How a gratitude list improves your happiness and relationships

A gratitude list increases happiness

You’ve probably heard about expressing gratitude as a part of the law of attraction. And it is certainly true that gratitude is an important part of helping us achieve what we want in life as well as gaining more happiness.

After all, how can you possibly attract success and happiness if you do not appreciate what you already have?

Too many people ignore gratitude and instead focus on what they believe they lack, labelling themselves as hard done by or unfortunate. The truth is that all of us have plenty to be grateful for, although this can be hard to think about in difficult circumstances.

An everyday reminder of gifts

Making a gratitude list is a great way to remind yourself of your many blessings. Seeing everything you are grateful for written down in a list is a very effective way to increase your levels of happiness.

Accumulating your blessings makes you realize you are lucky and the good thing about a list is that it’s portable – you can slip it into your pocket and read it whenever you need to.

Expressing gratitude is uplifting, it literally lifts our spirits and opens our hearts. You start to realize that your life contains many gifts and many wonderful people.

It is in our darkest and most difficult times that we need to think about what we are grateful for. At such times, the prospect of writing a gratitude list may seem ridiculous but this one action will be far more productive than self-pity.

How to start your gratitude list

Simply take a piece of paper and a pen and begin to write – and remember to write in the present tense as often as you can so you are able to easily see the present gifts in your life. You can write, for example, “I am grateful for my loving friends”, “I am grateful for my health”.

Start off as general as possible before going into more detail. Why are you grateful for your friends? Is it because they support you and love you? Is there something about your health that you are especially grateful for? Say thank you for those gifts.

Of course, being grateful and writing your lists doesn’t mean that you walk around in a state of constant happiness – that is unrealistic, but what it does mean is that you acknowledge on a regular basis all the good things and people and events in your life. You become far more aware of them and as a consequence, more thankful.

Gratitude = mindfulness and kindness

Expressing gratitude makes us so much more kind to others as well as ourselves; we become more generous and giving people and this all adds to a higher self-confidence.

There will be times when writing a list seems impossible. Perhaps you are angry over something or have been disappointed or hurt. Regardless of this, it is important to make the effort to get back into the gratitude mindset and write your list. Remember that gratitude nourishes the soul and lifts the spirit.

So even if it is hard to think of anything initially, try to think of five things (off the top of your head) that you are grateful for.

It could be as simple as being grateful that you can write, that you have eyes to see, a brain to think with, have the time to write your list. These considerations will lead to other realizations of what else there is to be thankful for. Keep writing until the block has disappeared.

Don’t forget to include the significant people in your life

It is important to include the people you are grateful to in your list. We mentioned friends earlier in this article, but list also everyone who has helped you in your life, past and present.

If you are able to, express your gratitude directly to them face to face or telephone or send a letter or email. Even people we would never consider giving thanks to – such as the lover who left us or the strict teacher who gave us detention all the time – have still given us gifts. They have provided us with valuable lessons in our journey of life, teaching us many things about ourselves.

We should be thankful for every chance we are granted to learn and grow even if at the time we did not see how it could possibly benefit us.

It can often happen that the things we are the most grateful for did not fully reveal themselves to us until months or years later – the gift of hindsight is something we should express gratitude for regularly.

So, don’t delay. Make a gratitude list and begin to write your way to a happier life and more fulfilling relationships.

K.J. Hutchings creates relationship art and writing to help you feel good about yourself and feel good about your relationships. She lives with her husband in Sweden, and likes to drink lots of green tea and watch a romcom or two.

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