• 500 Things To Be Grateful For Today
    Mindfulness,  Self Love

    500 Things To Be Grateful For Today

    In this article, discover 500 things to be grateful for today. For easy reading, these 500 list items have been divided into 15 categories. Use this list to help you develop your own gratitude practice and remind you that while life may not be perfect, there’s still a lot of really wonderful things in this world to feel grateful for.

    500 Things To Be Grateful For Today
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    Finding Gratitude

    Embracing gratitude is the practice of expressing sincere appreciation for your daily miracles. But these daily miracles aren’t necessarily “really big” things. Often, it’s the normal, everyday experiences of our lives that provide us with the biggest reasons to express our gratitude:

    Having a safe, warm home to live in. Being loved and appreciated by family and friends. Possessing a strong heart and healthy lungs. Your first sip of coffee in the morning. The ability to open your eyes and greet a brand new day.

    Every morning, I write down at least three things I’m grateful for that day. However, in this practice, I find myself often writing down the same things week after week. And while there’s nothing wrong with this, I wanted to see if I could come up with a longer list of people, places, things, and experiences to feel truly grateful for in my life.

    Below, you’ll find 500 things to be grateful for today. I’ve separated these list items into subtopics such as Body, People & Relationships, Past Experiences, and Nature. However, you’ll find that many of these list items can fit under multiple categories.

    Whether you have an ongoing gratitude practice or are starting a new one, I hope that this list of 500 things to be grateful for today helps you to view your life from a perspective of true abundance: seeing it for all that you have rather than all that you lack.

    Not all list items will apply to you, and that’s okay. They may still help you to spur new thoughts and ideas about things you feel grateful for in your life. Because while 500 things to be grateful for may seem like a lot, it’s actually just barely skimming the surface of all there is in this world to appreciate. (For instance, after I finished the list, I realized I didn’t include very much about your job and career!)

    And finally, no matter what’s going on in your life, I hope you remember that expressing gratitude doesn’t mean you have to ignore the your heavy emotions or suppress any frustration you may feel in this moment.

    Rather, it’s an opportunity to take a deep breath and acknowledge that even when life isn’t perfect, there’s still a lot of really beautiful things in this world to feel grateful for.

    500 Things To Be Grateful For Today


    • Healthy lungs for breathing
    • A strong heart
    • Eyes that give you vision to see the world
    • Ears to hear music and laughter
    • A nose to smell flowers and freshly baked cookies
    • A tongue (and taste buds!) to taste your favorite foods
    • Lips to kiss your partner, your children, or your pets
    • A functioning brain for thinking, problem-solving, and all-around living
    • Healthy legs for walking, running, and dancing
    • Arms for hugging the people you love
    • Hands and fingers that allow you write, draw, and hold a hot mug of something warm and tasty
    • An immune system that keeps you healthy
    • A liver that removes harmful toxins
    • Muscles that help you to move, lift, speak, and enjoy life to the fullest
    • Strong bones to help you stand, move, and experience the world
    • Resilient, self-repairing skin that shields and protects you
    • Those scars you have that are proof of a life fully lived


    • Your skills and talents
    • Your kindness
    • Your compassion
    • Your strength
    • Your courage
    • Your resilience
    • The challenges you’ve faced with your own courage and strength
    • Your ability to see the world through the eyes of love and appreciation
    • How far you’ve come
    • Your endless capacity to love
    • Your ability to persevere, even when life feels hard
    • Your generous heart
    • Your integrity
    • Your intelligence
    • Your creativity
    • Your problem-solving skills
    • Your deepest, most heartfelt dreams
    • Your passions
    • Your humor
    • Your unending hope


    • Sunsets and sunrises
    • Dreamy blue skies
    • Fluffy white clouds
    • The breeze against your skin on a warm day
    • The endless beauty of the ocean
    • That glorious mountain in the distance (or the one you’ve climbed)
    • The trees that stay rooted to the ground, no matter how hard the wind blows
    • The changing of the leaves from lovely green to spectacular reds, oranges, and yellows
    • A peaceful lake, river, or creek
    • The warm sand beneath your bare feet
    • The brightness of the full moon
    • A sky full of stars on a clear night
    • Beautiful, majestic wild animals
    • The soft whisper of the snow as it blankets the earth
    • That one place you can always find peace, no matter how heavy life feels
    • Birds chirping outside your window
    • The smell of freshly cut grass
    • Wildflowers
    • Lavender fields

    People & Relationships

    • Your mother
    • Your father
    • Your siblings
    • Your children
    • Your partner
    • Your grandparents
    • Your stepmother
    • Your stepfather
    • An adult who helped raise you
    • Your aunts and uncles
    • Your cousins
    • Your nieces and nephews
    • Your in-laws
    • Your first best friend
    • Your high school best friends
    • Your college best friends
    • Your current best friends
    • Your boss
    • Your coworkers
    • Your neighbors
    • Your community
    • Your first love
    • Your past and present mentors
    • Your coaches
    • Your mentors
    • Your classmates
    • Your religious leaders
    • Kind strangers
    • A teacher who made a difference
    • The cashier who knows you by name
    • Your mail deliverer
    • Your doctor and nurses
    • Your work best friend
    • Your roommates
    • Your hairdresser
    • Your therapist
    • Someone you barely knew who said something that sticks with you to this day
    • Someone who makes you feel safe
    • Someone who always makes you laugh
    • Someone you can be your true self with
    • Someone who has seen you through your highs and lows and still loves you, no matter what
    • Someone who makes you believe in the goodness of people


    • That song that always makes you want to dance
    • That song that touches your heart every single time you hear it
    • That song that reminds you of a special memory
    • Your favorite band
    • Your favorite singer
    • Music, in general (and its healing power)
    • Your favorite movie
    • A movie scene that always makes you laugh
    • A movie quote you love
    • The best acting you’ve ever watched
    • That TV show you can rewatch 100 times without ever getting tired of it
    • A nostalgic video game
    • Your favorite podcast
    • Your favorite content creator
    • Your favorite writer
    • Your favorite book series
    • Lord of the Rings Marathons
    • Harry Potter Marathons
    • Watching Home Alone every December
    • Anything with Keanu Reeves
    • Going to a concert
    • Going to a show
    • Going to a sports game
    • Watching the Super Bowl for the game
    • Watching the Super Bowl for the commercials
    • Watching the Super Bowl for the snacks
    • Watching the Super Bowl for the people you get to spend time with

    Past Experiences

    • Past experiences you’re really proud of
    • Past experiences that made you stronger
    • Past experiences that helped you to grow
    • Past experiences that brought you joy
    • Past experiences that made you laugh so hard you cried
    • Past experiences that showed you the beauty of being alive
    • Past experiences that led you to where you are today
    • Past experiences that you wouldn’t take back, even if they didn’t lead where you wanted them to
    • Past experiences that showed you that you’re so much braver and stronger than you realized
    • The smallest moments that made the biggest difference in your life
    • Past experiences that brought you peace
    • Past experiences that showed you the power of forgiveness
    • Past experiences that surprised you in the best way
    • Past experiences that helped you to learn from your mistakes
    • Past experiences that helped you to break out of a rut
    • Past experiences that made you shake and tremble with nerves – but you got through them
    • Past experiences that allowed you to feel truly alive
    • Past experiences that showed you the meaning of true love
    • Past experiences that helped you to connect to yourself
    • Past experiences that helped you to connect to others
    • Past experiences that helped you to connect to the universe as a whole


