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Gratitude Lists Make Me Feel Guilty. Here's What I Do Instead.

Making a list of things you’re grateful for every day seems like a wonderful idea, and I can understand how it helps some people feel better.

However, I often find it makes me feel guilty for not feeling better despite these positive aspects. Or even worse, sometimes it’s difficult to think of things to write down, which makes me feel even worse when I know that, in reality, I have so much to be grateful for.

Also, gratitude lists sometimes make me uncomfortable. It feels like I’m just telling myself off for not feeling as good as I should because of all the things I “should” be grateful for.

So, I gave up on them.

Instead, I write what I call “surprise lists.”

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With “surprise lists,” the goal is to think of things that surprised you throughout the day. It could be the tiniest thing. For example, today I learnt that the Great Barrier Reef is thought to be 500,000 years old. It could be something even smaller, like discovering a new food you like or seeing a new type of bird out your window. Then, you write it down so you can hold onto the little spark of intrigue it gave you.

Sometimes, it’s the little things that give you a small lift and spark interest. Gratitude lists can be very helpful, but my “surprise lists” have reminded me there’s still so much I don’t know, and still a lot of room for me to grow.

Keep being surprised, and you’ll soon find yourself looking for things to be surprised by, which might give you more to look forward to.

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