Gratitude - the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. The state of being grateful.
Gratitude List Directions: Come up with at least one thing that you are grateful for under each category. If using telehealth participants can use separate list on paper
Family/Loved Ones - Meaningful relationships and relatives
Friends and Others - Things about other people you are grateful for outside of your family
Self - Things about you (Qualities, strengths, experiences, achievements, etc.)
The Big Picture – Things you are grateful for in the bigger world outside of you and your immediate view
The Small Stuff - Little things that may seem insignificant, but you are still grateful for them
Life in General – Why are you grateful to be alive?
Activities/Actions – What things are you grateful for that you are able to do?
Future – Things potentially in your future you are grateful to look forward to
Past Experiences – Things you have done or experienced that you are grateful for
Current – Things in your life today you are grateful for right now at this current time, right now.
Gifts – Things others have given you, done for you, taught you, shared with you, that you are grateful for
Knowledge and Insight – Things that you are grateful to know and understand
Other – Come up with one more thing that has not been mentioned yet
Discuss your gratitude lists as a group
Strategies for Increasing Gratitude
Turn on your “gratitude radar” – Look for gratitude wherever you can find it. Let yourself be attuned to it – search for it – find it – “Stop and smell the roses” in life – You will be happier as you are more grateful
Flip the script on the negative – Reframe negatives to consider the bright side – Some examples:
“I got flat tire today- At least I didn’t get a blowout and crash my car”
“I failed a test – At least I have a chance next test to study harder and improve my grade”
“My girlfriend/boyfriend broke up with me – At least I know I will find someone else someday who may be even better”
“I lost my job – Maybe this is a doorway to an even better opportunity for me”
“I relapsed – Still, if I face it honestly, I can learn from this and be even more prepared in the future”
Daily Gratitude list- Start or end each day either writing or speaking out loud 5 things that you are grateful for each and every day – This is time tested and works for increasing gratitude
Don’t compare, but if you do - Compare down, not up - “Comparison is the thief of joy,” is a saying attributed to President Theodore Roosevelt and others, which can be very thought provoking and can instill a strong sense of gratitude. If we compare ourselves to others, we may be left with feelings of inferiority or superiority, both of which are unhealthy and have the potential to block feelings of gratitude. Instead avoid comparison altogether whenever possible. If you can’t help comparing, then think about the many people in this world who may have it worse than you – Some examples below -
Involved with Drug Court? – Rather than comparing yourself with people who have no legal charges, compare you life with what it would be like to have to serve the years in prison you may have been facing had you not been accepted into the Drug Court program
Addicted? – Don’t compare with people who can use socially – Think about the person who is at their bottom and how much better you are today even if you are still struggling. That person may even have been you. Think about how much better you have it now
Poor/broke or unemployed? – That is stressful but imagine what it’s like to live in a refugee camp or a country where people struggle daily just for clean water or a bowl of rice to eat. Think of the potential opportunities awaiting you in life if you do not give up
Never forget the basic building blocks of human gratitude – As long as you are breathing, you have hope to get better – It can always be worse – If you are alive then each day is a blessing and an opportunity to change for the better and build the life you deserve, even if its little by little, each day matters. Hope can sustain you if you keep it alive in your heart and mind.
Ø Surround yourself with positive, hopeful, and grateful people - Avoiding negative, critical, complaining, and self-destructive people can drain you of your sense of gratitude