Trying to conjure up things to be grateful for can be really difficult during tough times.
Sometimes, it can feel as if nothing is going your way and you end up trapped in a negative cycle.
Other times, mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, can get in the way of feeling any joy whatsoever.
Trust me, I know.
This is why I’ve put together 100+ things to be grateful for in the hope that some will resonate with you and help you practise gratitude a little easier, even if you’re feeling low.
I’m also going to cover how practising gratitude helps improve your mindset, how to practise gratitude, and some other tips for feeling grateful. However, if you just want to jump to the list of things to be grateful for, that’s cool too – you can click here.
Does feeling grateful help your mindset?
Learning how to feel grateful can massively help improve your mindset and mental health.
Practising gratitude – the act of acknowledging and appreciating what IS going right for you in life – is actually something many experts have begun to recommend to help dig yourself out of feeling low.
(My own therapist recommended it for me.)
Studies show that being thankful for what you have, instead of focusing on what you don’t have, can improve not just your mindset but mental health too.
What feeling grateful does is take your focus off what’s going wrong for you in your life.
While dealing with negative situations and emotions is also imperative when it comes to healing your mindset, it’s not good to dwell on them.
Chasing that rabbit down the rabbit hole usually only leads to more rabbits.
What I mean by that is: Once you’ve entertained that negative thought and sunk into a depressive hole, it’s probably going to lead to more negative thoughts.
When you spend a lot of time thinking about negative things – like the things you don’t have – you get trapped in this cycle.
Thinking negatively almost becomes a habit.
In the same way, by flipping the switch and focusing on things to be grateful for – what we DO have – we can almost retrain our brain to think more positively.
How to practise gratitude
There are a few main ways to practise gratitude.
My favourite ways are:
#1. Gratitude journaling
Probably the most popular way to practise feeling thankful is starting a gratitude journal.
This involves simply listing a few things that you’re grateful for every morning.
Listing the things you’re most grateful for in the morning is a perfect way to get your day started on a positive note.
Some people only list three things they’re grateful for, some list 10. (I personally write five.) So feel free to find what works for you, your schedule, and your mindset.
You can also repeat this in the evening if you feel called to.
#2. Gratitude affirmations
Gratitude affirmations can also be really helpful when it comes to affirming what you’re grateful for.
Not only are affirmations wonderful for our mindset – affirmations that help us practise gratitude are even better.
Here’s a list of affirmations specifically aimed at gratitude to get you started.
#3. Practise gratitude in everyday life
Arguably one of the easiest ways to practise gratitude is to incorporate it into your everyday life by being mindful.
This may be as literal as telling people in your life you’re grateful for them and/or what they’ve done, or this might mean silently being thankful as you go about your day.
For example, if you’re going for a walk in the park, you might silently be thankful that you have access to said park.
You catch my drift?
Getting into the habit of being thankful for everything and generally quite positive helps you feel more capable when things to do go wrong.
#4. Gratitude meditation
It’s a common misconception that meditation is all about totally clearing your mind or any and all thoughts. This is almost impossible since we’re humans and humans like to think.
What meditation is REALLY about is mindfulness.
It’s about acknowledging and observing our thoughts before releasing them.
This is why meditation is so good for mental health issues like anxiety; it helps breathe new life into your body and encourage you to observe your thoughts from a place of non-judgement.
This can also help when practising gratitude as it can improve your ability to put things into perspective and find things to be grateful for.
When it comes to specific gratitude meditations, there are plenty of amazing guided ones on YouTube that can help you tap into your inner joy and truly feel thankful.
How can I be grateful for everything?
Right now, I can hear what a lot of you are thinking: ‘How can I be grateful for everything when my life feels like it’s in tatters right now? How can I be grateful for everything when I don’t have anything to be grateful for?’
Look, I get you. I’ve been there.
When I’m going through a depressive episode, conjuring up things to be grateful for feels like an impossible task.
I feel as if everything’s going wrong, that I have nothing going for me, and that nothing in my life will ever go well again.
Firstly, it’s important to point out that while your feelings are valid, feelings are not facts.
Just because you feel as if you have nothing good in your life doesn’t make it automatically true.
This is where practising meditation and mindfulness comes in because it helps you get some objective perspective on your situation.
