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4 Reasons to Write Out A Daily Gratitude List: The Benefits of Cultivating An Attitude of Gratitude

Post Updated 8/3/2023

Every day, if we take the time to look around, we can find something to be grateful for. There are days, however, when we need to look a little harder than others.

Think about it; we have roofs over our heads, food in the cupboards, family, friends, jobs, hobbies, freedom, faith, and so much more.

We are so blessed, and yet too often take what we have for granted. It’s so easy to slip into complaining about what we don’t have, what we want more of, or that we wish for something different.

In this current season of my life, I’m “homeless”. But then I realize that while I search for a permanent address, I’m not homeless. Family has welcomed me into their homes, I’ve done some house sitting, and I have family helping me in my home search. I have a roof over my head, a bed to sleep on, food in the cupboards, my job, and my Bailey Boy travels with me.

4 Reasons to Write Out a Dily Gratitude List

I call myself homeless until I see the person walking down the street with everything they own in a grocery cart. It’s in moments like these I realize how blessed I am, and I am grateful.

It’s also in moments like these that I realize I need to get back to writing out a daily gratitude list.

Through years of practice, I’ve found the simple act of daily writing a short list of things I am grateful for is a tool to help cultivate an attitude of gratitude. It also helps me intentionally look for and find things to be grateful for throughout the day.

4 Reasons to Write Out A Daily Gratitude List

1) We need reminders: We need these daily reminders of the gifts right in front of us. We get busy, skip the good and zoom in on what’s not going right, or we get so used to the good we take it for granted.

My Bailey Boy is a gift; I have food to eat, a roof over my head, family and friends who love and care about me, and a Father in heaven who, thankfully, is EXCEEDINGLY patient with me.

When we get too busy, overwhelmed, and frustrated, these are the times we need to be reminded to:

  • Stop
  • Slow down
  • Take a deep breath
  • And remember what we have to be grateful for

There are days it will be hard to come up with three things, other days we will come up with 10. Even on the hard days, even if your list is only, “I’m glad I have a bed to sleep in today and that I have a roof over my head”. Fine. Write it out, cultivate this habit.

2) It changes our perspective: Having a list written out that we can refer too, is also a gift. It can help shift our perspectives when we are having a bad day, and it feels like nothing is going right. We can go back to this list and remember all the good things that have happened in our life.

This list can become a powerful tool to help move us from overwhelm as we see God’s faithfulness, and His gifts. You might even find yourself smiling as you remember the events that prompted you to write it out that day.

Even on the bad days, make sure you take the time to write out a couple of things that you are grateful for.

3) It’s a sign of obedience: I Thessalonians 5:18a, “Give thanks in all circumstances”. We are told to rejoice amid trials and to be thankful for everything.

There are days I would prefer to ignore this verse. There are days I have to ask God, what in the world do I have to be thankful for? These are the days I have to ask for help to obey and give thanks. These are the days I have to look hard to find a couple of things to add to my list.

The amazing thing is that when I take the time to make that list.

  • The tightness in my chest lessons.
  • I breathe a little easier.
  • My Tension eases.

It may not last long, but in that moment of obedience, I know I’m doing something right, and planting a seed that will grow if nurtured.

4) It opens your eyes: Once we decide to write out a daily list, we train ourselves to look for small things and big things we can be grateful for. With practice, your eyes, heart, and mind are open to what is around you and all the amazing things you have to be grateful for.

Our hearts follow our treasure. A quote from Lara Casey

Cultivating Gratitude Means Changing Thought Patterns

What we focus on becomes our reality.

  • When we feel overwhelmed, everything is a problem.
  • When we are experiencing depression, everything is so hard.
  • When we are exhausted, everything is too loud, too fast, and too much.

It’s much easier to stay in that negative frame of mind than choosing to be grateful. Expressing thanks is a choice.

  • Having a choice does not make it easy.
  • It’s a choice, but it does not mean we have a magic pill that solves everything.
  • And having choices doesn’t mean we can always do it on our own.

To help change our thoughts, sometimes we need a book like Ann Voskamp’s, One Thousand Gifts Devotional. Sometimes we need a friend to remind us what we have to be grateful for. Sometimes it is praying throughout the day, asking God to show us what we have to be grateful for because we cannot see it at that moment.

You can understand why having a list to refer to can be important.

Some days it will be easier, and we can fill an entire page of things we are grateful for. Joy filled days of little treasures we see and appreciate, take advantage of these days and fill a page to read and remember later.

What’s on your gratitude list today?

Choosing Gratitude: A Daily Quiet Time Journal

The Choosing Gratitude: A Daily Quiet Time Journal, is a 31-day journey filled with simple activities to develop your faith, cultivate gratitude, and nurture your creativity, including:

  • Reading and writing out the verse of the day
  • Keeping a daily gratitude list
  • Tracking prayer requests
  • Journaling thoughts and prayers
  • Creating with simple designs for coloring and space for lettering, doodles, and more

Choose one activity, or choose them all, but keep it simple…and develop a meaningful routine that you look forward to each day.

2 thoughts on “4 Reasons to Write Out A Daily Gratitude List: The Benefits of Cultivating An Attitude of Gratitude”

  1. You asked, “What’s on your gratitude list today?”

    1. Fam–so glad to be able to spend time with those in my home, and sometimes with those who live far away.

    I have to keep giving thanks for that, because the sadness of being far away from some family members can be so strong.

    1b. Airplanes. Don’t like ’em (I’m both extremely claustrophobic and afraid of heights), but they get me to where my far-flung fam and friends are! ✈️

    2. Friends. It’s so rewarding to spend time with friends close by, and to re-connect with the long-distance ones.

    3. Health. I have many annoying health problems, but I am thankful for the ability to walk, talk, see, hear, taste, smell, do. I’m also thankful for the info available on the Internet (at least after weeding through the chaff to find the good stuff) for improving health in (mostly) natural ways.

    4. Praise and prayer. God inhabits the praises of His people, He says in His Word. Praising Him re-wires my brain, and gives Him pleasure. Prayer from this perspective both grounds me and is effective, according to James 5:16.

    5. Words. Words can be creative and powerful, or negative and destructive. I like the former.

    6. Oceans, mountains, valleys, trees, flowers, sunshine, breezes, long shadows, and the sky.

    Thanks for another great reminder!

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