    • Your home
    • Your car
    • Your phone
    • Your laptop
    • Your tablet
    • Your video game consoles
    • Your television
    • Your bed
    • Your blankets
    • Your pillows
    • Your toothbrush
    • Your toothpaste
    • Your body-cleansing products
    • Your lotion and moisturizer
    • Your hairbrush
    • Your makeup
    • Your kitchen table
    • Your coffee maker
    • Your favorite coffee mug
    • Your plates and bowls
    • Your eating utensils
    • Your kitchen sink
    • The food in your pantry
    • Your microwave
    • Your stove
    • Your refrigerator
    • Your toaster
    • Your air fryer
    • Your Instant Pot
    • Your pots and pans
    • Your baking sheets
    • Your oven mitts
    • Your dishwasher
    • Your garbage cans
    • Your couch
    • Your desk
    • Your clothes
    • Your washer and dryer
    • Your security system
    • The locks on your doors
    • Your Smart Home devices
    • The roof on your house
    • Your furnace
    • Your wall decorations
    • Your fitness tracker
    • Your headphones or AirPods
    • Your shoe collection
    • Your hair dryer
    • Your hair straightener
    • Your curling irons
    • Your vacuum
    • Your windows
    • Your curtains
    • Your blinds
    • Your light fixtures
    • Your gardening equipment
    • Your lawn tools
    • Your toys and games

    Food & Drink

    • Water
    • Coffee
    • Tea
    • Smoothies
    • Chocolate
    • Spicy snacks
    • Pancakes & waffles
    • Pumpkin pie
    • Pizza
    • Tacos
    • Pasta
    • Seafood
    • Sushi
    • Fresh vegetables
    • Tropical fruit
    • Organic foods
    • Gluten-free foods
    • Sour candy
    • Hard candies
    • Gummy bears
    • The combination of peanut butter and chocolate
    • Mint chocolate chip ice cream
    • Cookie dough
    • Lemon-flavored sweets
    • Chocolate-covered strawberries
    • Burgers (Vegetarian ones, too!)
    • Crispy fries
    • Your favorite meal
    • Your favorite treat
    • Comfort food on heavy days
    • Warm soup when it’s cold outside
    • Soft, warm, freshly baked bread
    • That one meal from your favorite restaurant
    • Home-cooked meals
    • Home-baked desserts
    • Sparkling water
    • Sparkling cider
    • Your favorite soda
    • Orange juice
    • Freshly squeezed lemonade

    Animals & Insects

    • Cats and kittens
    • Dogs and puppies
    • Horses
    • Rabbits
    • Squirrels
    • Deer
    • Cattle
    • Pigs
    • Chickens
    • Hummingbirds
    • Ladybugs
    • Butterflies
    • Eagles
    • Giraffes
    • Zebras
    • All. The. Animals. (I could make a list of just 500 animals, so I’m going to stop myself here!)

    The Little Things

    • Seasonal candles
    • Fuzzy socks
    • Stretchy leggings
    • Slippers
    • Crystals & gemstones
    • Essential oils
    • Affirmation cards
    • Motivational quotes
    • Souvenirs from past vacations
    • Old journals and diaries
    • Polaroid cameras
    • Plants
    • Freshly cut flowers
    • Succulents
    • Mala beads
    • Old pictures
    • Bookshelves filled with classic literature
    • A meaningful piece of jewelry
    • The soft glow of a Himalayan salt lamp
    • The scent of your favorite body wash
    • Bubble bath
    • Throw pillows
    • Coffee dates with your best friend
    • A kind smile from a stranger
    • Board game nights with friends and family
    • The feel of freshly washed sheets against your bare legs
    • A rainy day spent inside snuggled on the couch
    • Deep conversations with people you connect with on a soul level
    • Wearing a new outfit that makes you feel really good
    • Getting a meme or gif that makes you laugh
    • Crying it all out
    • Finding money you didn’t know you had
    • The scent of chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven
    • Ridiculous dancing with friends
    • The moment your favorite song starts playing on the radio
    • Your favorite family traditions
    • Buying from a small, family-run business
    • Winning something unexpectedly
    • Running into someone you love while you’re out in public
    • Comfy pajamas
    • Girls’ nights
    • Guys’ nights
    • A feel-good book
    • Sleepovers with your best friends
    • Three-day weekends
    • Creating a playlist of your favorite songs
    • The first sip of coffee in the morning
    • A warm shower
    • Outdoor lunch breaks on a perfect-temperature day
    • A peaceful moment to yourself before the day starts
    • Rewatching your favorite holiday movie for the 500th time
    • Beach days
    • Lake days
    • Cabin days
    • Snow days
    • Summer nights with friends
    • The fresh scent of the post-rain air in the spring
    • The touch of the sun’s rays against your skin in the summer
    • The autumn colors and crisp coolness of the air
    • Snowy winters spent indoors next to the fireplace
    • Getting dressed up for no reason at all
    • Giggling with your best friend over inside jokes
    • Taking a vacation day to stay in and do nothing
    • Taking a nap in the middle of the day
    • Dinner parties with friends
    • Having breakfast for dinner
    • Having cold pizza for breakfast
    • A goodnight kiss
    • A kiss on the forehead
    • Your favorite childhood toy
    • A beautiful ending
    • A new beginning
    • Moving into a new home
    • Doing a cartwheel
    • Talking to your mom on the phone
    • Cuddling with the person you love most in this world
    • Receiving an unexpected gift
    • Giving a gift to someone when they don’t expect it


    • The first time you saw the ocean
    • The first time you travelled by plane
    • The first time you touched snow
    • The first time you held your crush’s hand
    • Your first kiss
    • The first time you drove a car
    • The first car you owned
    • The first time you ran 5K
    • The first time you ran 10K
    • The first time you achieved something you never thought you would
    • The first time you meditated, even though you were quite certain you were doing it wrong
    • Your first job
    • Your first paycheck
    • Your first promotion
    • The first time you fell in love
    • The first house you bought

    Modern Conveniences

    • Food delivery services
    • Grocery delivery services
    • Curbside pickup
    • Wireless internet
    • GPS
    • Fast food
    • Drive-thrus
    • Online shopping
    • Zoom
    • Spotify
    • Meditation apps
    • Google Calendar
    • Netflix
    • Hulu
    • Amazon Prime
    • HBO Max
    • Cell phone cameras
    • UPS
    • Fed-Ex
    • Same Day Delivery
    • Two-Day Shipping
    • Overnight Shipping
    • Indoor plumbing
    • Electricity
    • Water heaters
    • Curbside garbage service

