How to be Awesomely Thankful

How to be Awesomely Thankful

Recently, a reader asked me about my Abundant Mama abundance practice and how I’ve been able to sustain a daily gratitude journaling for more than seven years.

What’s in it? What should she write? Can I share pictures?

What are your secrets, Shawn? :)

Not every day can be great. Not as a parent. Not as a human being. Like you, I’ve had many times of difficult moments. Times when I felt left out. Times when I felt like I have no one in my life to really count on. Times when really bad things happen. Times of illnesses. Times of really difficult behavior challenges with the kids.

It’s not easy to be thankful when your day just feels plain awful.

But it is possible. I’ve been doing this practice for nearly two years. It has been life changing and I couldn’t imagine going to sleep each night without first saying thanks for all the blessings in my life.

To begin, we always just start with five things — any things.

But as time goes on, you can add in this and that to make it more fun and interesting.

life long gratitude


Here are 5 Gratitude Journaling Prompts to use every day.

Here’s some prompts to spark your own gratitude practice:

1. Thank your body. Unless you’ve died, you still have plenty of reason to be thankful for your health. Even when something is wrong, there’s plenty that is still right. Being thankful for being alive is the single most important way to find gratitude during the hardest days. What is working well on your body today?

2. Thank the world around you. When times are really hard, I can always step outside and be grateful for something in nature. The sun shining. The moon rising. The rain quenching the earth. Birds chirping. Grass under my feet. What amazes you that’s outside your own web of life?

3. Thank what makes you happy. All things I write about seem to circle back to having happy days, and making memories. That’s right. Knowing that you are going to write in your journal is really a great way to practice making memories. Find the simple pleasures in life and do them each day. What makes you feel joy? What makes you happy? What brings you comfort? What makes you smile?

4. Thank the kids. Of course, there’s always something wonderful and amazing about the kids. I write one line each about our daughters and what they’ve done to amaze me each day. Even when they’ve been in terrible state of minds, I write something good about them. It brings it all into perspective for me and our life together. It helps me see the big picture of where this is all going. What do you want to remember of your child today? What’s her talent? What’s his passion? What’s a quirky behavior that you can turn into a positive? What moment do you not want to forget that happened today? Be thankful for those moments because they are the most fleeting.

5.  Thank the good stuff. Finally, of course, you must write about the good things that happen to you and to those you love. And, the longer your keep this journal, the longer this part of the list becomes. Trust me. It’s true. What good luck did you have today? What blessings fell upon your lap? Did you land that big project? Meet a deadline? What did you do that was amazing and worth remembering? Be thankful for the goodness you helped bring to yourself and to your family.

Go even deeper into your gratitude practice in the Abundant Mama Online Program! Learn more HERE. 

19 Responses to How to be Awesomely Thankful

  1. This simple act of gratitude gives fuel to my day and my future. I was taught that out of everything bad (challenging), comes something good (a blessing) IF you are willing to look for it.

  2. This is really beautiful. Each one of your suggestions is so powerful. You reminded me that I already do some of these positive practices, but also enlightened me on some new ones. Being thankful/expressing gratitude really changes my whole perspective on the day's events. It helps me slow down and cherish the simple things that make life worth living.

    Speaking of thankful, I am thankful you are well. It sounds like you were very sick and I am sure that must have been a scary time for you and your family. It is a blessing to have your beautiful messages coming through my inbox again. Much love.


  3. This has become a big part of the end of my day. I really appreciate this post to help me dig deeper. Thank you, Shawn! You're a real inspiration.

  4. When I was growing up my mother taught me to thank my food before I ate. She grew up on a farm ( I spent my summers there until I was 15). She taught us to slow down and think about the sun that gave the plant foosd to grow

  5. Gorgeous Shawn. You are so inspiring.

    I am thankful for a lot…I am thankful my daughter is so kind and so fun-spirited. Even when she is feeling poorly, she still manages to make her mum smile. I am thankful for the constant movement in my belly that reminds me I am soon to receive another beautiful life. I am thankful for my supportive and loving husband, who never seems to falter. I am thankful for all my gorgeous and supportive friends and family, who do so much for me and make my life so positive. I am thankful for the opportunity to swim twice a week as it allows me to function. I am thankful my clear mind and full heart.

    Zanni, Heart Mama xx.

  6. That quote by Meister Eckhart is one of my favorites. I think of it often.

    I started a gratitude journal with my children 2 years ago when a house on our street burned to the ground. The children were so upset by it that they couldn’t sleep well. We journaled at dinner time. For weeks, all they could say was they were glad no one was hurt (that was the first thing I had said). After a month or so, they started saying they were thankful for their friends, their toys, or something specific that happened that day. I am so glad that we write in our little journal as a family as it makes me remember what I’m grateful for, to.

  7. Shawn, these are great tips on how to keep a more meaningful gratitude journal; thank you! Makes me think of a proverb that I like: “Instead of complaining that the rose bush is full of thorns, be happy the thorn bush has roses.” Wishing you a very speedy recovery!

    – Warren

  8. I did my gratitude journal while in vacation abroad. I needed to do it because there were too many things in the resort that did not meet our expectations. It was amazing all the blessings I could notice and how enjoyable days we had because of this. Now we will have great memories forever. I kept telling myself that we couldn't have it all but he have more than we need. Thanks a lot!!!

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Shawn Fink - Abundant MamaFrom Our Founder

I created The Abundant Mama Project to inspire overwhelmed, busy mothers to slow down and let go of the worries and concerns that are holding them back from experiencing joyful motherhood. Read More »
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