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AdolescenceFeelingsMental HealthTeen Activism

The Power of a Gratitude List

By November 14, 2013No Comments

gratitudeIf you’re down in the dumps or having a tough time getting out of an emotional rut, making a gratitude list can help. When things are difficult, it’s not uncommon to focus on the negative, particularly when it feels like “bad” is conspiring against you. Gratitude lists are simple, straightforward, and tremendously helpful.


Grab a notebook, and call it your “book of gratitude,” or whatever name suits you. Commit to writing down three things every day that you are grateful for. It can be anything:


  • Your dog
  • Oreo cookies
  • Laughter
  • Books
  • The sun
  • Wind
  • Your best friend
  • Your mom or dad or both
  • The earth
  • The ocean
  • Your breakfast cereal


See where I’m going with this? A gratitude list doesn’t have to be epic or profound. It just has to contain things, no matter how small, that inspire gratitude.


If you want to kick it up a notch, be of service. Volunteer for an organization you believe in. We sponsor Mutt Match dog adoption events twice a month, and I have to tell you, everyone who volunteers inadvertently begins to feel some gratitude. You can:


  • Volunteer at your local animal shelter
  • Volunteer for an organization you believe in. Check out Do Something for some interesting and inspiring organizations young people can get involved in.
  • Do a beach cleanup. Check out Heal the Bay.
  • Volunteer for a teen helpline or get involved in peer counseling.
  • Check out organizations directly associated with your community: maybe there’s a homeless population that you want to help, or perhaps your local library offers opportunities to read to younger kids.


The options for service and discovering gratitude are vast and endless. Helping others inspires gratitude, and it gets you out of yourself.  Creating a Gratitude list is really the beginning of what can be wonderful opportunities to be of service and feel better about yourself.


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