20 Gratitude Questions to Spark Your Ideas

If your gratitude thoughts are always the same, try these ideas.

Posted Dec 23, 2019

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Most of us know that gratitude can be a helpful strategy for feeling happier and more resilient against stress, but sometimes it's hard to get beyond the first few ideas we tend to think of. Maybe you find it hard to think past the food truck that parks outside your office, even in the snow, or how much you love your Tesla or your dog. If you're feeling low on creativity and need some inspiration, try these 20 gratitude questions. 

Try turning these questions into a conversation starter as a way of getting to know a friend or family member better. You can also try these with your kids (modify to make age-appropriate) or spouse/partner. Do a few at a time. Come back to any that you can't think of answers for straight away.

1. What are you grateful for about your current life stage? 

For instance, for me, in my late 30s, I'm grateful to be past the early career stage of imposter syndrome and doubting myself. I'm grateful for the things I've learned how to do through experience that are familiar now: e.g., I'm writing my third book currently, and it's a heck of a lot easier doing it for the third time than it was for the first time.

2. What's a hard lesson you were grateful to learn in a mild way? 

Maybe you got a speeding ticket, and it woke you up about your speeding rather than being in a car crash. 

3. What's a relationship in your life that gives you lots of feelings of stability?

Maybe you've got a reasonable boss, or you can always rely on your babysitter.

4. What's an aspect of your personality you're grateful for?

Perhaps you're naturally conscientious or naturally extroverted, and you enjoy those aspects of yourself and/or experience them as making some parts of your life easier.

5. Who is a teacher or mentor whose wise advice you still "channel?"

Do you have a teacher or mentor who shaped you professionally, and you still look back on specific lessons they taught you, or you think about how they would view or cope with a situation?

6. What's an aspect of how you were parented for which you feel grateful?

Perhaps you grew up with a parent who cooked from scratch, and that example has made cooking feel in your repertoire. Or perhaps a parent gave you exposure to nature and helped shape your love of the outdoors.

7. Do you have a friend who gives you good entertainment recommendations?

It's nice to have people in your life who share your interests or tastes and give good recommendations for TV shows, podcasts, music, books, restaurants, etc. Whose recommendations do you rely on?

8. If you have kids, what are you grateful for about parenting your kids at their current age?

Personally, I'm grateful for having a toddler who is still very cuddly, but who is also increasingly independent. I'm also grateful for getting to watch her imagination develop, such as she just started play-acting with her toys and doing paintings and drawings that have a story to them, and it's delightful to hear the stories she comes up with.

9. What's a stressor you're grateful to have put behind you this year?

Maybe you completed a DIY project, graduated school, made a decision about a purchase (e.g., bought a home and no longer need to house hunt), went through a merger at work, transitioned to a new computer system or building at work, moved to a new apartment, helped a family member through a difficult time, etc.

10. Who in your life provides small, friendly interactions that brighten your mood whenever you see them?

Perhaps a coworker, cashier, neighbor, or your doorman is always ready with a smile or wave.

11. Who in your life is always pleased to see you?

This could be your dog, your child when you collect them from daycare, a friend you have an easy relationship with, etc.

12. What's a type of technology that really makes your life easier at work?

For instance, I love working in Google Docs and knowing my computer could die, and I won't lose my work, and that I can always revert to earlier versions of a doc if I mess something up. 

13. What's a type of technology that makes your life easier at home?

This could be your microwave, your robot vacuum, your clothes dryer, etc.

14. What's an item you own that gives you a sense of comfort?

This could be anything from a pair of boots, to your bath, to a piece of cooking equipment that is so well worn that you feel comfort and familiarity every time you use it.

15. What's a safeguard you're grateful for?

For example, it's nice to know that elevators are inspected, and people can safely get in one without fear. Or you might feel grateful for water or emissions standards. 

16. In what way are you grateful for how humans manage to cooperate with each other and share resources or standards?

Sometimes we tend to focus on the ways we squabble with each other, but humans have managed to come together to contribute, share, and reach a consensus on all sorts of things, from highways, to mail delivery (e.g., our system to addresses and zip codes), to systems for delivering electricity.

What type of shared system or resource are you particularly grateful for?

17. What's an aspect of your work that you're grateful for?

Perhaps your work is challenging, or flexible, or stable, or you have nice teammates.

18. What's a decision you didn't think through super thoroughly but turned out great anyway?

For instance, back in 2014, I somewhat rushed into the purchase of my home, but I'm glad I did it. I could've overthought it and talked myself out of it, but for whatever reason, I was less picky about this huge decision than I am about much more minor decisions. Especially over winter, I find myself thinking about how grateful I am for my small, warm house.

19. When was the last time someone was patient with you when you were being a little annoying, and you felt grateful?

Perhaps you asked for a bunch of substitutions when eating at a restaurant, and the staff didn't roll their eyes. Perhaps you asked your co-worker a basic question that you felt embarrassed not knowing yourself, and they didn't make you feel silly. Or perhaps you accidentally drove the wrong way out of a parking lot and caused someone else to need to back up.

20. What's an aspect of your physical health you feel grateful for?

Perhaps you've got good knees, and you're grateful for that, since you use running for stress relief, or perhaps you've got a medication that works well for a condition you have.