Earlier this year, I started keeping a gratitude journal. Before going to sleep, I would write down three things I was grateful for. I found myself practicing gratitude for the same two things:
Health and family.
I felt like a broken record when it came to my gratitude practice. While it’s fantastic to be grateful for one’s health and family, there are countless other things to think about when practicing gratitude.
My inspiration to get more creative with my gratitude practice sparked once I started using a smartphone app called Gratitude Plus. The app offers a feature where you can see what other users are grateful for all over the world.
Seeing the diverse array of things people were grateful for inspired me to become more creative with my gratitude practice.
As a result, I’ve come up with five unique things one can be grateful for.
1. Human Innovations
Underground trains, Boeing 787 airplanes, wheels, electricity, advanced medicine, 60-story buildings
I was sitting on the NYC subway and thought to myself, this is absolutely incredible. Most people cringe at the thought of the NYC subway system but hear me out.
Somebody built this. I wish thanks for the thousands of people who poured their waking hours digging underground holes, building steel train cars, and putting down miles upon miles of rail lines.
This was all done so people like you and I can hop on a train uptown and get downtown in under ten minutes.
Think of the countless other technological innovations to be grateful for. We live in a time that those before us couldn’t imagine or experience.
2. A Funny Moment
That funny comic strip you read in the paper. The perfectly timed joke dropped by your friend. The lady on the street who stopped you and thought you were a movie star.
Pay homage to those fleeting moments of laughter. Appreciate those moments and be grateful for them.
3. Anything That Engages the Senses
A cup of hot chocolate that warms your freezing hands. A slight breeze amid the sweltering heat. The smell of recently bloomed flowers on an early spring day.
The senses we experience should not be taken for granted. To experience through our senses is to experience life. Express gratitude for those moments of pleasure.
4. The Kindness of Strangers
The woman who graciously explained where to find the best food in town. The boy who returned your lost wallet. The passenger who gave up their seat so you could sit down.
Be grateful for those people whose names you don’t know and never will know. Be grateful for the deeds strangers have done for you. You may never be able to return the favor, but by all means, remember those random acts of kindness and be being grateful for them.
5. Acquiring Knowledge
A fantastic book on the history of the world I just finished. A thought provoking quote that reframed my perspective. Something a high school teacher taught me.
Express gratitude for acquiring knowledge. It is a privilege to learn.
Additionally, have an appreciation for the people — living or dead — who devoted their lives to education. Most of what we know was learned by somebody before us.
Find Gratitude in the Specifics
When practicing gratitude, be as specific as possible. The more specific you think, the more things you’ll be grateful for.
Think critically of everything you engage with daily. Ask, “Is this something I can be grateful for?” More times than not, the answer is a resounding yes.
We take for granted the little things. Therefore it’s our responsibility to find beauty in the little things.
We can be grateful for plenty of things beyond our health and our loved ones. Illuminate your world by practicing gratitude for all that surrounds you.
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