    Activities & Experiences

    • Meditating
    • Practicing yoga
    • Camping
    • Hiking
    • Jogging
    • Biking
    • Reading
    • Writing
    • Painting
    • Drawing
    • Crafting
    • Cooking
    • Dancing
    • Singing
    • Baking
    • Gardening
    • Exercising
    • Roller blading
    • Ice skating
    • Skateboarding
    • Skiing
    • Sledding
    • Snowboarding
    • Snowball fights
    • Building a snowman
    • Going on a picnic
    • Art in the park
    • Roasting marshmallows over a campfire
    • Running through the sprinklers on a warm day
    • Swimming in the ocean
    • Swimming in the lake
    • Swimming in a pool
    • Paddleboarding
    • Spending a day at the theme park
    • Riding a roller coaster
    • Road trips
    • Stargazing
    • Daydreaming
    • Journaling
    • Traveling somewhere new for the first time
    • Working in a job you love
    • Going to a museum
    • Golfing
    • Mini-golfing
    • Working from home
    • Re-reading your favorite book
    • Watching the city lights from a viewpoint high above it all
    • Celebrating a birthday
    • Dressing up for Halloween
    • Staying up until midnight on New Year’s Eve
    • Sharing a New Year’s kiss with someone you love
    • Going to a high school reunion
    • Watching a waterfall
    • Traveling the world
    • Walking on the beach
    • Falling in love
    • Learning how to love yourself
    • Speaking your truth, even when your voice shakes
    • Standing up for yourself
    • Standing up for someone else

    Places In Your Community

    • The gym
    • The grocery store
    • Restaurants
    • Clothing stores
    • Schools
    • The building you work in
    • Hospitals
    • Urgent care clinics
    • Fire stations
    • Recycling centers
    • Hair salons
    • Spas
    • Parks
    • Nail salons
    • The yoga studio
    • The art studio
    • The art museum
    • Your local bookstore
    • Your local game store
    • The family-owned corner store that’s been there forever
    • Coffee shops
    • Bakeries
    • Bagel shops
    • Your favorite pizza place
    • Home decor stores
    • Locally-owned businesses
    • Shoe stores
    • Candy stores
    • Donut shops
    • Ice cream shops
    • The Farmer’s Market
    • Plant and garden centers
    • Hardware stores
    • The bike park
    • The skateboard park
    • The airport
    • Gas stations
    • Hotels
    • Waterparks
    • Toy stores
    • Libraries
    • Office supply stores
    • Vet clinics
    • Daycare facilities
    • Sporting goods stores

    Growing Up

    • Your education
    • Having your own bedroom (or sharing a room with your close-knit sibling)
    • Eating home-cooked meals
    • Wearing new clothes to school
    • Wearing brand new shoes on the first day of school
    • Having coats and warm clothing that fit you
    • Having parents who worked to keep you warm, fed, and safe
    • Having parents who made you feel unconditionally loved
    • Getting what you asked for on your birthday & holiday lists
    • Going on vacations with your family
    • Having adults in your life who cared about your well-being
    • Being in an environment in which your imagination was encouraged
    • Being told you can do and be anything you want
    • Never having to guess where your next meal will come from
    • Being allowed to just be a kid

    What things are you most grateful for in your life? Share some of the items on your personal gratitude list below!

    And for more resources on spirituality, meditation, manifestation, and all things self-love, be sure to connect with me on Instagram and Pinterest, where I’m posting positive affirmations and empowering messages daily.

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    Manifestation,  Self Love

    How To Practice Gratitude (For Law Of Attraction)

    In this article, learn how to practice gratitude, with special emphasis on how gratitude can help you in the Law of Attraction as you set out to manifest your dreams and desires. Discover powerful methods, tips, and more to help you vibrate at the frequency of sincere gratitude and love today.

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    What Is The Law Of Attraction?

    The foundation of the Law of Attraction is the idea that the energy you put out into the world is what you get back in return. This is intrinsically tied to the concept of manifestation, which is when you intentionally put out the energy of what you want to receive more of in your life. In manifestation terms, you’ll hear this referred to as vibrating at the frequency of your desires.

    For instance, let’s say you want to manifest romantic love. You’re ready to settle down and find that one person you can commit to and share your life with.

    Before, you might’ve felt like you weren’t truly lovable until you found that person. Essentially, you waited until love appeared in your life before you felt the positive emotions associated with love.

    But in manifestation, you don’t wait until your desire appears before you finally start feeling these positive emotions. Instead, you allow yourself to feel these positive emotions right now. How do you imagine feeling when your future partner appears in your life? Will they make you feel loved, respected, and treasured?

    What would happen if you allowed yourself to feel loved, respected, and treasured right now instead of waiting?

    This is the essence of manifestation.

    Now, let’s take it a step further. The most profound way to receive more love in your life is to give more love. Walk through your life with an open heart. Express love through your actions. Be the embodiment of love in your words and feelings.

    This isn’t limited to manifesting love, though. Do you want to manifest more success? Become the embodiment of success in your everyday world. Do you want to manifest financial wealth? Allow yourself to feel financially wealthy now. Walk into every life experience as though you are pure abundance.

    There’s a great quote by an anonymous source that sums up the essence of manifestation and the Law of Attraction perfectly:

    “What you think, you create. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you become.”

    In This Article:

    Gratitude & The Law Of Attraction

    So why is gratitude so important when it comes to the Law of Attraction?

    Simply put, gratitude and love are the highest vibrations you can tap into. (Other powerful positive vibrations include joy, empowerment, and freedom.)

    When you can tap into any of these feelings, you are vibrating at the highest frequencies available to you. Essentially, you become a magnet for experiences that bring you more joy, love, empowerment, freedom, and gratitude. (To learn more about this, check out my article on Abraham Hicks’ Emotional Guidance Scale here.)

    But gratitude in particular is especially powerful, and here’s why:

    • Gratitude invites an abundance mentality. Through the lens of gratitude, you view your life in terms of all that you have, not all that you lack.
    • When you express gratitude for all that you have, you’re essentially saying, “More of this please.” Expressing gratitude for the love that exists in your life invites more love to come forward. Expressing gratitude for the money you possess (even if it’s not a lot by other people’s standards) opens you up to receiving more money. It’s like putting an order into the Universe: “This is what I have that I really appreciate, and I’m open to receiving more of it.”
    • Gratitude erases feelings of desperation, frustration, and hopelessness. It can instantly lift you into a higher vibration in a way that most other feelings can’t. For instance, if you’re feeling frustrated, it’s really hard to tap into joy in that moment. But if you meet your frustration halfway by saying, “I’m frustrated by this experience, but I know there’s still so much in my life to be grateful for,” it becomes a little easier to lift your vibration.

    How To Practice Gratitude

    So what are the best methods for practicing gratitude when it comes to the Law of Attraction? There are lots of ways to practice gratitude, but the key to each method is sincerity. You can write down a couple things in your life you feel grateful for each morning, but are you doing it with a sincere heart? Or are you simply writing these things down because it’s what you think you’re “supposed” to do?

    One way to help you practice sincere gratitude is to include a “why” statement for each thing you acknowledge. This is helpful because it prompts you to truly think about how this thing is making a profound difference in your life.

    Here are some examples of how to do this:

    • I am grateful for my best friend because she always tells me exactly what I need to hear.
    • I am grateful for my home because it offers warmth, protection, and security.
    • I am grateful for my strong legs because they allow me to walk, run, hike, dance, and move my body in ways that feel good to me.

    Sincerity is the key to practicing gratitude when it comes to the Law of Attraction. Don’t simply acknowledge what you’re grateful for with empty words. Feel the depth of your gratitude deep within. Let it shine from the inside out and blanket every cell of your being.

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    Methods For Practicing Gratitude

    Want to start a meaningful gratitude practice that will help you manifest more incredible people, things, and experiences to be grateful for? Here are some ways you can start:

    • Write down one to three things you feel sincerely grateful for each morning.
    • Keep a gratitude journal. (In this article, you’ll find 53 gratitude journal prompts to help you discover reasons to be thankful as you cultivate true joy within.)
    • Create phone notifications to go off at random times during the day. Each time you see one of these notifications, pause and think about something you feel grateful for in this moment.
    • Verbally express gratitude to the people in your life regularly. This includes people you know personally (family, friends, coworkers) as well as other people you interact with (baristas, cashiers, waiters, bank tellers).

