Imagine if I could give you a magic pill that could instantly change the chemistry of your brain for the better.
Yes, it exists, and it’s 100% natural. It’s called gratitude.
But feeling grateful is not easy. You can’t force yourself to be thankful.
So in this post, I’ll give you 30 gratitude ideas, and then I’ll give you some practical tips to train your mind to be grateful whenever you want.
Whether you’re feeling low or just looking for ideas to feel thankful, you’ll feel better by the end of this post.
But first, let me give you a little reminder about the benefits of gratitude.
17 Unbelievable Benefits Of Gratitude (According To Science)
There’s no doubt that gratitude is an instant mood booster. But its effect extends far beyond temporary positive feelings.
According to a report by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, here are the top benefits of gratitude:
- Better mental and physical health
- More life satisfaction, optimism, subjective well-being, positive affect, and happiness
- Counteracts materialism (our tendency to possess a lot of material things)
- Protects against burnout
- Prevents hedonic adaptation (our tendency to return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive events)
- Makes you more loving and caring
- Cancels out your negative thoughts
- Motivates self-improvement
- Increases self-esteem
- Helps you meet your basic psychological needs
- May benefit trauma survivors, people with mental illness, or people in addiction recovery
- Cultivates virtues like patience, humility, and wisdom
- Increases prosocial behavior
- Improves relationships
- Helps you become a high performer
- Increases job satisfaction
- Makes the workplace a better place
Are you convinced yet? 😉
Now, let’s look at 30 things you can be thankful for.
30 Things To Be Grateful For Today
1. The food on your plate 🥘
You don’t have to hunt or farm.
2. The roof on your top 🏠
It keeps you safe.
3. Air to breathe 🌬
We can’t survive too long without oxygen.
4. Access to water 🚰
You get clean water with no trouble.
5. A bed to sleep 🛌
So you can sleep in comfort.
6. Clothes to wear 👚
They protect you, keep you warm and make you look good.
7. The temperature of your room or environment ⛅️
Another reason you’re able to survive.
8. Your family and friends 👨👩👧👧
They love you.
9. The money you earn or have 💰
You deserve it.
10. The school or college you go to or went to 🏫
It provides the foundation of education and unforgettable experiences.
11. Nature 🌲
The essence of life.
12. Animals 🐕
They bring harmony to the world.
13. Humanity 🙂
We’re all connected with one another.
14. Living in a free country 🏳️🌈
Thankfully, you were born at the right time at the right place.
15. Technology and the internet 👩💻
It’s the reason you’re reading this.
16. Your senses 👀
Another reason you’re able to read this.
17. Your mind 🧠
It’s what makes humans unique. Let’s put it to good use.
18. Your well-being 🧘♀️
You’re happy, healthy and alive.
19. The services or products you use 🛍️
We didn’t have most of them just a few years ago.
20. Music and entertainment 🎵
Keeps your soul nourished.
21. A cup of tea or coffee ☕️
22. Your skills and strengths 💪
No one can take them away from you.
23. Your personality and uniqueness 🦸♀️
You are the only one.
24. Your unique memories 💭
No one else has the privilege to have them.
25. The experiences you’ve had 🤸♀️
Another privilege only you have.
26. The lessons you’ve learned 🤔
All the lessons have made you who you are today, and they will continue to shape who you will become.
27. The time you’ve left on Earth 🌎
Let’s make the best use of it.
28. Access to information 📖
The answers to most of your questions are a click away.
29. Adversity 😰
It makes you stronger, wiser and well-prepared for greater obstacles in life.
30. Aging and Death 👵
Embrace the laws of nature. Death makes life worth living.
How To Practice Gratitude (Even When You’re A Beginner)
It’s one thing to read a gratitude list and get ideas for the things to be grateful for. But it’s another to actually feel grateful for these things.
So if you need a little gratitude boost, here are some ideas and examples to express gratitude and feel more grateful:
- Negative Visualization (an ancient Stoic practice): Imagine what it would be like without the things you already have in your life. To take it even further, you can literally spend some time without them and bring them back in your life to reset the hedonic adaptation. For example, you can spend a month on a tight budget or fast for a day.
- Mental Subtraction (another thought experiment similar to negative visualization): Imagine what your life would be like if a positive event had not occurred. It’s best to imagine the supposedly bad life events that turned out in your favor. This practice will also give you the strength to endure hard times.
- Express gratitude through speech: Take a breath, close your eyes, smile and speak out loud every thing you feel grateful for at this moment. Verbalizing what you’re grateful for “raises your vibrations” and amplifies the effects of gratitude. To get started, you can say “thank you” more often to others.
- Gratitude journal: Take a journal and write what you feel grateful for at this moment. Writing it down forces you to affirm your feelings even further. Keeping a gratitude journal is a good way to practice this.
- Mindfulness: Be in the moment and experience or contemplate what you’re grateful for (focus on one thing at a time). Mindfulness is a great way to feel more thankful for each little thing we often take for granted. It also lets you observe your thinking so you can drop down judgment, comparison, or other unwanted thoughts or emotions.
- Take an awe walk in nature.
- Smile as you go to sleep.
- Wake up with a big smile on your face as if a miracle has happened.
- Hug someone.
- Call someone you love or send them a “thank you letter“.
- Cook a meal for others.
- Practice mindful eating.
- Give something to someone when they want it more than you want it.
- Be kind to a customer service representative.
- Use your strengths or skills to serve someone.
- Treat yourself to something you enjoy (Netflix, video game, music, massage, party, shopping, good food, or whatever you like).
- Show your body some respect by putting healthy foods in your body and using your body often to keep it fit (it will return the favor by taking care of you).
- Spread kindness when someone needs it the most.
- Look in the mirror and repeat “I love myself” until you do (courtesy of Kamal Ravikant’s book Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It).
- Take a mini-vacation or a solitude holiday.
- Go down memory lane by browsing through old photos or videos.
- Celebrate challenges or obstacles on your way.
- Accept the facts of life, such as impermanence of things, aging, death, loss, etc.
- Take deep breaths and feel alive.
Gratitude Is A Choice
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.Melody Beattie
If gratitude is a magic pill, you must remind yourself to take the doses. If you skip it, you’ll suffer the consequences. The best way to practice gratitude is to create rituals and reminders to express gratefulness.
So what are you thankful for despite the chaos of life?