Why I Make Gratitude A Daily Practice

When I was little, I found it fun to make lists of things I was happy about.

I was inspired by a book I’d found one day long ago when I had been sifting through the endless shelves at a Barnes & Noble — one of those 14,000 Things To Be Happy About books.

I hadn’t really thought about gratitude quite like that before.

My family was grateful for food every night before dinner, and especially grateful for food and family at Thanksgiving. But otherwise I don’t recall gratitude being a major focus for us.

So, to find a book like that made me feel pretty great. Awesome, even. Because in that book it lists things that a kid can truly feel grateful for: warm mittens, cute puppies, and sunshine.

And because it taught me something new: that everything is deserving of gratitude.

So, when I made my own lists as a kid, it felt great to write down all of the things I was grateful for. I would make lists of hundreds of things, challenging myself to truly list every single thing I could think of.

Kittens. Bike rides. Flowers. Candy.

When I was a kid, that was satisfying. I was truly happy that rainbows exist. I was truly happy that puppies exist.

As an adult, I am too. But that type of gratitude doesn’t have the same effect it did back then. My adult self still loves a good rainbow, but I also think more seriously about my own happiness, and about the happiness of my loved ones.

I think about if I feel good about the work I’m doing. How my relationship is with my husband, my family, my friends.

And yes, I think about how amazing that first cup of coffee feels.

Gratitude, for me, is a daily practice.

I keep a gratitude journal, and I’m actually fairly new to it — I only started about ten months ago.

Every single night, right before I turn out the lamp on my nightstand, I pull out my gratitude journal and log three things I’m happy about from my day.

It’s a simple practice that helps me to feel centered, and allows me to quickly reflect on how blessed and wonderful my day was.

And on days I don’t feel as blessed, it forces me to see through the negative events of one day and focus on the things I am grateful for always: to be here another day, with my family, doing the best that I can.