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10 Simple Ways To Find Gratitude That Will Enrich Your Life Year-Round!

Image shows a gratitude journal cover with a page containing a list of things the photographer is grateful for.

People keep gratitude journals. They create posts on social media stating what they are thankful for that day. Many times, like New Year’s resolutions, these short bursts of gratefulness only appear around the holidays. Thanksgiving is a favorite “gratitude” holiday. But what if you were grateful every day of the year?

It can be challenging to think about things to be grateful for when the world seems to be crashing around you. Many people might be fond of saying, “I’m grateful that I woke up this morning.” While that is a great beginning, we compiled a list to help you start a gratitude journey to a better life!

Image shows three people riding in an old car, waving, smiling, and enjoying the day. Gratitude abounds.
Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Simple is good. As you work to compile your daily list, it is okay to repeat items every day, but try to add new items also. This five-minute exercise can improve your outlook on life. I take a few minutes before sleep each night to add one specific thing from the day to my list.

1. Children Always Make Us Grateful For Their Existence.

Parents are always grateful for their children. Don’t ask. We just are. It doesn’t matter that Johnny walked through the house dragging a mud-soaked towel he found behind the garage. Or that little Suzie had a tantrum because she wanted pancakes and you made her waffles. We’re still grateful for these tiny bundles of energy that inhabit our homes. As often as they frustrate us, they also provide a tenfold amount of smiles and joy.

2. Be Thankful For Sunrises, Sunsets, And All Things In Nature.

We aren’t all early risers, but nature of any type can be uplifting and is something we can all appreciate. Whether you are a hiker, biker, or just a slow walker, there is a world of beauty outside your window. Even in a crowded city, you can find a beautiful flower blooming between cracks in the pavement.

Image shows small pink flowers blooming through a crack in asphalt pavement. Gratitude abounds.
Image from Flickr.

3. Show Gratitude For Our Family, Friendships, And Other Relationships.

Being grateful for family and friends may seem like something that needs no mention. It may be that friend from college you haven’t seen for years who found you on Facebook when you needed a lift. Or a family member that never calls, but for some reason they dialed your number just when you needed to hear their voice. Whatever the relationship, being grateful for the people in our lives can bring waves of gratitude.

4. Having Gratitude For All Things Food.

Whether it’s a splurge on a Krispy Kreme donut or a container of instant Ramen, food is a staple in our lives. It is something we can all be grateful for.

A composite image showing four images of food, including instant Ramen noodles, a meat and cheese tray, a basket full of vegetables, and a box with Krispy Kreme donuts. Gratitude abounds.
Images from Wikimedia Commons, Flickr, Wikimedia Commons, and Flickr.

5. Emotions, From Empathy To Sadness, Make Us Who We Are.

Celebrating our emotions is something that not everyone can do easily. We are happy, sad, angry, or simply overwhelmed at any point during each day. But those emotions make each of us unique. So it makes sense to be grateful for the emotions that we can express, and even those we can’t.

6. Be Grateful To Be “Left Out.”

All your friends planned an outing and neglected to invite you? Be grateful! You get to stay home and do “you” things all day. Yes, you could wallow in self-pity, but why? Your friends did you a massive solid by giving you some time to concentrate on things that you want to do!

Image shows a yearly wall calendar in a spreadsheet display, with several items written on it.
Image from Flickr.

7. Be Grateful For The Music That Brightens Your Life

No matter what type of music is your favorite, a brief ten-minute music session can brighten your day! Be grateful for all the artists who provide us with such easy access to sounds that delight our ears. Pick up a Ukelele and teach yourself a song. I am always grateful for a quick song and dance during a hectic day.

8. Be Grateful For Photographs And Memories.

Scrapbooks, photo collections, and old birthday cards can send us on a trip down Memory Lane. Take a minute to be grateful for the ease with which we can create these media memories. Whether you peruse social media or opt for physical pictures. I open old scrapbooks made by my stepmom and it instantly transports me into those happy memories. We watched my daughter grow up and it’s all right there in those albums! I am grateful for the pictures and memories.

A composite image showing two separate pages of a family scrapbook. The left image shows six pictures from a bowling trip. The right image shows seven images of outdoor activities and the phrase "Boy's Rule."
Images from Flickr, here and here.

9. Show Gratitude For Good Health (Or At Least Not Worse Health).

Not everyone has good health. Those that do can be grateful for that. For those that have health problems, you can also rejoice. Chronic pain sufferers frequently find a way to laugh and enjoy life through their suffering. So, if you have a cold, be thankful it isn’t pneumonia. There is always something to be grateful for!

10. Be Grateful For Long Weekends!

As we close out our list, we would like to ask you to be grateful for the extra day you enjoy on holiday weekends. Even if you had to work, you probably noticed less commuting traffic. Some of your “favorite” co-workers may have taken the day off, leaving your office peaceful. There is always something to be thankful for when we have a long weekend!

Image shows two packages wrapped in red, plaid holiday papers, a sprig of holly berries, some pine garland, and pinecones with a wind-up clock displaying 11:53.
Image from Flickr.

There are scientific studies that tell us of the positive impact of being grateful. In a study by Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, and Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, participants were split into three groups. The first group focused on gratitude, the second on irritants, and the third on general life events. The study revealed that the group concentrating on gratitude felt better about themselves. They were more optimistic and received additional bonuses that included fewer health-related problems!

Practicing gratitude isn’t always an easy task. When you take the time to appreciate the good things in your life, even the bad things don’t seem so bad anymore. We know the old cliche, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” To switch that up, when life stinks, think about things that don’t stink.

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here.

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