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10 tips to write a gratitude list

10 tips to write a gratitude list

    1. Don't use it as a way to dismiss your negative feelings

    "Connie L. Habash, LMFT, states that “gratitude shouldn’t be practiced in a way that compares ourselves to others. It’s not about who has it worse or better. It’s about finding what is available to us, here and now, that we can appreciate.” (Bence, 2020). Dr. Nekeshia Hammond goes further by stating, “It’s important when practicing gratitude not to invalidate your feelings of stress. You can have both: a strong sense of gratitude along with feelings of sadness, confusion, or anxiety.” (Bence, 2020). Gratitude becomes unhealthy when it is weaponized to diminish or dismiss your own lived experiences of various stressors and harms; in some cases, it may even be a tool for gaslighting you about the very reality of such stressors and harms."

    from Psychology Today

    2. Don't stick to a simple list

    Expand on each item.

    3. Add "because..."

    4. Focus more on the little things

    Train yourself to be grateful for the smell of coffee, not just for the awesome stuff in your life.

    5. Think of people in your life

    6. Notice what's happening right now

    Do you feel anything nice in your body? Do you see an object you like?

    7. Consider not doing it every day

    I've read about a study that said that a daily gratitude practice was not as efficient as doing it once or twice a week (supposedly because it's like developing a tolerance). However, I can't find anything about it when I google it, and maybe the study is not relevant anymore.

    8. Write about 8 things

    In The Psychology Podcast (hosted by Scott Barry Kaufman, god I love that guy), Sonja Lyubomirsky mentioned that the sweet spot was eight. It may be that if you come up with too many things to be grateful for, it might backfire. At least that's what I remember from the podcast.

    9. Think about very small achievements

    Maybe you wrote one sentence, or you meditated for one minute, or you did one tiny thing towards improving your wellbeing.

    If you can't find any, that's fine, don't beat yourself up over it!

    10. Think about good things that have happened to others

    I just thought of this one. What if, in addition to practicing gratitude for the people in my life, I expressed gratitude for what they have in their own lives? I could be grateful that my best friend is in a happy relationship, or that my French-American friend is feeling better after a dark phase, or that my German friend got out of an unhealthy relationship.

    In addition to improving your gratitude muscle, I suspect this should also improve your loving-kindness muscle!

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