My Gratitude List

Dr. Robert Emmons, a psychologist and a professor at the University of California explained in his book, Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, that there are two stages of emotional responses to feeling grateful.

STAGE 1: Gratitude is the acknowledgment of the positive experiences in our life. We declare that life is good and has parts that make it worth living.1 

STAGE 2: Gratitude is understanding that the reason for our positive experiences is, in part, outside the self. Emmons calls this way of thinking, other-directed.1

In other words, gratitude is a process of seeing and processing what we already have — despite the chaos of work, family, and personal struggles. Other-directedness helps us feel more connected to other people and life. 

Perhaps we can reflect on how connected (or disconnected) we felt in the past year, examine why, and cultivate our gratitude practice from there. For those whose year has been challenging, know that it’s okay to pause and say that “feeling and finding gratitude is not easy” because it really isn’t always the case.

Look outward. Focus on the beauty and goodness of the present. Do it at your own pace.

Before the year ends, we’d like to share the things we are thankful for – and in doing so, we hope to set in motion a revitalized outlook of ourselves, of our work, and of everything and everyone we hold close to our hearts.

My Gratitude List

  1. I am grateful for life’s pauses – however long or short – for I was able to find my bearings whenever I felt lost in my own negative emotions. Remember to breathe. 
  2. To all my friends, I am thankful for the energy, openness, and honesty. Special people who empathize with our struggles keep us resilient. May we all forge more strong and meaningful connections in the coming months or years.
  3. My family for whom I see as my true north. Life is nuanced and love for family is complicated. And despite the challenges of the current year, we’re still here. 
  4. I am grateful for the precious moments of balance, centeredness, and clarity. I find these little glimmers of light between times of frustration. I aim to continue weaving through these daily bouts with more fluidity and courage.
  5. To the readers of this blog, thank you. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and share. I am grateful for your time and your insights. I cannot quantify the knowledge and self-discoveries this task has given. May we all rise to more challenges and live purposeful lives.

“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” – Albert Schweitzer



1. Book Review: Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier