“Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy.” ~Fred De Witt Van Amburgh
I began my gratitude practice at a time when I desperately needed help seeing the good in my life.
Several failed relationships and a broken heart had left me blind to the incredible gifts the Universe had given me, and I was rutted in depression for three years. I couldn’t seem to focus on anything besides what I had lost. Happiness seemed like a cosmic joke.
The more I focused on what I wasn’t grateful for, like the love I had lost, the less I focused on doing the things I loved.
Depression is common, and it happens to many of us at some point. But the longer I chose to wallow in it, the more impossible happiness seemed. After my third year of depression I seriously considered whether life was even worth living.
Then I came across Zig Ziglar’s empowering audiobook A View From the Top.
I learned from Zig how giving to others can help us foster a deep sense of happiness, and how gratitude is the missing ingredient to most people’s success.
Immediately, I began a gratitude practice, focusing on the important people in my life and the many gifts I had to share with others.
It was a tough transition because there was so much negative momentum to reverse. Habits are like roads—the more you travel them, the easier they are to follow. But I stayed disciplined with my new habit and chose grateful thoughts even when I felt hopeless.
Within two years my gratitude practice turned into a lifestyle, and today I’m enjoying the fruits.
I make a living doing what I love as a writer, and I make a difference in the lives of thousands of people through my work—all because I shifted my focus from what I lacked to what I had.
The amazing thing is that no matter how much or little I think I have, I always have more! And gratitude helps me see it.
If you’ve felt gypped by the Universe, here are 100 reasons to be grateful today.
1. The breath in your lungs
2. Your hard-working heart
3. The food that fuels your experience
4. The ever-present opportunity to make better decisions than your last
5. Your brain and memory that allow you to learn from mistakes
6. The freedom to make unlimited mistakes on your road to self-improvement
7. The endless supply of wisdom people and books provide
8. The natural talents you were born to share
9. The challenges that allow you to grow
10. The accomplishments that have improved your life
11. The mother and father who gave you life
12. The Internet
14. Sweet doggy friends, or cats, if you’re that kind of person
15. Warm sun on your skin
16. The beauty and life in nature
17. The senses that allow you to experience beauty
18. Clean drinking water
19. Health in any amount
20. The arms, legs, feet, and hands that give you freedom of movement
21. The favorite song that keeps you going when you feel like giving up
22. The artists who struggle to create beauty for others
23. The gift of language
24. The ability to read
25. The ability to learn from the mistakes and achievements of others
26. The help that is always there when you ask for it
27. The roof over your head
28. Piercing stars in a clear night sky
29. The inspiration that sweeps you out of your comfort zone
30. The people who’ve dedicated their lives to inspiring others
31. The kids who remind you to be playful and adventurous
32. The ability to connect with family and friends anywhere in the world (Skype)
33. Carrots (If you don’t know about carrots, click this link)
34. Family farms that are committed to providing organic and sustainable foods
35. The fresh start you’re given every day
38. The pain that reminds you of the need to change
39. Our dreams
40. The people who pray for you every day, without you realizing it
41. The hard times that made you who you are
42. Automatic rice cookers, refrigerators, air conditioning, and every little convenience that saves you time
43. Bare feet on grass
44. All the organisms in the soil that support life on earth
46. All of the amazing teachers who helped you reach your potential
47. Each failure that led to your achievements, and everyone who encouraged you to keep going
48. The “haters” who helped you build resilience by saying, “No, you can’t!”
49. The fact that every bit of food you need to be happy and healthy is just a short drive away
50. The garbage men who keep streets clean
51. The random smile that got you through your last impossible day
52. That one cashier who you can always count on to brighten your day
53. Photosynthesis, and the fact that nature’s beauty works to keep you alive
54. The one friend you’ve been able to count on through every stage in your life—even if that friend is you
55. The new friends you’ve yet to meet, and the amazing times you haven’t yet experienced
56. Your favorite spot to recharge when you’re overwhelmed
57. Sunsets that make the sky explode with incandescent pinks, peaches, purples, oranges, and golds
58. Your education
59. Every single one of the trillions of cells in your body that work hard so that you can experience life
60. That one mule of a person who challenges you to be kind when it’s most difficult
61. Grandmas and Grandpas who helped make childhood so special
62. The special people who filled spots where parents or grandparents were missing
63. Bananas and peanut butter (or your favorite treat)
64. Fresh baked baguettes that are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside (and other delicious food)
65. The spiritual growth you’ve accomplished (give yourself some credit!)
66. The renewal of spring
67. The relaxing sound of trickling water
68. Gardens with fresh herbs, even if they’re just on your window sill
69. YouTube, for whenever you need to troubleshoot your car or computer, and especially when you need a laugh.
70. All the quotes that inspire you
72. The doors that closed on opportunities you wanted but didn’t need
73. The windows that opened when you almost gave up hope
74. All the serendipitous occasions that remind you never to lose faith
75. Everything coconut-related: oil, water, ice cream, flour, cream pie, etc.
76. The hardships that transform us into more capable, understanding, giving, and forgiving people
77. The impossible, for inspiring us to expand our limits
78. The hot showers that completely change your perspective on life
80. Hearing good news
81. Making good news for others to hear
82. The little depressions that remind you to fight hard for happiness
83. The anxiety that reminds you to feel your emotions so you can learn from them and let them go
84. The fact that you are unconditionally loved and accepted
85. A really good cry
87. New life
88. Beautiful men and women (look in the mirror)
89. The rituals that give security and meaning to daily life
90. Your favorite things
91. The ridiculous people you can always count on for a belly laugh
92. Little touches from people you love that make everything okay
93. Little munchkins who you can never be with quite enough
94. The good examples who’ve inspired you to be your best
95. The bad examples who illuminated the paths you shouldn’t take
96. The movies, music, art, celebrations, and people that remind you just how good it is to be human
97. The you from yesterday you get to compete with today
98. Refreshing walks that calm your mind and ease your spirit
99. The ability to change your whole life with one good decision
100. The option to be grateful no matter where you are or what you’re experiencing
Gratitude is the most important choice in your day—and you can find things to be grateful for everywhere if you look hard enough. If you liked this list, try making your own at the end of each week and put it in a gratitude journal. Your life will effloresce, I promise.
About Daniel Dowling
Daniel Dowling used anxiety and depression as tools to unlock his potential. Now he helps others to find their purpose through journaling and intentional living. Read more of Daniel’s work at dowlingwriter.com.