As with all things great, this journalling exercise is surprising in its simplicity.
All you have to do is list 1000 things (as well as people and experiences, of course) that you are grateful for.
Of course it is natural to begin with the “big things” in our lives; our health, our relationships and our careers.
However, if you are anything like the average human being, chances are that these are in various states of dismay. The purpose of this exercise is not to overanalyse the faults in our lives or to compare ourselves (not even to those worse off), but rather to shift our attention to the blessings in our lives and to develop a genuinely optimistic perspective on life. Therefore, when searching your mind for one of the thousand gifts present in your life, you should turn your attention to the many small moments that make up our days.
Wildflowers growing alongside the road.
Your baby nephew’s smile.
Warm, soapy water to soak your hands in as you wash the dishes.
These are not the things that an untrained eye can see. If you are new to this whole gratitude thing, it might take you days, weeks or even months to compile your list of 1000 gifts. And that’s ok. Arguably, it’s even better because the shift in your mindset will be slower and, therefore, lasting.
Regardless, of how long it takes you, the key is to start now; the benefits of gratitude are simply too great to miss out on.
And if you would like to gain a more Christian perspective on gratitude, as well as learn how it can help you to grow in faith, I cannot recommend highly enough Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts: A Dare To Live Fully Right Where You Are. It is written in the most beautiful poetic language that is bound to transform how you view the mundane aspects of your day-to-day life.