    Tips For Practicing Gratitude To Manifest Your Desires

    Tip #1: Express gratitude for your manifestations before they’ve actually arrived in your present experience

    Don’t wait until you’ve received your desired manifestations to begin feeling grateful for them. Feel grateful for them right now, just as you will on the day when they actually come true.

    Why does this work? You may have heard of the phrase, “Live as if.” Manifestation is all about vibrating at the frequency of your desires, and there’s no better way to do that than to live each day as if all of your dreams have already come true.

    Feeling gratitude in advance directly correlates with the idea of living as if. If you’re constantly living in lack, waiting for something to happen and focusing on its absence, you disconnect yourself from the experience of having that thing. But when you live as if your dreams have already come true, you feel true gratitude and appreciation for this life of your dreams.

    And because of this, you’re no longer searching for that thing out there; it’s within. And when it’s within, you’re directly connected to that thing.

    Connect yourself to the life of your dreams by expressing sincere gratitude and appreciation for the abundance that already exists within. When you do this, you become a magnet for everything you could ever dream of (and more).

    scripting journal

    Tip #2: Express gratitude for challenges, obstacles, and negative experiences

    This is where the real magic happens.

    These experiences are your opportunities for growth. This is how you build resilience. Every single negative experience is providing you with a lesson you need to hear. Choosing gratitude in these moments is going to help you learn the lesson a lot faster than choosing frustration or anger.

    Your life will radically transform when you begin to understand how these experiences aren’t happening to you; they’re happening for you. (And the next step? As you become more and more conscious of your thoughts and inner state, experiences begin to happen through you.)

    Want to practice this now? Next time you’re driving and have to stop at a red light, inhale deeply and feel grateful for the opportunity to pause. When you’re stuck in a slow-moving line at the grocery store, stand still and allow yourself to feel appreciation for this moment in your life. Find normal, everyday experiences that usually bring you frustration, and consciously choose to feel gratitude instead.

    Nothing changes your life more than your perspective. When you consciously shift your perspective and understand the power of your thoughts, you master your inner world.

    And when you master your inner world, you master your life.

    Do you have any tips for how to practice gratitude in a meaningful and sincere way? How has gratitude helped you manifest your dreams and desires? Share your tips and experiences in the comment box below!

    And for positive affirmations, self-love tools, manifesting tips, and spiritual resources, be sure to follow me on Pinterest and Instagram. For more resources to help you manifest your dreams, be sure to check out these items in my online shop:

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    Mindfulness,  Spirituality

    What Are Mala Beads? (A How-To Guide)

    What are mala beads and how are they used? In this article, you’ll get the complete guide to using mala beads in meditation, manifestation, gratitude practices, and more. Plus get my recommendations for beautiful mala beads you can purchase today.

    Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product using my link, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. You can read my full disclosure policy here.

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    What Are Mala Beads?

    For centuries, many different religions have been using prayer beads as part of their spiritual practice. My grandpa was Catholic, and growing up, I remember seeing him pray with his rosary set between his fingers at least once a day. At his funeral, there were multiple stories told of my Grandpa Moose and his rosary, and there was also a service in which loved ones honored his memory by reciting the Holy Rosary as they held rosary beads.

    Mala beads have been used as part of a spiritual practice for over 3,000 years, most prominently associated with Hinduism and Buddhism. However, they have gained widespread acceptance among people of various spiritual backgrounds, and in many cultures, they’re used as part of a non-religious affiliated meditation practice.

    So what exactly are mala beads?

    Mala beads are a string of beads used as a meditation and mindfulness aid. Typically, they have 108 beads, and while each necklace or bracelet is unique, they generally all have the same standard components, such as the Guru Bead, the Tassel, Marker Beads, and Spacer Beads. We’ll define the function of these different components below.

    The most common use of mala beads is to recite a mantra during meditation. They’re also often used as a mindful breathing tool, and you can even use them as part of your manifestation practice. Many people who have a difficult time sitting still during meditation find that incorporating mala beads into their practice helps them to relax and cultivate a greater sense of mindfulness as they meditate.

    Below, you’ll learn about the various components of mala beads, how to use them, and how to choose the best mala beads for you.

    In This Article

    Common Components Of Mala Beads

    mala beads components

    As mentioned above, the common components you’ll see in a mala bead necklace are the following:

    • 108 Counting Beads
    • Guru Bead
    • Marker Beads
    • Spacer or Decorative Beads
    • Knots
    • Charm
    • Tassel

    Here’s the function of each of these components:

    108 Counting Beads

    Each mala necklace typically has 108 identical counting or primary beads, though some have less, which is okay. In meditation, it’s typical to hold the mala beads with one hand, draped across your fingers, and touch each counting bead with the thumb and middle finger one at a time, working your way through the entire necklace. You’ll complete one full inhale and exhale with each bead before moving to the next. (More on this practice in the How-To section below.)

    Guru Bead

    The Guru Bead is your starting point. It is typically bigger and has a distinct look from the other beads on the mala necklace or bracelet, though sometimes it’ll be the same type of bead as the marker beads. You’ll usually find this bead attached to the tassel.

    Marker Beads

    You’ll typically find four marker beads on a mala necklace, spaced at every 27th bead. These marker beads are usually slightly bigger than the counting beads and often a different color. The marker beads are a way to help you come back to your meditation if your mind has strayed. When you come across a marker bead, it reminds you to return to the present moment. In essence, this is a beautiful mindfulness tool. (Note that not all malas have marker beads.)

    Spacer/Decorative Beads

    The spacer beads are typically smaller (and often flatter) beads placed between larger beads. Depending on the unique necklace, you may see these in different sections, such as between the Guru bead and counting beads or before and after every marker bead. Note that not all mala necklaces have spacer beads. You do not count the spacer beads during your meditation.


    In a typical mala necklace, you’ll find a small knot between each bead. The knot ensures that if the string breaks, the beads will not be lost. This makes your mala stronger, and the knots can also help with the movement of the mala during your meditation.


    Your mala may or may not have a charm on the end, often in place of the tassel. The charm is typically ornamental, though you may choose one that has special meaning to you, such as a lotus flower or chakra symbol.


    While the tassel may seem at first appearance to be decorative, it’s actually steeped in deep spiritual symbolism. The strings of the mala loop through all of the beads, coming together through the Guru bead and finishing in the tassel. Some view this coming together of the strings to be symbolic of oneness, both with the Universe and each other. It can also be viewed as one’s desire to reach enlightenment. While I didn’t list it here, you can also view the string or thread that the beads are threaded on to be an important component of the mala, as it’s the link that brings everything together.

    Want to create your own mala beads? Check out Alice Peck’s Mindful Beads: 20 Inspiring Ideas for Stringing and Personalizing Your Own Mala Prayer Beads, Plus Their Meanings. This book includes the stories and meanings behind 20 types of beads, plus how to instill your own beads with significance, protection, and promise as you string them.

    How To Choose Mala Beads

    There isn’t a science to choosing your mala, which is a good thing if you’re like me and tend to follow your intuition when making decisions.

