Most of us know that it’s important to count our blessings. But not many of us take the time to be thankful for all the great things in our life every day. One way to make gratitude a part of your life is to establish a daily gratitude list routine.
If you need a great way to remember your blessings every day, then a daily gratitude list might be the perfect fit. Let’s find out how to build this practice!
Why is keeping a daily gratitude list important?
Although life can sometimes feel like a series of challenges, the reality is that most of us have plenty of things to be grateful for. When we remember to be grateful, it can have a big impact on our outlook on life. That's where a daily gratitude list can be helpful.
It can lead to a happier life and a positive mindset
Harvard Health Publishing claims, “gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness.” But the benefits don’t stop there, they say that research also suggests that gratitude helps us to truly enjoy positive experiences, have better health, handle difficulties, and strengthen relationships.
It’s easy to see how a combination of these benefits can have a good impact on your mindset. Additionally, the benefits can extend into a happier and more fulfilling life.
You appreciate the present moment
In addition, gratitude helps us appreciate the present moment. By staying in the here and now, we don't miss out on positive things that are happening in our lives.
Ultimately, appreciation of what we have can lead to significant benefits throughout life. A few of the benefits include better sleep, more happiness, and more resistance to illness.
How to establish a daily gratitude list routine
If you are convinced of the benefits of increased gratitude, then one way to harness that positivity is by counting your blessings every day. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to establish a daily gratitude list routine.
Set aside a specific time of day
Essentially, creating a list of gratitude every day involves building a habit. Like building other habits, establishing a daily gratitude list routine will require a concerted effort in the beginning. So, it’s a smart move to set aside a specific time of day to make your list.
A few possible times to incorporate this exercise into your day include first thing every morning, late at night, or during your lunch break.
Personally, I love adding positive habits to my morning routine. But if you’re more of a night owl, tackling this right before bed might help you unwind from the day.
Pull out a pen and paper
You can simply run through a gratitude list in your head. But you might get more benefits out of your daily gratitude list if you pull out a pen and paper. The act of putting pen to paper in a journaling style can help you explore everything you are grateful for.
Write down everything you are grateful for that day
In its most basic form, a daily gratitude list is just a list of things to be grateful for. There aren’t any rules about how to format the list, or what you can include on the list. Instead, it can be an entirely free-form exercise.
An effective way to get started is by creating a bulleted list. With short bullet points, it might feel a bit easier to keep adding. But if you prefer, you can write out full sentences about what you are grateful for that day.
The key is to avoid putting any pressure on yourself. Pressure to keep writing might have the opposite effect, and you definitely don’t want to end up with writer’s block. If possible, just write down what comes to mind.
Don’t feel the pressure to write down what others might feel you should be grateful for. Instead, focus on what you truly feel grateful for in the moment. Or you can look at the daily gratitude list examples in this article.
Stick with the habit
Any habit can be difficult to stick with at first. And that might hold true when starting a daily gratitude list. After all, it might be a struggle to be grateful for anything if you are having a bad day.
Do everything you can to stick with this habit. If you are someone that likes to stick to a schedule, then you could go as far as penciling this activity into your calendar or setting a recurring reminder on your phone.
But it’s okay to skip the calendar slot if you have a general time in mind. Even a simple sticky note on your desk might be an effective reminder to whip out your notebook.
Another way to build this habit is by pairing it with another enjoyable activity. For example, you might sip on a warm cup of hot chocolate while making your list. Reward yourself in any healthy way that makes you want to continue making a gratitude list.
As you embark on this adventure, it’s important to be patient with yourself. A daily gratitude list routine might not come naturally at first. If you are struggling to stick with the habit, then consider starting out small.
For example, you could start by writing down three things that you are thankful for every day. Eventually, you might naturally work your way up to more things.
Throughout the journey, be kind to yourself. Don’t let yourself get down because you forgot to make your list. Instead, start fresh the next day.
Examples of things to be grateful for
Not sure where to get started with your daily list of gratitude? Here’s a look at some daily gratitude list examples:
- Friends who care about you
- Family members who are there for you
- Comfortable clothes
- Changing seasons
- Finding spare change
- Courteous drivers
- An easy commute
- A significant other
- A body that is healthy
- A safe space to call home
- The beauty of nature
- Access to information
- Food on the table
- The pen and paper you use to make your daily gratitude list
- The ability to pay your expenses
- Access to clean drinking water
- Sanitary living conditions
- Your unique quirks
- A beautiful sunset
- Kind strangers
- A forgiving heart
- Gathering with loved ones
- A card in the mail
- A quiet house
- A good night of sleep
- Rediscovering your passions
- The candle burning in your home
- A good book
- Positive feedback
- Staying on schedule for a big project
- Going out for date nights
- Meaningful conversations
- Saving money
- The ability to spend on what really matters to you
Hopefully, these daily gratitude list examples can help you get started. But of course, these are just the tip of the iceberg. Everyone has a different life experience. So, everyone has different things to be grateful for.
At the end of your list of gratitude, you might want to consider adding an affirmation or mantra that embodies your vision of the future.
A daily gratitude list can change your life!
A daily gratitude list routine can lead to a more positive mindset, among countless other benefits.
If you are on the fence about starting this habit, then I encourage you to start small.
Use the gratitude list examples to help you discover things you're thankful for, and notice as it changes your mindset.
Even if you only write down one thing that you feel grateful for each day, the list may start to grow as you begin to more fully appreciate what you already have.