Thinking About Gratitude


I’ve just finished reading Atlas of Darkness by Kori Hagel and can’t recommend it enough. She writes about her battle with addiction and abuse from which a strong and inspirational woman has risen. The nutritionist and self-care coach documents how she overcame the darkness in a guide on how to find strength and live the life you want. It’s bloody motivational and the sort of thing you’ll keep and re-read when you need it most.

Anyway, one of the things she talks about is how important it is to have rituals of self-care and gratitude. One of the exercises she shares is taking time to list 200 things you’re grateful for – huge things or little moments, it doesn’t matter. The time you take out to think about gratitude – that’s what’s important.

So, here it goes.

(Before I begin, if it interests you, today I am listening to…)

I am grateful for (in no particular order)…

1. Just being able to exist here in the first place

2. Being brought into the world by loving parents

3. Still having those parents around today to guide me

4. Having good health

5. Having met an amazing partner who I know I will spend the rest of my life with

6. The way he is by my side no matter what I decide to do or how I feel

7. Having such a good standard of living in comparison to so many others in the world

8. Clean water

9. Access to free health care

10. Having a roof over my head

11. Charitable organisations

12. To live in a country where art is accessible and funded

13. Music that lifts me up and reminds me to live

14. The fact I can escape to other worlds through books

15. Having the abilities to read / see / hear / talk

16. Living on a planet that is also home to so many amazing species

17. The feeling of warm fire in the winter

18. The sun and the heat (SO grateful for this)

19. The power of the moon

20. Magic

21. Every challenge I’ve ever faced

22. The feeling when you climb to the top of a mountain or hill

23. The smell of the sea

24. The sound of the sea

25. The ability to be curious (I am grateful that I don’t know everything)

26. All the different religions and cultures this world has to offer

27. The fact that no two people are the same

28. Hot tea on a cold day

29. Warm soup and crusty bread

30. The way cats and kittens make my heart melt

31. Laughter

32. Tears

33. The unknown

34. The power of words

35. The ability to learn things

36. The entire universe

37. Fresh flowers

38. Everyone I have ever known or been in a relationship with

39. Trees (trees are epic)

40. The changing seasons and how they keep me on my toes

41. The ability to put one foot in front of the other

42. The ability to run

43. America by Simon and Garfunkel

44. The movie American Beauty

45. The invention of pie

46. The invention of gravy

47. The invention of pancakes

48. The invention of waffles

49. The invention of pizza

50. The invention of Yorkshire puddings

51. A really nice glass of wine

52. The feeling of sipping a cold beer in the middle of the day

53. Remembering that the meaning of life is just to have fun

54. The smell of incense

55. The power of magic

56. Advice

57. My wellies

58. Orgasms

59. White toast with loads and loads of real butter on

60. Being able to turn to my mum for help no matter where she is or what she is doing

61. Candles in the darkness

62. The smell of lavender

63. Jumpers in the winter

64. Sandals in the summer

65. Being able to travel to anywhere in the world easily

66. Lying in bed ’till late at the weekend

67. Long baths

68. Long walks

69. Long conversations with friends who know me better than I know yourself

70. Every single one of my tattoos

71. Every single artist I’ve been tattooed by

72. Bicycles 

73. Pink grapefruit juice

74. Hot chocolate

75. Roses

76. All the different jobs I’ve had

77. All the different mentors I’ve been able to learn from

78. The way life feels different with each year that passes

79. Dumplings

80. Change

81. Moments when I can sit quietly and do nothing

82. The sound of rain outside when you’re inside and dry

83. Snow

84. Poetry

85. Every song by Sheryl Crow

86. Takeaway Chinese food

87. All of the awesome places I’ve travelled to with my partner

88. Our home exactly the way it is

89. My grandma who makes me laugh every time I see her

90. Having a few, close friends

91. Being unique

92. Having grown into a person who would never do something just because everyone else is

93. Art

94. The fact that art can’t be constrained or defined

95. The fact that every single person in the world is different

96. The ability to wear what I want

97. The ability to do whatever I want with my hair

98. The ability to do whatever I want with my body

99. Being a woman

100. My vagina

101. My boobs