Secondly – and this may surprise you – but you don’t HAVE to be grateful for everything.
When you start completely ignoring the bad and burying your head in the sand, that’s when you actually start running into more issues.
This isn’t ‘looking at the bright side’ or ‘seeing the silver lining.’ This is toxic positivity and it does NOT help your mindset or mental health. Quite the opposite.
When something bad happens, it’s important to acknowledge it and FEEL the negative emotions.
CRY, scream into a pillow, attack a punching bag – release the emotions if you need to and forgive yourself for them.
FEEL to heal.
Deal with the situation and emotions as they come up so that you can not only overcome them, but become better equipped at dealing with similar emotions/situations in the future.
You don’t need to feeling grateful for everything because not everything is worth feeling grateful for!
Some things are s***. And that’s that!
Please never feel guilty for feeling depressed, anxiety, or disappointed.
WHAT SHOULD I BE GRATEFUL FOR TODAY?: 100+ things to be grateful for
If you’re struggling to think of things to be grateful for, here’s a list of mine.
Not all of these will necessarily apply to or resonate with you – we’re all different, as are our situations – so if you read one something on the list that you don’t personally feel gratitude for, simply move on.
- Pretty sunrises
- Stunning sunsets
- Autumn leaves
- Winter frost
- The changing of the seasons
- Snow (+ cat’s pawprints in snow)
- Summer warmth on the back of my neck
- The smell of rain on concrete during spring
- A roof over my head
- The cold side of the pillow
- The smell and feel of clean bedding
- A bed to sleep on
- The smell of coffee
- Meditation and the calmness it brings me
- The ability to think for myself
- The opportunity to grow as a human
- Getting to experience life
- Access to food and water
- The smell of freshly baked bread
- Having a body
- My heart for still beating
- Laughter, especially crying with laughter
- Good movies
- My hands for typing and writing
- My hair for keeping my head warm on crisp, winter days
- Internet access
- The positive people in my life
- Life lessons
- The people who have done me wrong – they’ve taught me lessons too
- Every bad situation that I’ve overcome and learned from
- The birds singing in the trees
- Dogs because… dogs
- ALL animals
- My bones for holding me up when I felt like falling down
- My lungs for seeing me through many a panic attack
- My digestive system for hanging in there, despite all the abuse
- My strength of character
- My humour, even in times of adversity
- My self-awareness, which improves every day
- My mouth for giving me a voice to speech my truth
- My ability to love, in spite of everything
- My ability to be honest with myself
- Running water
- The discovery of ASMR
- Having clothes in general
- My kindness
- My empathy
- My compassion
- Music and the emotion that music makes me feel
- True friends that have my back
- Pretty crystals
- My family (or whatever family means to you)
- The ability to cry and release emotion
- The stars in the sky
- The moon because she’s a beauty
- The kindness of strangers
- The many, (many) mistakes I’ve made and grown from
- The person I used to be for teaching me lessons I’ll never forget
- The person I am for who I am
- The person I’m going to be
- The universe
- The planets – especially Venus, I love her
- Tarot cards
- Energy and the movement of it
- Pineapple on pizza – THERE, I said it!
- Salted caramel – whoever invented it deserves a knighthood or something
- Hot chocolate on a frosty morning
- Oat milk because giving up cow’s milk changed my life
- Whatever Netflix show I’m currently binge-watching
- Platforms that allow creatives (including myself) to thrive while doing what they love
- The opportunity to give gifts
- The ability and drive to educate myself long after leaving University
- Beanie hats because I look cute AF in them
- Snacks – ALL snacks
- The first cup of coffee in the morning – it hits different
- Alone time – and the self-awareness I have to know when I need it
- Self-care – face masks, hot showers, painting my nails etc
- Discovering shadow work
- Planners and stickers
- My sobriety (personal to me, but it might apply to some of you)
- My dedication to healing myself
- Fluffy socks
- Cosy jumpers/sweaters
- Leggings because, again, COMFY
- My individual ~style~
- The freedom to be my most true authentic self
- People who I align and ~vibe~ with
- The feeling of Friday evening
- Sunday mornings
- Endorphins after working out
- Hearing other people belly laugh at a joke I’ve told
- A good night’s sleep