The practice of seeing the little and big things that you're grateful for has been shown to make you a happier person. That's because you literally think about the good things you have in your life, rather than focusing on what you don't have and being negative about it. Take it a step further and figure out why that thing makes you grateful.
Image by Karen Hong Photography.
Sharí Alexander, a speaking coach based in Los Angeles, notes that gratitude lists are great, but often they're missing the why component. She writes:
Make your gratitude list more than a role call for what is good right now. Don't just jot one item down and move on to the next.
In fact, I argue that gratitude doesn't exist without knowing WHY you're grateful. Without the why, a gratitude list is more like a "nice things I noticed today" list.
I see her point. I've added the Five-Minute Journal to my daily morning routine, during which I write down three things I'm grateful for. Some days it's a struggle so I just scribble something for the sake of it (here's one from today: "Raisins, even if some people hate them."). Now that I think about it: they are delicious and I enjoy them. And that's good enough for me.
To go even further, Alexander challenges you to look at your gratitude list and ask, "Have you expressed your gratitude OUTSIDE of your gratitude list?" For example, have you ever been grateful for someone? Probably. But have you told that person? That's less likely.
Try telling someone you're grateful for their contribution to your life today. Reader, I'm grateful that you've read this and my other articles and make nice comments. Thank you.
What Your Gratitude List Is Missing [Sharí Alexander]