Wellness Tip: Gratitude Lists

Writing a gratitude list is the practice of writing down a list of things that you feel grateful for.

There is no right or wrong way to keep a gratitude list but here is a suggested practice for beginners:

In a notebook or journal, at the end of the day before bed, write down 3 things that you truly appreciated being a part of your day. The pen-to-paper method is important; do not simply do the exercise in your head.

The list of things can be relatively small in importance like, a delicious cup of coffee or relatively large like, a job offer or promotion at work.

The goal is to remember all the positives in your life and to relive the emotions as you think of each thing you are grateful for. It’s a mental competition to find the best of the best. Try to be as specific as possible and do not be afraid to get personal. These lists can be a historical account of all your blessings in life.

It’s well known that an ‘attitude of gratitude’ is an antidote to negative emotions. Studies suggest that keeping a journal of gratitude lists can lower stress levels and create a sense of calm, which is why it is recommended to practice just as you settle down each night.

Keeping a list can help you gain a new perspective on what is important and what you truly appreciate. By noting what you are grateful for regularly, you may gain clarity on what you want more of in your life. For days when thinking positively is especially difficult, you can look back on older lists to remember that you do have great things in your life, always.

Check out this 90second how-to video on gratitude lists:

For more wellness tips, please check out Rutgers UBHC’s Resiliency Video series: