It is likely that you have heard about the tremendous impact expressing gratitude can have in one’s life, but how many of us actually practice identifying what we are grateful for? To go from vague notions such as I am grateful for the sun rays and moon beams to expressing in words, day-to-day, what you are grateful for is not as easy as it may seem.
I recently started journaling and will attest that those psychology studies regarding expressing gratitude are in fact true. I have a greater sense of well-being, feel less stressed and generally have a more positive, happier perspective.
Admittedly, I found journaling about gratitude a bit challenging at first. Sure, we may have a vague notion that we are grateful and that we are not completely selfish pigs but what effort do we choose to put into literally identifying what we are specifically grateful for? How do we cultivate the behavior ? We can call it writers block (smile) but the practice was initially a bit daunting. I am not talking about hours a day. I made a small time commitment to the process but found I needed some inspiration.
Having gleaned several articles on the topic, here are some gratitude prompts I find useful for zeroing in on practical, earthbound things I am grateful for. Many of these prompts help me identify the little, every day things that we often miss that we are in fact very grateful for. Links to several helpful articles on gratitude prompts and gratitude journaling are referenced below.
- What did you do today that you enjoyed? Listened to a great song, played with your kids, met a friend for lunch, walked the dogs.
- Tap into your senses: What do you love to eat? What do you love to watch? What do you love to smell? What do you love to hear? What do you love to touch? Food, drinks, movies, flowers, coffee, music, that one cute word your son or daughter says wrong, your cozy blanket, your comfy sweatshirt.
- When did you feel good today? What about that made you feel good? When you presented at work, when your child thanked you, when your spouse said I love you, when your friend called you, when you thought about the upcoming weekend.
- When did you smile or laugh today? What or who made you smile? When you ordered your coffee at Starbucks, when you received that cat video from your friend, when your child asked you a silly question.
- What made you proud today? Why? When you woke up early to work out, when you made it to work on time, when your child got an award, when you said yes to something scary.
- What around me is physically beautiful? Nature, the room, the light coming into the room, the flowers, the picture on the wall.
- What is comfortable about this moment? Your clothes, you chair, your bed.
- What skills or abilities are you thankful to have? (You communicate well, you’re a good cook, you have an uncanny ability to dominate in Fantasy Football. Hey, it’s your journal).
- What is there about a challenge you’re experiencing right now that you can be thankful for? (This is a tough one, but you have learned something or grown from the hardship—how?)
- How is where you are in life today different from a year ago–and what positive changes are you thankful for?
- What activities and hobbies would you miss if you were unable to do them?
- List five body parts that you’re grateful for and why. (Those long legs help you reach items on the top shelf … don’t forget the little things.)
- What about the city you live in are you grateful for?
- What are you taking for granted about your day-to-day that you can be thankful for? (Can’t think of any? Your alarm clock, your coffee machine, the paperboy who delivered your newspaper, your friendly neighbor who always says good morning … and that’s before you even leave the house.)
- What materialistic items are you most grateful for?
- Write about the music you’re thankful to be able to listen to and why. (We couldn’t make it five minutes on the treadmill without our beats.)
- What foods or meals are you most thankful for? (Bacon, egg and cheese on Monday morning, we’re looking at you.)
- What elements of nature are you grateful for and why? (The beach, a starry sky or one speckled with fluffy clouds, the sunset…)
- What part of your morning routine are you most thankful for? (A big stretch before you get out of bed, that warm cup of coffee, a cuddle session with your pet…)
- What is something you’re grateful to have learned this week?
- What aspects of your work environment are you thankful for? (Supportive co-workers, flexible hours, great snacks in the kitchen…)
- What do you like about the current season?
- What is different today than it was a year ago that I’m thankful for?
- What is something that was hard to do but you did it anyway?
- What is a challenge that you overcame that has strengthened you?
More to come…..