48 things to be grateful for when you need to shift your focus




Living life on a mission of fulfilling one crazy dream at a time is a wonderfully challenging and fulfilling way to live. The more dreams you realize, the more you’ll understand what I mean. In the midst of awesomeness – do you ever pause and think about how amazing your life is?

On the other side, making dreams come true will inevitably and simultaneously lead you into a road of defeat, challenges, obstacles and failures. It’s part of the game! So no matter if you’re on a streak of success or you’re in troubled water – there’s one thing that will always be your friend. Gratitude.

Gratitude is a way of life.

Personally, I’ve found so much encouragement, happiness and love from focusing on what I’m grateful for rather than what I don’t have. I ain’t saying it’s easy. Actually, it’s tough as hell sometimes. But it is possible, and you’ll find great results!

Here’s what I do to keep gratitude fresh:

  • Write gratitude tweets like the ones above to help focus on the good stuff
  • Take Instagram photos of things, places and people who make life joyful and bright
  • Try to shift a setback or challenge into something positive
  • Refer to the list of 48 things to be grateful for when nothing else comes to mind (see below)



48 things to be grateful for


Everything is possible

I’ll tell you a little secret, except it’s not secret at all: There are no limitations on how you can live your life. EVERYTHING. IS. POSSIBLE. Now, if that’s not something to be grateful for (every day!), then we need to have a serious talk.

Dreams in the making

Are a girl on a mission? Are you making conscious choices and living the life you want to live? Are you on your way to dream come true? Be grateful for the path you’re on, the joy it gives you and the hope you’re experiencing.

Dreams come true

Even better! Make a list of all the dreams you’ve had that you made come true! This list will be the ultimate inspiration list to achieve even more and bigger goals.

Being able to help others

Be grateful when you find yourself in a position to help others, because it means you are abundant. Think of it this way: You are so plentiful, you are filled to the brim, you have more to give! It’s a wonderful situation to be in, and think about how you are making an impact on someone else’s life.


Familiy is familiy, and no matter if you’re close or not – think about what your family members actually mean to you. It’s well worth your time to take a few moments and appreaciate all the good things about your family. Bonus points if you call your mum and thank her for everything she has ever done for you !


It’s easy to be grateful for good friends. Do you remember to tell them too? For your own sake, it can be really nice to write a list of all your friends and a little note on what about each one you’re grateful for.

Being thought of

“I’ll think about you,” she said while I was standing on her doorstep, tears flowing down my cheeks. Being thought of, especiall during hard times, really means a lot, and to this day, I am so grateful for those four words she said before I left. Is anyone thinking of you right now? Maybe someone is worried about you? Or just really care? (Or maybe someone is deeply in love and can’t stop thinking about you!?) Time to add it to your list of wonderful things to be grateful for.

Moments with strangers

Sometimes a shared moment with a stranger makes your day really special. It’s when you see something funny and realize the person next to you on the bus saw the same thing and is trying to keep his laughter in. You eyes meet for a second, and suddenly you’re both laughing out loud. He’s getting off at the next stop and you’ll probably never see each other again, but that moment probably made both of your days. That moment – be grateful for it. Just thinking about it will make you smile.

Your strength

You are probably stronger than you think! Being grateful for what you have achieved, endured and lived through can only lead to good things. Take a moment and appreciate what you’re good at, how well you manage. Well done!

Good health

Health is the most imporant thing, and yet we often take our good health for granted. Even if you’re not in perfect health at the moment, it is possible to be grateful for what you have, when you feel better, that it ain’t worse.


It’s easy to be grateful when a wonderful opportunity opens up, but gratitude can also work the other way around. Be grateful for opportunities and look back at the last few days. What kind of opportunities were you given? Does something strike you as a great opportunity now that you didn’t immediately realize then? For example – invites, requests, demands of attention, changes of plans might look more like an opportunity now than it did when you were first presented for it.

The place you were born

Chances are, if you’re reading this right now, that you live in a well-developed and modern country. It’s so easy to take this for granted! Personally, I’m lucky to be living in one of the richest countries in the world (thank you, oil), and I very often take that for granted. Think about all the benefits of living where you do – do you have great health care, universities, media industry or sunshiny warm weather? Do you have the best food tradition, holiday locations or job opportunities? Even if you don’t have it all – appreciate what you’ve got!

