Gratitude Lists

This morning I read a post by Kim on SpiralSpun about simple things which brought happiness into her life. She was using a gratitude list to find reasons to be cheerful. I am a fan of gratitude lists because they help us focus on the good things in life.

It is easy to get sucked up in the negative. The news bombards us with terrible stories of war and disasters. This week my Facebook feed has had stories and photos from friends experiencing cyclones, hospitalizations, crime and death. I have a vacancy in my Personal Assistant staff, which is causing me to alter my routine and scramble to find coverage. When my basic needs are up in the air, my ability to stay in the moment is tested.

Gratitude lists cause us to change our attention. They force us to find positive. And when we shift from negative to positive, we become more aware of how much we have to appreciate. I find it is easier to be generous and charitable towards others when I review my gratitude lists. I need all the help I can get with being charitable these days!

Composing a gratitude list, even if it is only a mental list and not one written on paper, makes me less bitter. My lists keep me in the present, and help prevent anxiety over potential future problems. Last week when I realized I was wasting hours trying to solve my wheelchair charger dilemma, a gratitude list helped bring me back from the edge of yet another meltdown.

Gratitude lists don’t have to be grandiose. Although Kim’s list contained ten items, sometimes just one reminder is all it takes to snap me out of negativity. If I were to create a list today, it would include the following things for which I am grateful:

  1. The space heater under my desk which helps keep my feet warm in the winter.
  2. Cuddle-duds. Required attire for this chick in a chair from November – April. Thin enough to provide extra warmth without adding bulk or weight which would restrict my limited movement.
  3. Fifteen days until departure for Australia.
  4. The Broadway channel on the internet radio station I’m listening to. Now playing: “Electricity” from Billy Elliott. This leads me to….
  5. Memories of fun times with my best friend Stephanie. Thinking of her always makes me smile.
  6. Cadbury chocolate. Not the cheap kind made in the USA, but real Cadbury like the bar in my desk brought to me by a friend who recently traveled overseas. I will be returning the favor next month when I return from Australia.

Sure – this is a short list and there are more things for which I am grateful. But taking time to notice the small things, as Kim suggested in her post, means I am less likely to take the larger things (like my job, my car, my accessible apartment) for granted.

Give it a try. What is on your gratitude list today? Share it with the rest of us in the comments!