiastically at the door, take a moment to really notice and appreciate them.
- Sunsets: this may seem trite, but think about it—how many gorgeous sunsets have you missed because you were driving home in a hurry and bothered by traffic? If you are stuck in traffic and have the sky above you, look! There may be a beautiful cloud formation and colors that you’ve never really noticed before. If it’s raining, think of how cool it is that nature knows how to gather up all that water in the sky and drop it back down on the ground so something can grow.
- Babies: now I’m not a parent, but I do enjoy the occasional run-in with a new human. There is so much potential for that little life and the newness of their skin, hair, eyes, fingers, toes etc. is pretty awe-inspiring. If they are screaming at the top of their lungs, be appreciative for the silence you get to experience when you part ways. 😉
- Silence: now that the baby is gone, sit or imagine yourself sitting in “silence” and listen. What do you hear? Can you feel a shift in your body as you sit and listen to silence? Do you hear the hum of an appliance? A car driving by in the distance? Sounds in nature? For me, I feel more concentrated inside my body when I focus this way rather than somehow loosely extended out into the world like I normally am. I don’t know why this feels good, but it does.
The other 86 didn’t get 86’d
OK, originally I was going to do a list of 101 things, but I got carried away in describing the first 15. Here are the rest without definitions:
Remember, you are the creator of the experiences in your life and have the freedom to choose how you assign meaning to what you experience. It’s SOOOOO easy to complain and even easier to forget to be grateful for all you have.
17 seconds is not much to ask of yourself. Give it a shot and notice if you feel more joy rising in your life. I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to feel better already.