Your job

In uncertain times, you can be grateful for your job. Even if you don’t like what you’re doing, or you’re paid next-to-nothing, there are always things to be grateful for: the best boss, co-workers, work-time or the prettiest view from the office. You have wonderful customers or clients, great opportunities or are you just lucky to have a job at all? There are positive sides and lots of gratitude potential in your job!

Your wealth

Food on the table, money to spare, money in the bank, enough to come by, 5 dollars for a magazine, a small side-income, making money doing your thing – rather than focusing on what you’re lacking – focus on what you’ve got.

Great conversations

This is one of my favourites. I really, truly, deeply, appreciate a good and interesting conversation. When was the last time you had one?


Most people fear change. This is where you use gratitude to really help you through. It’s so easy to find ways that change will be bad, but take five minutes and think about what you appreaciate with the changes you’re facing. Can you find room for being grateful for change too?

Health care

I’m really grateful for all the help I’ve ever received (and am still receving) from all the wonderful people who make it their mission to help and care for others. Instead of feeling bad about your illness and hurt, focus on your gratitude. I’m sometimes amazed at how wonderful it is that us human beings take care of each other in this way.

Help from others

Up the same alley, has anyone helped you today? People interact and help each other every day, so chances are that you’ve received help in any way. Look out for help in disguise! People might be trying to help even if you don’t realize it right there and then.

Fresh starts

If you’ve ever been given a second chance, you know what I’m talking about here. Fresh starts, new chances and big life changes are wonderful and easy to appreciate. However, have you ever thought about that every single day is a fresh start? I am grateful for this day.

Good food

Food on the table is a basic human need and if you’ve never starved – easy to take for granted. I’m not saying you have to be grateful for food just because you have it and others don’t (although you should seriously consider it), but how about being grateful for a wonderful and tasty meal? Sometimes I’m so grateful for chocolate it feels like I’m going to explode with joy!


You can always be grateful for inspiration. I’m willing to bet that you find a lot of inspiration around you to be grateful for if you look a little closer! For example, I’m very grateful for really inspiring blogs, books, poetry, and photography that inspires me every day. Which inspiration sources are you grateful for right now?


Let’s be grateful for smiles together! Smiles from a stranger, a loved one or in a photo – smiling is contageous! Be greateful for the smiles others gift you with, and be grateful for your own ability to smile and spread love and happiness.


If you’re fortunate enough to receive a good education, this is something you can be grateful for. How about thanking your teachers and professors, your parents if they pay for your college or be grateful for your own intelligence and ability to learn.


Synchronicity is when you’ve just decided pursue a career and then immediately meet someone who is willing to be your mentor. Synchronicity is when you’ve decided to use the colour green to brand your business and you suddenly is surrounded by green everywhere. Synchronicity is when you think about a friend and then suddenly your friend calls! It’s the most wonderful thing in the world, and if something like this has happened to you lately – be grateful for it because it doesn’t happen all that often!

Shared or aquired wisdom

Sometimes people share their wisdom without even noticing, so be on the lookout for shared wisdom in disguise. In addition, people often deliberately want to share their wisdom because they care about you! It’s a nice thing to be greateful – give thanks – and to look at each little piece of wisdom as a blessing. Aquired wisdom is when you suddenly realize something, make a connection or learn from your mistakes. Be greateful for your own insight, your knowledge and your wisdom!

Painful lessons

Some of life’s lessons are inevitably going to be painful. However, I often find that the harder the lesson – the more potential for growth it represents. Being grateful for life’s hard lessons, for the pain and the suffering – because it will help you grow – is a really nice way to turn something bad into something good.

A great book

Getting lost in a really good novel, or diving into a great non-fiction read is a wonderful feeling. The next time you sit down to read, send a little thought of gratitude to the author of the book, and be grateful for the book itself. Sometimes it amazes me how words on paper can bring me so much joy!