    Choosing the right mala beads for you is truly an intuitive practice. As you start searching for the right one for you, you’ll find mala bead necklaces that come in all different colors and often are made of different materials. Some of these materials might include gemstones, pearls, wood, and lotus seeds.

    This is one of the most important questions to ask yourself as you’re searching for mala beads:

    “Do I find it beautiful?”

    It truly is that simple. Find the one that speaks to you. If you’re browsing through mala beads and one nudges your heart, it’s very likely you’ve found the perfect mala necklace for you.

    I know from personal experience, however, that it’s easy to get stuck in your own head when making these types of decisions. I have a history of over-analyzing my shopping choices, from what yearly planner I should purchase to what pint of ice cream I want to buy (and promptly consume). I love to follow my heart, but sometimes my heart wants mint chocolate chip and cookies n’ cream.

    If you’re having trouble choosing, I find it helpful to step back and ask myself, “What are my intentions?” Do I want to use these mala beads to help me cultivate spirituality? Do I want to feel a connection with a higher power? Do I want to improve my meditations? Is this a way for me to feel more calm and relaxation?

    Once you’ve established your intentions, you may have a clearer picture of which mala beads you want to purchase.

    Finally, if you’re in a physical store, it’s always helpful to pick up the mala beads and get a feel for them within your fingers. Since you’re going to be holding these beads for an extended amount of time, you want to make sure you choose ones that feel good to you.

    Benefits of Using Mala Beads

    So why use mala beads? We’ve touched upon this a little bit above, but let’s dive into all the reasons mala beads can be beneficial to you:

    • Promotes Mindfulness: As you take conscious inhales and exhales with each bead before moving onto the next, you’re more likely to remain in the present moment throughout your meditation. And if your thoughts do drift, you’ll eventually reach one of the marker beads, which will gently bring you back to the here and now.
    • Can Improve Your Meditation: This is especially true if you have a hard time sitting still for extended amounts of time. If you find yourself wanting to move around and fidget while meditating, mala beads are the perfect tool for you to incorporate into your practice. It’s, in a sense, mindful fidgeting. (Kind of?)
    • Helps Improve Your Breathwork: I tend to be pretty good at consciously paying attention to my inhales and exhales while meditating . . . at least during the first few minutes. I’ve found that mala beads empower me to be more conscious of my breathing throughout my meditation. And to circle back to the two bulletpoints above, this helps to promote mindfulness and improves my meditation.
    • Connection With a Higher Power: The mala is more than just its individual components; it’s an entire unit brought together by the thread that links together the counting beads with the marker beads with the Guru bead with the tassel. This unity represents our own unity: unity with our higher selves, unity with each other, and unity with a higher power.

    How To Use Mala Beads

    mala beads


    While using mala beads in meditation may seem overwhelming at first, it’s actually an extremely simple and effective way to meditate that requires little to no technical ability.

    Before using mala beads in meditation, I want you to give yourself permission to be imperfect, especially as you’re first learning. It’s okay if you don’t follow all of the steps perfectly when you’re just starting. The most important thing is intention. If your heart is in the right place, and your intentions are positive, this is far more important than perfection.

    Furthermore, you can use your imperfections as a way to practice mindfulness, non-judgmental awareness, and compassion. Were you holding your mala beads with the incorrect fingers? Was your mind so distracted, you missed the marker beads? Notice, accept, and keep going.

    Here’s your step-by-step directions for how to use mala beads in meditation. I’ll discuss some alternative uses below.

    Breathing Meditation
    1. Find a quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed. If you already have an ongoing meditation practice, you may already have a time and space that works for you. If you use the full 108 beads, this practice typically takes 30 minutes. If you decide not to use the full 108 beads, that’s okay. You can choose to stop at one of the marker beads instead.
    2. Drape your mala beads over your non-dominant hand. Make sure you feel comfortable and that the beads will be easy to move. With your thumb and middle finger of your dominant hand, gently touch the Guru bead. You typically do not use the index finger in this practice, as the index finger is connected to the Ego.
    3. Touch the first counting bead, and take one full inhale and exhale. Then, move to the second bead. Continue this process, inhaling and exhaling once per bead. You’ll stop when you make your way around back to the Guru bead.
    4. As mentioned above, you can choose to shorten your meditation by stopping at one of the marker beads. Alternatively, if you wish to extend your meditation, you can turn the mala around and start again. Note that it’s common practice not to jump over the Guru bead. So if you’re extending your meditation, rather than jumping over it to start back at the first counting bead, you’d turn the mala around and go in reverse.
    Mantra Meditation

    I was first introduced to using mala beads in meditation through the practice of mantra meditations. A mantra meditation is one in which you repeat a specific mantra throughout the meditation (traditionally, 108 times). This form of meditation is also known as japa meditation.

    Your chosen mantra should be something that resonates with you. It can be a sacred word, affirmation, divine name, or simply a word such as love or peace.

    Here are a few examples of possible mantras you could use:

    • Aum or Om (This has many rich and deep meanings. It is known as the word of God, the sacred sound of the Universe, and the union of the mind, body, and spirit.)
    • Om Shanti Om (Universal Peace)
    • Om Shanti Shanti Shanti (Peace of Mind, Body, and Speech)
    • Love
    • Peace
    • I am love.
    • I am peace.
    • I am worthy.
    • I am enough.
    • Love guides me.

    To perform a mantra meditation using mala beads, you’ll essentially take the same steps you do with the breathing meditation. However, in place of the conscious inhales and exhales, you’ll repeat your chosen mantra as you touch each bead. You can repeat your mantra either internally, at a whisper under your breath, or out loud. Do what makes you feel most comfortable.

    Finally, here’s great 5-minute tutorial on how to hold and use your mala beads.

    Alternative Uses

    While meditation is the most common way to use mala beads, it’s not the only way. Here are a few other practices for using mala beads:

    • Wear Your Beads: Wearing your mala beads is more than just a fashion statement; it’s a profound practice to connect you to your highest self and cultivate mindfulness in your life. When you wear your beads, you can set the intention to remember the same peace and serenity you feel when you’re meditating. The most common ways to wear your beads are as a necklace or wrapped around your wrist as a bracelet.
    • Manifestation: The most powerful way to use mala beads for manifestation is to recite affirmations for manifestation as you touch each bead. To do this, you’d follow the same steps I wrote above for the breathing meditation, but in place of the conscious inhales and exhales, you’d recite a positive affirmation. As you do this, consciously make sure to feel the positive energy of the affirmation flowing through you. It’s up to you whether you’d like to recite different affirmations or repeat the same affirmations throughout. For some ideas of affirmations to use, here are some Law of Attraction affirmations and manifestation affirmations to get you started.
    • Gratitude Practice: This has become one of my personal favorite ways to use mala beads. Again, you’ll follow the same instructions as above for the breathing meditation, but here, you’ll think of one thing you’re grateful for as you touch each bead. I know it may seem like 108 things is a lot, but it actually becomes pretty easy once you get going. For instance, you can think about each individual part of your body, from your eyes to your lips to your lungs, arms, stomach, legs, and feet (and everything in-between). You can also think about individual people, memories, and luxuries we often take for granted, like air conditioning and running water.

    Mala Beads to Purchase

    If you’re looking for beautiful mala beads to incorporate into your meditation practice, check out the links below! Note that most of the selections below have more color and stone options when you click on the link.

    And that’s it! Have you ever used mala beads in your meditation practice? Or do you have questions about how they’re used? Share your tips and questions in the comment box below.

