Why you need to keep a gratitude list.

I like to think that I’m a pretty thankful person on any given day without thinking about it in too much detail.

For the most part I like to think that I take my family and friends, job, apartment, and money to heart.

There are lots of moments that I feel a notable heart surge of thanks when something nice happens.

But, note, “I like to think” a lot of these things. I’m not 100 percent sure though that I consistently meditate on how great they really are.

We’re all busy. On lots of days it’s all you can do to work, cook all of your meals, squeeze in a work out and find time to chat with loved ones. Nevertheless have a moment to sit around in conscious thought about how great life is.

There is a need, though.

Life can be even better if we take some extra time once a week for ourselves. We’re always wanting that quiet 15 minutes, and when you steal it—jotting down your gratitude list can make the other minutes of your week a little more colorful.

I think you’ll find that the reflection on gratitude will affect every aspect of your life and those you share it with.

1. Conscious gratitude results in deeper gratitude.

When you stop to really think about how many and what kinds of good things are happening in your life; the good seems a lot bigger. It’s easy to think “of course, I’m healthy.”

Well, that takes the feel-good out of a blessing.

At times where things go wrong — I think that half of the sadness in the situation is knowing that we didn’t appreciate it when it was going GOOD. We need to fully live in our gratitudes and soak out every last drop.

I am healthy today and that isn’t something that I was promised. It’s not something that will necessarily always be true. I have the strength to go run four miles if I want and I don’t have to stress out about any doctor appointments like some people. I really need to be thankful in that. And also maybe get my butt out from behind my desk and go run.

Nodding your way through life diminishes some of the most important parts.

2. When we keep track of the numerous blessings in our life; the need to bless others is un-ignorable.

The good things we have are privileges to some degree, right?

And with privilege comes a kind of responsibility, right?

By consciously realizing what we have–we can appreciate the need to share the good with others.

On those days we passively feel thankful for what we have it’s easy to feel like all of those things are deserved:

  1. good health
  2. family who supports us
  3. friends who follow through on plans
  4. a stable job and income
  5. work that we feel like matters
  6. a safe home
  7. freedom to practice whatever faith we want
  8. physical ability to go take on that killer work out
  9. opportunities to grow
  10. mentors who care what you can accomplish

And those are just 10 things.

My guess is that at some point in time you haven’t had one or more of those. And in that moment, YOU needed a blessing.

I think by keeping a gratitude list we can reflect on what we’re being given and be thankful. And even more we can see the opportunity to bless other people.

When you’re thankful your friends follow through on plans — it makes you want to be a friend who does the same, am I right?

It makes you realize how important calling your grandparents can be.

And it could give you that kick to respond to a new grad’s email about helping them with the job search.

3. Keeping a gratitude list can change YOUR day.

It’s Monday and a small hiccup in your schedule happens sending some plans into disarray.

Cue “over-reashley.” (Ain’t that a cute nickname? Real love you guys.) I tend to overreact about small things and turn them into GIANT problems. #TheWorldIsEnding.

When you have the perspective of what you HAVE. What is good. What matters. You’re not going to be sweating the slow line at Publix or co-worker who doesn’t understand work process.

By reflecting regularly on a gratitude list — your gratitude WILL affect your attitude.

All of those opportunities at your feet? Maybe by realizing how special they are you’ll start being more proactive about exploring them.

So, what am I doing about it?

I’m going to work on meditating once a week on my blessings. Yes, a perfect opportunity for a beautiful handwritten list.

And then I’ll focus on finding motivation to share in at least one way with others. Sometimes maybe I’ll post about it — but I’ll always try to keep a physical list.

While life is not perfect and there are definite improvement areas; I think my perspective can be even better right this second if I take a little bit more time to breathe in through my nose…close my eyes…smile…and know in how many ways I’m taken care of.

When you figure that part out; you can’t help but share it.

Spoiler alert: My gratitude list is going to be directly relevant to a >>>> prayer list. Which is something I’ll be writing on Sunday. (PS: If you like lists, let’s be best friends.)

Today’s gratitude: The opportunity to pick up an extra shift at work this weekend to help ease some financial stresses.

Today’s pay it forward: Since I’ll have a little extra money, it’s probably a good idea to chip into that co-workers present pool to show how much I really appreciate working with them.

xx.

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“Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith . . . and the trust comes after.”

Someone saw “Man of Steel” tonight. Totally gets an A-. Loved the cinematography. Got a little weary of some action scenes. Overall, thought it was more than the justice the story deserved. If only someone else had been Lois Lane. I thought she needed some more spunk. All in all, a good night. And a relevant quote.

In my latest reading: Barbara Walters’ Memoir.

Turns out that I have a little something in common with lady Barbara Walters:

“To my surprise I discovered I was, and am, as decisive as anyone can be. I knew precisely what should be left in and what should be taken out. Just like that. (I have always been a terrific editor, if I do say so myself–and I do say so myself.) But in private life I can barely make a decision. I second-guess everything from if I should wear the red or blue dress to where to go on vacation: Europe? South America? the Bahamas? Maybe I should just stay home. My daughter says my flip-flopping is because I am a Libra, the astrological sign whose good traits include being “diplomatic and urbane,” and my favorite, “romantic and charming,” but whose not-so-good traits start with being “indecisive and changeable.” On my gravestone I want inscribed: “On the other hand, maybe I should have lived.”

– Barbara Walters, Audition: A Memoir