Great music

For the same reasons as above, music has the power to transform your mood and nothing is better than some music to dance to while you do your chores! The next time you enjoy listening to music, send a little thought of thanks to the musicians, the song-writers, the producers and the artist. Appreciating the people who contribute to make magical music will make you feel good as well.


The next time you appreciate a work of art, focus your gratitude towards what the artwork gives you. Inspiration? Motivation? A sense of belonging? Do you feel anger? Disgust even? Focus on how the work of art makes you feel and focus your gratitude on the artworks ability to move you. Most of all, I feel grateful when I come upon a work of art that calms me down, but I’m working on that sense of gratitude for other kinds of art too.

The small things

The magic really is in the small things. That’s why I tend to focus on these when I do my gratitude tweets. A tasty treat, a cup of tea, sunshine through my window, a small moment of joy – all are really small things that give me tremendous amounts of happiness.


If are lucky enough to have a pet, you know how much joy and company it brings. I think everyone who has a cat, dog, horse or turtle (oh yes!) feels that their pet is the best one in the world – and it is! So, if you’re feeling low, tired or depressed, just be grateful for the moments when your dog greets you at the door, when your cat sneak up against you to cuddle or when your turtle smiles (apparently they do!).


Connections are wonderful to include in your gratitude practice. The really strong connections you have with the people closest to you – or a shared smile with a stranger on the bus. All connections are sacred and mean so much to us. Take a moment to think back on the connections you’ve made the last day. Grateful?


Most people automatically give thanks when they recognize kindness in other people. So there are two more ways to be grateful for kindness: You can try to recognize it more, which means to actively be on the lookout. Can someone’s action be interpreted in a way that means they are actually trying to be kind? For example, that person who uses ages to order in a coffeeshop might actually be buying coffee to all of his friends. Or your flatmate who never cleans might be the too busy taking care of the people around her.

The other way you can be greateful for kindness is to do it consciously, not automatically. Look at how many times during one day you say “thanks”. How many of those times do you really mean it? How do you think it would make you feel if you managed to do it consciously every time? I’m willing to bet it would give you a lot of smiles and happiness.

Insight and clarity

You know when you look back at something that has been bothering you and suddenly see it in a different light? Or when you manage to make a really good decision in the middle of chaos? Add it to your grateful list and let the happiness you get from it grow!


Looking at things in perspective is another one of life’s blessings. And it’s so much easier in hindsight than in the moment! Be greateful when you manage to look at a situation differently, from another persons point of view or you see consequences for different actions. Seeing things from another person’s perspecitve is often painful and hard, and it will often make us grow as human beings. Being able to feel gratitude when looking at a time when you experienced painful growth will double it!


So easy to overlook, but so so fundamental. Be grateful for being alive!


Free time, an open calendar, time off, fun times – be grateful for the time you have to do what you love. Even if you are super-busy, do you have the time of your life? Add it to your grateful list for an instant positive mood-booster.


No need to explain this one, I just want to remind you to be grateful for all the beauty in your life. So easy to include in your daily grateful list!


If you live in country with only 6 hours (or less) of daylight in the winter (like me), you’ll learn to appreciate the daylight when you have it. What are you grateful for right now that you wish you could have more of?


If you’re lacking of things in your present to be grateful for (look harder, dear!), look to your past. Focus on those good memories that make you smile!

Good service

… is often taken for granted, as we tend to focus on the times when we receive our coffees from the really grumpy barista, not the nice one who remember your daily order. How about thanking the staff next time you receive good service?


No explanation needed here, just want to remind you that gifts come in a lot of different ways.


Be thankful for the times when you can’t hold it in, when you just want to create, create, create. God a new creative idea? Add it to your list of things to be grateful for!

Your special talents

Can you remember almost any number combination? Do you write the most sparkly application letters? Or can you balance three grapes on your nose while singing a song? (lucky you!) Be grateful for your special talents, the cherry on top of the cake of you!

A good cup of coffee or tea

Well, I know I included this in the list of the small things, but a good cup of anything hot usually sneaks in on most of my grateful lists. Lavender earl grey latte, coffee with milk, red berry rooibos – I’m bursting with gratefullness for the ease it gives me. How about you?