    And for more resources on spirituality, meditation, manifestation, and all things self-love, be sure to connect with me on Instagram and Pinterest, where I’m posting positive affirmations and empowering messages daily.

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    Affirmations,  Self Love

    40 Gratitude Affirmations to Love This Moment Right Now

    In this post, discover 40 gratitude affirmations to love this moment right now, exactly as it is, knowing that your grateful heart is a magnet for magic, miracles, and true abundance. Plus, download your free printable gratitude affirmations below!

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    Pin this for later! 40 Gratitude Affirmations to Love This Moment Right Now

    Updated November 27th, 2021

    The Power of Gratitude

    Imagine your deepest, most heartfelt desire: the dream that’s been planted in your heart for as long as you can remember.

    Maybe right now, it still feels like a distant dream. You hope that one day, it will be yours, but you’re not quite sure how you’re going to make it happen.

    Or maybe you’re currently on the path of making this dream come true. You’ve listened to your intuition and taken inspired action, and now you’re on the path that leads to your dreams, one small step at a time.

    Wherever you are in your journey, know this:

    You don’t have to wait for all of your dreams and desires to manifest in your current experience to feel gratitude for your dreams coming true.

    You can choose to be grateful for it right now, before it has even manifested into your life.

    Feel the exact same appreciation you know you’ll feel when you get that dream job, perfect partner, or financial wealth today.

    Begin to live like your dreams have already come true, and feel sincere appreciation for your abundant and joyful life right now. When you live in lack waiting for something to happen, you separate yourself from the experience of having that thing. Don’t separate yourself. When you’re feeling like all of these good things have already happened to you, you’re no longer searching for it outside of you; you’re connected to that thing.

    And even more: feel gratitude for the obstacles, hardships, and setbacks that seem to block the path to your dream. Know that these experiences are always bringing you growth, and trust that they are leading you to exactly the place you’re meant to be. Sometimes, what looks like a barrier is actually a bridge to a life greater than anything you could ever imagine.

    Choose gratitude in all moments, and more things will flow into your life to be grateful for. And not just things: people, opportunities, experiences.

    That’s the power of gratitude.

    In every moment, you have the power to choose your mindset. You choose how you feel. Nothing changes your life more than your perspective. When you consciously shift your perspective and understand the power of your thoughts, you master your inner world.

    And when you master your inner world, you master your life.

    Below are 40 gratitude affirmations to help you love this moment right now, exactly as it is. Know that no matter where you currently are and what’s going on in your external world, there is always something to be grateful for: your body, your breath, your strong heart and resilient spirit.

    Let gratitude fill your heart and watch as magic unfolds in the smallest moments of your daily life

    (And don’t forget to download your free printable gratitude affirmations below!)

    Gratitude Affirmations

    • I wake up with a peaceful mind and grateful heart.
    • I am thankful for today.
    • I exhale worry and inhale gratitude.
    • I am grateful for the magic and miracles that today brings.
    • I find pleasure in the little moments.
    • My heart is grateful and my mind is at peace.
    • Today is a gift, and I accept it with joy and gratitude.
    • I am grateful for the breath that flows through my lungs.
    • I am thankful for this moment right now, exactly as it is.
    • I am grateful for my strong heart, healthy mind, and radiant spirit.
    • I am grateful for past experiences that have taught me resilience and strength.
    • I love and appreciate this moment in my life, exactly as it is right now.
    • I am truly thankful for all that I am and all that I have.
    • Gratitude is my anchor that keeps me centered, grounded, and secure.
    • When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I take a deep breath and realign with gratitude.
    • I am grateful for the paths that didn’t lead where I wanted them to but instead led me to somewhere better.
    • I am grateful for the ability to learn from my mistakes and then let them go.
    • I am grateful for the infinite compassion and grace in my heart that allows me to view this world through the eyes of love.
    • I am grateful for every step of this journey and the lessons I learn along the way.
    • I am grateful for the positive energy that flows to and through me.
    • I am grateful for my healthy body and all that it does for me.
    • I am thankful for the ability to find gratitude in all areas of my life.
    • I am grateful for every second of this imperfect, messy, beautiful life.
    • When I choose to view my life through the lens of gratitude, more beautiful experiences flow into my life to be grateful for.
    • When I choose gratitude, I am able to see all the magic that flows into my life effortlessly.
    • I am filled with gratitude, thankfulness, and deep appreciation.
    • I begin each day with a grateful heart.
    • Every cell of my body is aligned with gratitude.
    • By choosing gratitude, I welcome beautiful abundance into my life.
    • I open my heart to receive even more people, experiences, and things into my world to be grateful for.
    • Even when life isn’t perfect, I can always find things to be grateful for.
    • I am thankful to be the person I am, exactly as I am.
    • In every moment, there is always so much to be thankful for.
    • When I open my eyes, I find so much to appreciate.
    • I choose gratitude not because I’m weak, but because I’m strong beyond measure.
    • Gratitude is the bridge to a life of joy, peace, and abundance.
    • The universe provides me with all that I need in every moment.
    • Love and gratitude flow to and through me in all moments.
    • My grateful heart is a magnet for miracles.
    • I am truly grateful for my beautiful life.
    Click to download your free printable gratitude affirmations! And be sure to subscribe to my newsletter so you can get all the new freebies I offer on the blog!
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    Do you have any favorite gratitude affirmations? Share your favorites in the comment box below! And for more resources on spirituality, meditation, manifestation, and all things self-love, be sure to connect with me on Instagram and Pinterest, where I’m posting positive affirmations and empowering quotes daily.

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    Self Love

    53 Gratitude Journal Prompts to Cultivate Joy Within

    Below, check out 53 inspiring gratitude journal prompts designed to raise your vibrations, bring positivity to every situation, and cultivate true joy within! To make these journal prompts easily accessible, I’ve created a free printable with all 53 journal prompts in one easy-to-find spot. Scroll to the bottom of this post to get yours today!

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    Pin this! 53 Inspiring Gratitude Journal Prompts to Uplift, Encourage, and Cultivate Joy Within


    Gratitude is one of the most powerful forces in this world.

    I know that might seem like a bit of an overstatement, but from personal experience, adding a true gratitude practice to my daily routine has 100% changed my life for the better. Not only has it made me generally just a happier person, but it’s allowed me to become better at finding the good within seemingly bad situations.

    This, in turn, has made me become more resilient and less susceptible to negative emotions.

    And not only that, but I truly believe that the more I feel grateful for what I have, the more wonderful things flow into my life to feel grateful for.

    Gratitude can be practiced in an infinite amount of ways. One of my favorite gratitude practices is to simply think about three things I’m grateful for when I wake up in the morning and when I go to bed at night. I also find it helpful to write down three things I’m grateful for each day in a notebook or journal along with a reason why I’m grateful for each item on my list.

    I know a few people who like to write down one to three things they’re grateful for every day on a slip of paper. Then, they put that slip of paper in some kind of container or box. And at the end of the year, they empty out all of the slips and read through them all. This is a powerful practice to not only cultivate daily gratitude but also to end the past year and start the new one with authentic joy and a positive perspective.

    Gratitude journals are a profound gratitude practice because it allows you to truly sit and be present with your gratitude for an extended amount of time.

    Below are 53 gratitude journal prompts you can use to cultivate a true sense of gratitude in your daily life. These prompts center around nurturing joyful feelings as well as recognizing the positive people, moments, memories, and things in your life.

