Gratitude is the ultimate perspective shifter. It paints your life with a positive-focused brush, and it has been shown in study after study to have both mental and physical health benefits. It’s one of the most readily accessible tools we have for changing our lives for the better.
A few months ago I posted a list of seventeen gratitude prompting questions. Lately I’ve been playing with weaving that gratitude focus more habitually into my life as I bop through my days.
In the spirit of making gratitude part of the ongoing fabric of your life, not just something you do now and then when you remember, here are some more questions you can ask as you live your day-to-day life.
- What can I find to be grateful for in this very moment? (Challenge yourself. Make it a game.)
- What do I see right now that I can be grateful for?
- What is associated with something I’m grateful for that I can be grateful for? (For example, if you’re grateful for the cup of coffee you’re enjoying, there’s the potential to be grateful for everything that went into it – the farmer who grew it, the earth it grew in, the sunshine and rain, the people who picked it, the business and people who involved in getting it from there to where you are, the roasters, etc.).
- What can I enjoy right now that I can be grateful for? (For example, looking out my window I’m enjoying the color contrast of a branch of a juniper tree that has both live green and dead brown tips – when I really stop and notice it, it’s quite pretty.)
- What do I hear that I am grateful for (birds? music? the sound of children giggling?)
- What do I normally take for granted that I am grateful for (clean and readily available drinking water? flush toilets? an abundance of food?)
- What interaction(s) have I had lately that I’m grateful for? (the funny barista? the gentle smile from the person you walked past in the grocery store? the compliment from a co-worker?)
- What have I learned lately that I’m grateful for?
- Who am I grateful to for teaching me something lately?
- What do I get to do that I’m grateful for? (hobbies? work you enjoy? helping someone? going to a good movie?)
- How have other people helped me that I’m grateful for?
- What opportunities to help others have I had that I can be grateful for?
- What do I find fascinating? Can I be grateful for that fascination?
- What emotional feelings am I grateful for right now?
- What physical sensations am I grateful for right now?
- What is the subtlest thing I can notice that I can be grateful for? (a gentle breeze? the lingering smell of a delicious meal?)
- What have I seen others do that I can feel grateful for seeing (chasing somebody down to return money they dropped? giving up a seat on a crowded bus? giving a stranger a genuine compliment?)
There is literally an endless supply of things to be grateful for when we start looking.
Print the questions out. Add your own. Tape them up to your wall. Keep a copy on your dashboard. Remind yourself, remind yourself, remind yourself.
The more you practice gratitude, the more you’ll notice to be grateful for. And that can change the way you experience your life in a very real way.
What gratitude questions would you add?
(By the way, I’m grateful that you’re reading this.)
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