102. Being given the ability to create actual life inside me

103. Being able to pick up a computer and have a voice or opinion on something at any time

104. Fields and open spaces

105. The colours of autumn

106. Nice socks

107. People who make me laugh

108. People who pick me up when I am down

109. People who have pushed me

110. People who have challenged me

111. People who have doubted me

112. People who have loved me

113. Meditation

114. Yoga

115. Having a body and not being afraid to use it

116. Having heard my favourite bands play live

117. How just one lyric or quote can change your life

118. Strong people in the world who stood up for our human rights when others didn’t

119. Long, open roads

120. Fresh countryside air

121. Coffee

122. Every time I have gotten lost

123. Every time I found my way again

124. Pajamas 

125. Early nights

126. Living in a quiet corner of the world

127. The sound of birds

128. The woodpecker that says hello at the same time each morning

129. The robin that repeatedly hangs out in my garden (but has never even touched the seeds)

130. The fact that stuff can grow from nothing

131. Hand-made and home-made things

132. Things that take time

133. The teacher in school who told me I’d be a famous writer

134. The teacher in college who told me he loved teaching me (you made me want to learn)

135. Acoustic music

136. Every single part of my body

137. Roast potatoes

138. The power to create and make stuff

139. Me, myself and the person I have become as the years have passed

140. The invention of the British pub

141. Believing in something or someone bigger than myself

142. Being able to find faith in something or someone bigger than myself

143. Being able to talk and pray to something or someone bigger than myself

144. Being able to accept guidance from something or someone bigger than myself

145. Being friends with other people who also believe in something or someone bigger than themselves

146. Beautiful historical architecture (churches, temples, cathedrals, etc.)

147. The power of people

148. The power of other women

149. The power of youth and children

150. The smell of eucalyptus

151. The smell of teatree

152. The smell of freshly washed clothes

153. A bed that’s just had its sheets changed

154. Questions

155. The fact that not all questions can be answered

156. The fact that I’m associated with other people who agree that not all questions can be answered

157. How I was raised

158. My parents’ divorce and therefore having an extended family 

159. Dreams

160. Real paper maps

161. Surprises

162. All the compliments I’ve ever received (I should be grateful for those more than I am)

163. How it feels when you look up at clouds

164. Every time I’ve been rejected

165. Every time I’ve been accepted

166. All the people in the world who care about animals and their welfare

167. All the people in the world who care about the environment

168. All the people in the world who care about the countryside

169. Penguins (they make me smile)

170. Fresh mint tea

171. My typewriter

172. Polaroid cameras

173. Saunas

174. William Shakespeare

175. The fun memories I’ve had with close friends

176. The flavour of coconut

177. Pencils, pens, paper and paints

178. Ancient and modern philosophers and their words that have stood the test of time

179. The taste of honey

180. Fairy lights

181. The variety of plant species

182. Every single person that works or has worked for the NHS

183. Cacti

184. My hot water bottle

185. Living in a safe area

186. Every time someone has given me the benefit of the doubt

187. Anyone who has ever cooked for me or invited me into their house

188. Every single present I’ve ever received

189. Every single time someone has done me a favour

190. Selfless people

191. Charitable people

192. Having a voice

193. All the different varieties of food

194. Independent businesses

195. Creative people

196. The sound of spring

197. Good childhood memories

198. The smell of pastries and cakes that have just been baked

199. Communication and dialogue

200. Time

Epilogue. That was easier than I thought!

Both my mum and my brother informed me of typos today so I’d like to add…

201. People who take the time out to engage with my writing

202. People who make me aware of my mistakes!

It’s also interesting going back over the list and noticing things that I clearly am not that grateful for or bothered about: money, my university education, my car, my clothes, my TV, technology, my mobile phone or any of the apps I use daily.

Definitely a great exercise for seeing which things you are most thankful for, which things make you the happiest and therefore which things you should be focusing on most in your life.