25-ish Questions to Help you Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude
by Chelsea Dinsmore
Live Your Legend
To create more meaning in your moments by aligning who you are with what you do, so you can share your gifts with the world around you.
- Start Simple
- Look Inwards
- Shift Your Perspective
- Find Presence
In the beginning of any new habit or practice, you may need to begin with the obvious. And in my opinion this is where a lot of people get stuck. They say “I’m grateful I have a roof over my head” but they don’t actually feel it. However, you have to start somewhere! So start simple.
Questions to ask:
- Who are you grateful for? Your mother, father, children, spouse, extended family, friends, loved ones, co-workers, pets.
- What around you are you grateful for? Physical surroundings (such as a house, car, city or state), external surroundings (such birds chirping, sun shining, rain falling) or emotional surroundings (such as the love you feel for or from someone).
- What did you do today that you enjoyed? Listened to a great song, played with your kids, met a friend for lunch, walked the dogs.
- What or who do you feel like you need in your life? Your car, your house, your phone, your TV, your favorite pair of shoes.
- What do you feel lucky to have that some others do not? Food, water, warmth, family, friends, health.
Moving from the external to the internal is where self-discovery begins. There are many obvious things we can be grateful for – our house, our friends, our family, etc. – but you might need to look a little deeper to begin to actually feel that gratitude.
Questions to ask:
- Tap into your senses: What do you love to eat?
- What do you love to watch?
- What do you love to smell?
- What do you love to hear?
- What do you love to touch? Food, drinks, movies, flowers, coffee, music, that one cute word your son or daughter says wrong, your cozy blanket, your comfy sweatshirt.
- When did you feel good today?
- What about that made you feel good? When you presented at work, when your child thanked you, when your spouse said I love you, when your friend called you, when you thought about the upcoming weekend.
- When did you smile or laugh today?
- What or who made you smile? When you ordered your coffee at Starbucks, when you received that cat video from your friend, when your child asked you a silly question.
- What made you proud today? Why? When you woke up early to work out, when you made it to work on time, when your child got an award, when you said yes to something scary.
- What were you thanked for today? For the work you did, the meal you made, the way you helped, the gift you sent, the thoughts you shared.
Note: Major life transitions aside, if you cannot answer any of these questions, it may be time to rethink how you are spending your time and who you are spending it with!
Shift Your Perspective
It’s easy to get so caught up in all that is going on in our own little world that we forget about all the things that happen all around us every single day, which are actually miracles on their own! Alternatively, often times people focus on what they don’t have rather than the myriad of amazing small things that they do have. This shift in perspective helps to look outside oneself at the bigger picture.
Questions to ask:
- What happens in your life without you having to think about it? The sun rises and sets, your eyes blink, you heart beats, you can hear the sound of your alarm, you can go for a walk.
- What did your husband, brother, child, etc. do today without you having to ask? They made lunch or dinner, they picked up the kids, they paid the bills, they called.
- What did not exist 10, 20, 50 years ago that is a regular part of your daily life now? Healthy easily accessible food, the TV, the iPhone, being able to fly almost anywhere in the world, apps that help us learn and grow.
- What do you have in your life right now that others (that you know or around the world) do not? Food, water, shelter, family, warmth, security, stability.
- Ask yourself: “What else could this mean?” Perhaps that person that cut you off is actually rushing to the hospital, perhaps the person behind the counter was short with you because they just lost their mother or aunt or friend, perhaps it isn’t really about you at all? Maybe there’s a larger meaning…
I truly believe there is beauty in every single day – and in every single moment. You may not see it all day or be able to find beauty in every aspect of every moment but there is at least something, even if it is very small, beautiful about it.
Questions to ask:
- What around me is physically beautiful? Nature, the room, the light coming into the room, the flowers, the picture on the wall.
- What is comfortable about this moment? Your clothes, you chair, your bed.
- What sounds do I hear? If you cannot hear, what do you smell? If you cannot smell, what do you feel, etc.? Birds, wind, rain, voices.
- What is happening inside my body at this moment? You breath is flowing, your heart is beating, your digestive system is working, your brain is capable of processing, thinking and creating feelings.
- If this was your last moment on earth, what would you appreciate about it? Everything.
Sometimes it can be hard to be grateful in a moment where you feel like crap. Some might argue that it’s because you aren’t fully present… but that’s another topic! I can safely say that there have been moments over the past few months where I don’t feel very grateful. But there are a few tips and tricks I can tap into when I feel that way.
Look around you. If you are inside, you are likely to see a picture of a loved one or something you brought to put in your house because you loved it. If you are outside, the possibilities are endless. There is tremendous beauty in nature if you take a moment to stop, slow down and notice it.
Tell someone what they mean to you. I recently had a friend tell me I wasn’t allowed to write a thank you card to her. But I did, because in that moment I was sad and it felt good to tell someone what I loved about them.
- Are there really any problems in this moment? Try to truly be in the moment, not looking ahead or in the past…
- If I wanted to be grateful, what could I be grateful for?” Because sometimes we can’t always actually feel the gratitude and that’s ok! This will likely take you right back to starting simple.
- What is a mantra or resource that you can tap into when you feel like there is nothing to be grateful for?
Rob R. Johnson Ltd. Co.