You know that gratitude lists are great. They boost your vibe and turn you into a magnet for awesome. Unfortunately, with a regular practice, they might feel a bit rigid and monotonous. Sometimes I feel like I’m just going through the motions, not really aligning with the feeling (which is kinda the whole point!)
So, here are 3 ways I’ve spiced up my gratitude lists. Try them and see if they breathe new life into your practice or inspire you to go ahead and start one. Gratitude is a must-have for creating the life of your wildest dreams!
1. Launch a surprise attack.
Start with something you’re seriously not grateful for, something that causes irritation, anger, or sadness. Now, think of everything related that is working. List all the good stuff, and then stick the pain-in-the-butt complaint on the end. For example, when I went through a big, painful breakup recently, my heart hurt so much. I missed him and thought the whole situation was unfair. So, I made a list of all the things I appreciated about the relationship at its best, three years of great memories and good love. When I tacked on my initial problem, it felt a little petty. I had all this good time with him, and now? It’s over. I guess I can learn to accept that. It helped diffuse the drama a bit. I also made a list of all the reasons I’m glad we broke up, times when I was bored, unhappy and felt like I was settling. When I put my complaint on the end of that list, it made a lot more sense that we separated, and better that we ended it sooner rather than later.
Heartbreak is a doozy, so let’s try an easier example. I have super thin walls at my house. I can hear my neighbors play video games with freakishly loud explosions and epic battles. It used to make me feel insane, and so incredibly (disproportionately) angry. I had a really hard time finding peace. So, I listed everything I loved about my apartment (the windows, the great porch and hammock, the washer and dryer and dishwasher) and the neighbors (their kindness and humor and cute dogs) …and wouldn’t you know that after all the awesome things, when I added “neighbors too loud sometimes” it just felt silly. I could literally laugh at it. I got some much-needed perspective and was finally able to chill.
2. Realize you are already living the dream.
Stop and recognize that you are smack-dab in the middle of your dreams. I have so many goals and aspirations that haven’t come true yet. So, it was tempting to think I was just plodding along, working towards my dreams, not really living them. But recently I’ve been able to find evidence of dreams come true that I had months or years ago. I am a free woman, financially secure, in a home I love, going to a school I have always wanted to attend. I live in the city I wanted to move to years ago, I am healthy and doing most everything I want to do. Could I use more money? Sure! Would I eventually like more stuff, a bigger home, the ability to travel and to build a successful business? Absolutely. But this moment, where I’m standing now, is seriously a dream come true for the Amanda of five years ago. Taking stock of that and really soaking in it has been a game changer for me.
3. Don’t leave anything out.
Sometimes we might get stuck simply rattling off the things that are easy to be grateful for (puppies and rainbows and the first flowers of Spring). There’s nothing wrong with that, and those are all fine things to appreciate. Definitely. But what about the stuff that happens that we don’t want? Could we dare find gratitude there? I say, HECK YEAH! I’m not the first person to suggest this, but I’d still like to take a moment to remember that this can be a very powerful practice. I might start small. I spilled my coffee! Oh good, a reminder to slow down and practice being more mindful. Dang, I missed my bus! Maybe I meet a wonderful stranger, or maybe I’m avoiding something unpleasant. It’s a great opportunity to practice trust.
What about really painful stuff, like my aforementioned break up? Boohoo, nothing to feel grateful for here, right? Wrong! I am grateful that a man who doesn’t love me has freed me up to be available for the true love of my life. I am grateful that I am leaning into my faith, into Source, and growing stronger. I am grateful for all the lovely memories and experiences. He brought out a lot of good in me, and that is a gift.
Honestly, there’s a gift in everything. Sometimes you just have to dig to find it. Remembering to appreciate my magnificent life, no matter what’s happening, has been vital to open my heart, stay positive and uplift others, and allow all the oceans of abundance to keep flowing my way. If gratitude lists get a bit stale, that’s alright, but hopefully these suggestions can mix it up a bit and keep you in that high-vibing happy place.