It’s to the end of the list, but it’s not because it isn’t important! Love in any form – just the thought of it will make you smile. I think there’s nothing in the world that makes me more grateful than the love I’m feeling from the people around me, and the love I’m giving in return. Are you experiencing love? Big life-changing-, deep mother-daughter-, or instant take-out-the-fire-exstinguisher-LOVE: I’m willing to bet that love is part of the solution to the meaning-of-life riddle.


Look out for generosity and be grateful for the people who are! Generosity comes in a number of ways, people can for example be generous with their time, attention, help, advice or money. It’s easy to remember to be grateful when money and things are involved, but remember to keep an eye out for other kinds of generosity too.

Having something to look forward to

Last, but not least (as this list is not in any order), be grateful for the things you are looking forward to in your life right now. Are you planning a journey, starting something new or are you just looking forward to your friends birthday party? Thinking about something great that will happen in the future is an instant way to feeling good right now. Think about it this way; being grateful for something in the future now will double the fun!

What are you grateful for right now?



{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Rebecca January 9, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Thank you so much for this post! It is so easy to overlook all of the amazing things that we have to be grateful for every single day. It is wonderful to be able to reflect on how blessed and lucky we are with everyone and everything we have :)


barbara January 9, 2012 at 8:11 pm

thankyou Marthe, this is just what i needed today, will be coming back when needed! :-)


Siobhan /Facets of the Fabulous January 9, 2012 at 9:21 pm

This post has invigorated me! Beautifully put, this post should be an letterpress print,whenever anyone feels down on life, read this and feel such delight for existance!


Petrea January 9, 2012 at 11:00 pm

I am truly grateful to find your post today. I will be referring to it often as its very inspiring. I think I may even make a poster of it for myself. I like the gratitude tweets!


gina January 9, 2012 at 11:27 pm

Wow, look at all we can be grateful for? whoohoo!
I’ve recently been so grateful for my life…I look at what I’m doing and I just say, wow, how amazing is this!!
thank you!


Carrie January 10, 2012 at 3:12 am

Thank you for this wonderful list! I love the idea of gratitude tweets. While I know, intellectually, all experiences are necessary for freedom and growth, gratitude helps shift our perspective while keeping our heart open. Ohhh how I needed your post today. Thank you:)


Rach // In Spaces Between January 10, 2012 at 7:58 am

Brilliant as always! x


Caroline January 10, 2012 at 11:38 am

this is wonderful Marthe, thanks!! I have a gratitude journal on my nighttable in which I try to write down(almost) every day what I was grateful for that day… Does any of you know the movie ‘HappyThankYouMorePlease’? It is a wonderful movie I can recommend to everyone, about gratitude, love and worthiness (in an aerie way)… a great quote from the movie (roughly repeated) ‘gratitude is the key to your life, say thank you all the time, and after you say thank you, say more please… with gratitude, the universe is eternally abundant’
have a wonderful day.. Amsterdam is sunny to day and I am sooo grateful for that :-) x


alex January 10, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Thank you for making me realize how beautiful life is in itself.


Ellie Di January 11, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Wonderful list! I do a weekly gratitude practice that is absolutely wonderful. You don’t think about a lot of the things in your life that are going right; we tend to focus so strongly on what’s going wrong instead. Any sort of gratitude practice helps keep you grounded.


abby January 11, 2012 at 4:17 pm

This is such a refreshing list. I am working on writing at least 5 lines of gratitude a day for the entire year and you’ve reminded me that even the small things, or things we take for granted are worth noting.


Jo January 11, 2012 at 9:28 pm

Thank you for the 48 list – awesome reminders that I’ll carry with me.

A few years ago a friend and I had a gratitude practice of e-mailing each other our little gratitudes for the day. It brought us closer and was such a beautiful way to end the day.

Today I am grateful for my health and my ability to overcome whatever challenges that have been thrown my way.


Mary January 11, 2012 at 11:51 pm

Lovely post, grateful for reading this, ’tis just what the doctor ordered :) Thanks


kathryn January 13, 2012 at 6:20 pm

it’s Friday…pay day..and just gorgeous out!!!!

i write out 5 gratitudes every morning..it’s not always easy but it really has changed my life in many ways!!