    Take as much or as little time you need each day as you work through these prompts. What I love about gratitude journal prompts is that it isn’t a one-and-done kind of thing. For most of these, you can use the same prompts over and over to continue your gratitude practice for months (and years) to come.

    gratitude journal prompts

    Gratitude Quotes

    Before we get started on the prompts, here are a few of my favorite gratitude quotes that show how powerful a gratitude practice can truly be.

    • “Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life.”Rumi
    • “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” Eckhart Tolle
    • “When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.” Tony Robbins
    • “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”Melody Beattie
    • “He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” Epictetus
    • “It’s a funny thing about life, once you begin to take note of the things you are grateful for, you begin to lose sight of the things that you lack.”Germany Kent
    • “The single greatest thing you can do to change your life today would be to start being grateful for what you have right now.” – Oprah Winfrey

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    Gratitude Journal Prompts

    • Describe a person you’re grateful to have in your life. List the reasons why you’re especially grateful for this person.
    • List all the awesome things your body is capable of and why you’re grateful for the body you have right now, exactly as it is.
    • What are the three best things that happened yesterday? (Or, if you’re journaling in the evening, what are the three best things that happened today?)
    • What are three reasons you’re excited about tomorrow?
    • What are some obstacles and challenges you’ve experienced that you now feel grateful for, even if it was hard to appreciate it at the time?
    • What aspects of your current job do you appreciate the most?
    • What positive qualities do you possess that you especially love about yourself?
    • Describe one of your favorite memories and what you appreciate most about that moment in time.
    • What aspects of your childhood are you most grateful for?
    • What do you love most about your home? What about this space makes you feel happy, grateful, and content?
    • What profound life lessons did a parent or important adult in your life teach you growing up that you still hold in your heart today?
    • What about this time of year makes you feel most grateful?
    • What are ten positive things that fill your heart with gratitude every morning when you wake up?
    • Describe a scent that you associate with warm and happy memories. Describe one or more of the positive memories that you associate with this scent and how it makes you feel.
    • Describe a moment in your life when you pushed past your fear and succeeded in something you weren’t sure you could do. How did it make you feel?
    • Describe an accomplishment that you feel really proud of. What qualities do you possess that helped you to reach that achievement?
    • What risks have you taken that you feel really grateful you took?
    • What are some of your favorite self-care activities? What does self-care mean to you? What positive feelings do you associate with self-care?
    • How have you changed in the past ten years? What positive changes are you most grateful for?
    • Think about someone you may not see eye-to-eye with or get along with (either in your past or present). What lessons has this person taught you, and why are you grateful to have them in your life?
    • What’s your favorite way to spread cheer to others? What talents and qualities do you have that make you an awesome friend and cheerleader to others?
    • What’s a funny story from your past that makes you laugh every time you think about it? What other positive emotions do you feel when you think of this memory?
    • Describe a time when somebody gave you a sincere compliment that made you feel really good. What makes that compliment stand out the most to you?
    • Who were your best high school friends? Even if you don’t keep in touch anymore, what makes you most grateful for having them during that period of your life?
    • Who are your best friends now? Why are you grateful for these friendships?
    • List 20 things you’re grateful for in your life right now, and give a one-word sentence on why you’re grateful for each of these things.
    • List all the things you love most about your partner. If you don’t have a partner, choose someone who has a substantial positive impact on your current life.
    • What talents do you have that you feel especially grateful for?
    • What’s a luxury in your life that you’re grateful to have?
    • Describe your favorite time of day (morning, afternoon, night) and what you love most about it.
    • Look around the room you’re in right now. Describe all the things in this room that you feel grateful for.
    • What’s a really small thing that’s happened recently that you feel thankful for?
    • What’s one (or more) negative habits you’ve quit that you’re grateful for?
    • What’s one (or more) positive habits you’ve started that you’re grateful for?
    • Write about a difficult life lesson you had to learn the hard way and why you’re grateful to have had that experience.
    • List all the people in your life who make you feel loved. What types of things do they do and say that make you feel loved and appreciated?
    • Write about the hardest day you’ve had recently and why you’re grateful to have had such a day.
    • Name one person you don’t know personally who inspires you. Why do they inspire you? Why are you grateful for this person’s presence?
    • Name one person you do know personally who inspires you. Why do they inspire you? Why are you grateful for this person’s presence?
    • What people, experiences, or things in your life do you sometimes take for granted? Take this time now to write down your appreciation for these things.
    • List everything that makes you feel happy right now.
    • What awesome superpower do you possess that you feel extra grateful to have?
    • What challenges are you currently experiencing? How can you bring more gratitude to the situation when approaching these challenges?
    • What seemingly boring household items do you possess that you feel grateful for? What would your life be like without these items?
    • What’s your least favorite household chore to do? In what ways are you grateful to get to do this chore? Bonus: Are there any ways you can bring more fun to doing this chore?
    • Write about your favorite place that brings you peace and tranquility within. What about this place makes you feel most grateful?
    • Write about a time when exactly what you needed came to you at exactly the right time.
    • Think of someone in your life whose personality traits are the complete opposite of yours (maybe even frustratingly so). What has this person taught you, and why are you grateful they’re in your life?
    • What’s one thing you have today that you didn’t have a year ago? This can be a person, a physical object, or an awesome opportunity like a new job. Why are you grateful to have this person or thing in your life today?
    • Describe a positive internal shift that you’ve experienced in the past year. What led you to experiencing this shift within? Why are you grateful for this shift?
    • Describe a movie or book that altered your perception or changed your life in a positive way. In what ways did this movie or book change you for the better? Why are you glad to have had watched this movie or read this book?
    • What does gratitude mean to you?
    • How does practicing gratitude make you feel? How can you bring more gratitude into your daily life?

    For more inspiration, be sure to follow me on Pinterest, where I have boards for Journal Prompts, Daily Affirmations, Gratitude, Manifestation, Mindfulness, and more!

    Are you ready for your freebies? Enter your name and email address below for your free printable gratitude journal prompts! (Note that it may take an hour or two for the email to come through.) Plus, receive a weekly newsletter with resources, affirmations, and new blog post updates straight to your inbox. (Don’t worry, I hate spam, too! I only send one email a week, never share your personal info, and you can unsubscribe anytime.)

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    The Key Mindset Shift to Transform Your Life

    “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”

    Eckhart Tolle

    You’re standing in an empty room, and in front of you, there’s a closed door.

    You haven’t seen what’s on the other side, but you have a pretty good idea: Joy. Wealth. Love. Vitality. Creativity. Peace. Freedom. Health. All of your deepest desires and dreams.

    To open the door, you need a key.

    You start looking around, but there’s no key in sight. You’re disappointed but not surprised. After all, that’s the VIP suite in there. It’s only meant for the elite, chosen few.

    So instead of wasting your time standing in front of a permanently locked door, you turn around and walk away.

    That’s where most of us get it wrong. I know I did. Since I was seven, I’ve had big dreams of being a writer and sharing my words with millions of people. But quickly after college, I got swallowed up in the life of living paycheck to paycheck in jobs that didn’t feel fulfilling. I thought this was something I was supposed to do, though. A stable job meant consistent paychecks and health insurance. The problem was, I never felt very passionate about what I did, and this began to affect and blend into other areas of my life as well.

