Gratefulness is hard. No one would dare contest that point. All life is inherently selfish! Our primal instincts tell us to fend for ourselves, put in minimal effort, and disregard the well-being of others. This world tells us to always strive for bigger and better. It is all too easy to give in to those tendencies, especially in times of hardship. But some of the happiest times in my life were when I put my self-serving mindest aside and asked God to make me truly thankful for the people, places and things in my life at that moment.

Lately, I have found myself sliding down the spiral of ungratefulness once again, so I compiled a list of things I (and others) can meditate on to inspire a spirit of gratitude. I understand that these do not apply to everyone, and not all of them apply to me, but they can always be replaced with something that does. Get creative!

(The ones with the asterisks indicate my personal favorites.)

1. Jesus' gift of salvation.*

2. Freedom and safety granted me by my country*

3. Clean, weather-appropriate clothing

4. A roof over my head

5. Heating/cooling systems

6. Financial stability

7. Two married parents who love each other and their children*

8. My siblings*

9. My bed

10. Access to clean water*

11. Owning a physical copy of the Bible*

12. My best friend*

13. Graduating high school*

14. Pursuing higher education*

15. Electronic devices and access to connectivity

16. A relatively healthy body

17. My talents, passions, and spiritual gifts*

18. Happy, beautiful memories

19. Electricity in my home

20. My car*

21. Access to food that nourishes my body

22. Hot tea/coffee (ANXIETY-BE-GONE!)

23. My favorite movie

24. Sunny days

25. Rainy days (for acoustic music and contemplation)

26. Sleeping in*

27. The ability to read and write*

28. The ability to speak English

29. Alone time*

30. Laughter

31. My church family

32. Hugs and kisses*

33. Access to hot water*

34. My shower

35. Oxygen

36. Pets

37. Employment

38. Love

39. Lessons learned

40. Access to books

41. Traditions and values

42. The ability to change*

43. The feeling of clean sheets (esp. on freshly shaved and moisturized legs)*

44. Access to period products*

45. Health insurance

46. Life itself

47. My heroes

48. Teachers who care

49. Singing

50. Dancing*

51. Art

52. Imagination

53. Extended family*

54. Music*

55. Nature*

56. Chocolate

57. Hopes, dreams, and aspirations

58. The ability to chase said hopes, dreams, and aspirations*

59. Facetime/Skype*

60. Surprises

61. Modern medicine*

62. Winning

63. Good hair days

64. Free stuff*

65. Individuality

66. 4 seasons*

67. Forgiveness*

68. My passport*

69. My driver's license

70. Generosity

71. Life after death*

72. Spouse/significant other

73. Access to indoor plumbing*

74. Grocery stores

75. The beach

76. My favorite city

77. The postal service

May everyone find something in this small list to cling to in times of hopeless and doubt.

“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”

—Zig Ziglar