Teddi January 29, 2012 at 4:03 am

Somedays I have to spend the time being grateful for what i DON’T have! (I don’t have to live in my car. I don’t have to be fearful. I don’t have one leg or no legs, etc.)


Melinda February 4, 2012 at 4:39 am

Thank you for this post! As someone who considers themselves to be a grateful person, in the midst of a semi-slump this week, these were very inspirational words to read. It gave me a great reminder of how lucky I am. There are so many things past, present, and future to be grateful for.


Mary's Pastry Lab February 4, 2012 at 8:12 pm

i’m grateful for having found what I really want to do with my life and being aligned positively in some other aspects of my life. and of course for finding this writing from you – it reminds me of all the things again :)


karen December 3, 2012 at 4:36 pm

I am so grateful to have found this post, it truly gave me insight and reasons to know how blessed I am. It’s so very easy to loose sight of how fortunate we are and you are so right in all the points you’ve listed. We are so fortunate here that we overlook those ‘basic’ things that are true blessings! I am grateful


Tom Bradley December 24, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Thanks so much for this post, Marthe…I’m going through a difficult breakup and am feeling far too sorry for myself…after reading your post, I’ve started writing a gratitude diary…you’re right that it’s not easy, but I’m hopeful that it will help in the long run…I’m grateful to have found your advice!!! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year


Daniela April 3, 2013 at 6:11 pm

The lyrics to this song always lift me up and put me in a grateful place…

‘Reasons’ – Minnie Riperton

The reasons for my life are in a million faces
Like aching promises I feel them in my bones
Slipping through my fingers to dance upon the road
The reasons for my life are more than I can hold

But oh, the sweet delight to sing with all my might
To spark the inner light of wonder burning bright
You’re not alone
You’re not alone

The reasons for my life are buried in deep places
Words once could awaken them
these seeds that I have sown
Ringing through the madness to crash against the cold
The reasons for my life cannot be bought or sold

The reasons for my life are filling all my spaces
Like rushing waters flow, they carry me along
Twisting through my memory to pull free from the load
The reasons for my life are more than I was told


Marthe April 3, 2013 at 7:45 pm



Melanie April 7, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Thank you for sharing this list!!! Sometimes we forget those little things that makes us happy!!
Im so grateful and im so privileged to be able to do this every day!!!


michelle May 2, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Indeed.. Thanks for list!.. My day today is a good day! ^__^
-Think of one thing to be grateful also..Read here http://www.thethrillionaire.com/blog/think-of-one-thing-to-be-grateful-about-today/ – great blog!


Alex October 8, 2013 at 1:26 am

Thanks beautiful, great list!


Tushar Joneja October 23, 2013 at 7:40 pm

Marthe, I started reading the post and halfway down, I was filled with a deep sense of gratitude of just things that happened to me today, which is really saying something of its effectiveness.

I’m grateful to you for making my day little brighter with your words.

Thank you :)


Justus Maritim February 15, 2014 at 5:28 am

I am greatly blessed. Going to practise n extend the same teachings to fmly, relatives, community and friends…Thanks!


Ginette September 23, 2014 at 6:47 am

Great post! I enjoyed reading it.


vidya January 18, 2015 at 11:22 am

Great. I am grateful to read this. Thank you.


Joanna Glade November 25, 2015 at 11:58 pm

I am grateful for so many things. My sister and I text each other 3 things each that we are grateful for. Right now, we are doing the alphabet and just did the letter K today.

For today, I will say that I am grateful for kindnesses, kittens, and knowledge. For the Thanksgiving holiday, I will add family, friends, the wonderful holiday season, fall, winter and staying cozy and warm.


Keta Pretorius January 16, 2016 at 7:53 am

I am searching for just ONE person to give me ONE good reason why I should be grateful for being alive.

How can anyone tell anyone what to be grateful for? Just because one person is grateful for being alive, does it therefore follow that ALL people must be grateful for being alive? What if people are not grateful for being alive, or don’t want to be grateful for anything?

The only thing I am grateful for is that one day I will not be alive anymore. Who in their right mind actually enjoys being alive? And who in their right mind is grateful for something they don’t want? It just does not make sense to me.

I just thought i’d share my own thoughts about life.


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