I have a bookmark on my browser’s taskbar that says “gratitude.” It links to a Google doc with a list of things I’m thankful for. I don’t write in the doc every day and I try not to guilt myself for not doing so, but I do love keeping a gratitude list.
Here are a few reasons why:
Gratitude deepens my connection with my favorite people.
My friend Greg and I sometimes go for walks around my neighborhood and we’ll play this game. I’ll start by saying one thing I’m grateful for. He’ll listen. Then he’ll say one thing he’s grateful for and I’ll listen. Then back to me. Then him. We keep going ‘til we feel we’re done. We call these “gratitude walks.” Greg’s a pretty deep dude as it is. But when he talks about what he’s grateful for my heart expands and he’s an even deeper dude. It’s amazing how this practice changes the depth of our listening and my appreciation for him.
Gratitude keeps me present.
It’s amazing. When I feel like my mind is in a million places (which happens at least every day), I sometimes try to think of one thing I’m grateful for. If I can focus my attention on that one thing--the fact that I have hands, or that I can read, or that my grandmother is still alive–it totally changes everything.
Gratitude makes me feel better when I fail.
Each month I devote some time to setting goals. I think about what I’d like to have or do or make in the coming weeks and months. And every once in a while I’ll check in with myself to see how I’m doing: am I achieving my goals? Am I even close? And sometimes, if I’m not as far along as I’d like, I feel bad. But then I try and flip it: I think about what I have accomplished. I think: even if I’ve done something then, well, that’s more than nothing. And that something, even it’s small, is worth a little attention. A little gratitude.
Here are a few things on my gratitude list from tonight:
I’m grateful that I...
- Have a wife who is amazing and really beautiful inside and out and the best mirror I know.
- Have comfortable shoes.
- Have an iPhone with unlimited internet access. Amazing.
- Am steadily working in a career that I am creating. Two, actually.
- Get to set my own work hours.
- Can afford to see really cool art like the opera at Union Station last night.
- Have good friends I get to laugh with. A lot.
- Can, thanks to technology, listen to virtually any song I want.
What’s on your gratitude list?
Written by Ethan Sawyer – In addition to being the College Essay Guy, Ethan is a writer, teacher, speaker, and voice actor. He has worked at Elite since 2003 is also the coordinator for the Elite Community Scholars Program, a program very close to his heart. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed in this blog post are Ethan's and don't necessarily reflect those of Elite Educational Institute.