As a fan of all things Oprah, I hopped on the bandwagon when she first began to praise the benefits of writing a daily Gratitude List. This was in the 90’s and back then it was a relatively novel idea. Cut to 2015 and a Google search will bring up hundreds, if not thousands of references. Gratitude lists have been endowed with almost magical qualities, believed to heal, among other things- the modern maladies of restlessness, irritability and discontent. I can personally vouch for it’s many benefits, but I can also speak to what happens when your list making feels forced and you are just going through the motions. The worst is the shame, because what kind of ingrate gets bored with writing gratitude lists? Well I felt this way a few months ago and made two easy changes to resurrect my Grats lists from the heaps of complacency. I realized that first, I needed to go broader and second to go longer. Today I’ll discuss how I broadened my list. Hopefully these two simple ideas might help you.
Looking at words associated with “gratitude”, I found “delight” “joy”, “value” and “appreciation”. So, in addition to asking myself who or what am I grateful for today, I often ask: Who or what brings me delight and joy? Who or what do I value and appreciate? Example: After subjecting my body to the strain of carrying over 230 extra lbs, I value and appreciate it’s resilience- this evening it supported me as I tackled a more strenuous exercise program. It also brought me joy and delight as I danced in my Girl Cave like no one was watching. Broadening my Grats Lists allows me to see beyond the surface, simply acknowledging my many blessings. By getting to the very clear “Why?” I can relish and savor them.
Next post?- I’ll talk about the second tweak: Lengthening my Grats List