    I had been looking at that closed door for many years, returning to it in moments of hope and quickly leaving dejectedly when I realized I had no idea how to get to the other side.

    Today, I’m going to skip ahead a bit in my journey to manifesting my dream life, and I’m going to tell you how I finally opened that door.

    The Key Mindset Shift that Changed Everything

    Most recently, the closed door came in the form of a vision board. Well, it was more like a vision web. In the middle was a rectangle with my name in the center, and there were several branches surrounding it with ovals at the end of each branch. Each oval had a word or words in it, representing something I desired in my vision of a perfect and fulfilling life.

    Here were a few of the items I’d included on this web:

    • Writer
    • Body peace
    • Strong, loving community
    • Live in the foothills
    • Travel and adventure to beautiful places
    • Financial freedom
    • Beautiful garden

    In the weeks and months following the creation of this vision web, I began incorporating new habits and practices in my life. I’d been meditating off and on for a couple years, but I decided to make it a priority instead of an option. I started reading books and listening to podcasts on topics related to self-improvement. I began a daily (honestly, hourly) habit of repeating positive affirmations. And I began to truly practice gratitude. When I woke up in the morning, I’d say a little thank you for another new day. When I went on a run, I’d appreciate my legs and my lungs and my heart, and I’d say an extra thank you to the weather for cooperating. Everywhere I looked, I discovered more and more opportunities for genuine and profound appreciation.

    Gratitude started out as a conscious practice, but with time, it became more and more ingrained within me. The changes were subtle, but I felt an internal shift taking place in both my thoughts and feelings. And then one day, I pulled out that vision web and stared at in disbelief. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Every single thing I’d written down, I now possessed.

    I was dumbfounded. How had these things felt so far away before? The crazy thing is, from the outside, my life really didn’t look any different than it had just a few months earlier:

    • I didn’t move houses, and okay, I didn’t live in the foothills, but besides that technicality, I had a beautiful home that kept me safe and warm.
    • In the past couple years, I’ve gone on vacations to some of the most beautiful places in the United States, and I knew there were more to come.
    • I didn’t win the lottery, but I had financial security and the money I needed to buy what I needed.
    • I had the best relationship I’ve ever had with my body in my entire adult life, and I had cultivated a deep respect for all that my body was capable of. (This body has run a whole marathon!)
    • I had the best community of loving and supportive family and friends.
    • I had my beautiful garden.
    • And that whole writing thing? I was working on writing a novel, and I wrote every single day. I realized that I didn’t have to wait to call myself a writer until I published a novel. I didn’t need to wait for for an agent or a publisher to validate that I was a writer. I’m a writer now. I’ve always been a writer. Nobody can ever take that away from me.

    So where did I find the key to unlock the closed door and step into the other side?

    I found it in my gratitude.

    Once I stopped viewing my surroundings based on lack and what I didn’t have, and instead changed my perspective to appreciation for all that I did have, my entire mindset shifted. And honestly, that probably would’ve been enough, but then something kind of crazy happened: the more gratitude I felt, the more wonderful things flowed into my life to feel grateful for.

    How was this possible? Was I just honed in and noticing the good stuff more than I used to? Or was I actually receiving more positive opportunities and experiences because of my new default state of appreciation?

    And once again, that would’ve been enough, but then I discovered something else: two key mental tricks thats transformed my life and gave me access to more than I ever dreamed possible.

    Mental Trick #1: To manifest something in your life, feel grateful for that thing before it actually transpires in your experience.

    Say you’ve been saving up for a new car. You know exactly what car you want, and you’ve consistently been setting aside money from each paycheck to go toward the purchase of that car. You know the date you’ll be able to buy the car. You’ve researched car dealerships and know how much you’re going to offer. You visualize yourself sitting behind the wheel of that car, and you know when you finally have it, you’ll feel so joyful and grateful.

    But what if you didn’t wait until you actually have physical ownership of that car to feel grateful for it?

    What if you were grateful for it now, before it has even manifested into your life?

    I know it sounds weird. It did to me. It’s so counterintuitive to what most of us know and experience. How can I appreciate something I don’t even have? And what if my dream or desire isn’t as certain as a car that I know I’m going to purchase? Maybe you dream of a new job or a perfect partner. Maybe you desire greater financial wealth. You can’t purchase those things like you can a new car. So what then?

    Here’s what I say: Even if you think that thing is out of your hands, feel gratitude for it today anyway.

    Feel the exact same appreciation you know you’ll feel when you get that dream job, perfect partner, or financial wealth today.

    Begin to live like your dreams have already come true, and feel appreciative for that abundant and joyful life right now. When you live in lack waiting for something to happen, you separate yourself from the experience of having that thing. Don’t separate yourself. When you’re feeling like all of these good things have already happened to you, you’re no longer searching for it outside of you; you’re connected to that thing.

    Mental Trick #2: Be grateful for negative experiences and for those times when things don’t go your way.

    This is where the real magic happens.

    These experiences are your opportunities for growth. This is how you build resilience. Every single negative experience is providing you with a lesson you need to hear. Choosing gratitude in these moments is going to help you learn the lesson a lot faster than choosing frustration or anger. Your life will radically transform when you begin to understand how these experiences aren’t happening to you; they’re happening for you. (And the next step? As you become more and more conscious of your thoughts and inner state, experiences begin to happen through you.)

    Want to practice this now? Next time you’re driving and get stopped at a red light, inhale deeply and feel grateful for the opportunity to pause. When you’re stuck in a slow-moving line at the grocery store, stand still and allow yourself to feel appreciation for this moment in your life. Find normal, everyday experiences that usually bring you frustration, and consciously choose to feel gratitude instead.

    Nothing changes your life more than your perspective. When you consciously shift your perspective and understand the power of your thoughts, you master your inner world.

    And when you master your inner world, you master your life.

    • Zanna
    gratitude practice
  • life lessons from meditation

    10 Beautiful Life Lessons from Meditation

    Do you meditate? While my meditation practice started only a few years ago, the lessons I’ve learned from meditation are ones that resonate for an entire lifetime. In this post, I list my ten most beautiful life lessons learned from meditation.

    life lessons from meditation
    10 Beautiful Life Lessons from Meditation


    About three years ago, I meditated for the first time.

    If you aren’t familiar with meditation, you probably have some preconceived ideas about what meditation is and how it works. I know I did. I thought that meditation was only for really exceptional people—people who knew how to turn off their thoughts and had this special superpower to transform their minds into perfectly blank slates. That sounded impossible, so I never really gave any serious thought to trying to meditate. 

    But a few years ago, I started noticing people talk more and more about meditation and all of its benefits, so I decided to give it a shot. I downloaded a meditation app and tried a few of the beginner meditations. For a while, I meditated off and on, sometimes meditating every day for weeks while other times not meditating at all for months. Finally, though, I decided to carve out dedicated time to meditating every day. I knew it’d be a positive thing, and I told myself it didn’t have to be a big ordeal. Just ten minutes a day was all I had to do.

    Well, after “just ten minutes a day,” meditation has given me more than I ever could’ve possibly dreamed. I was going to type that my life has completely transformed since I started meditating, but I realized that would be wrong. From the outside, my daily life hasn’t actually changed all that much. I still do a lot of the same things: I work, I write, I run, I read, I eat cookies and binge watch shows on Hulu with my boyfriend in the evenings. In some ways, my life hasn’t changed at all, and in other ways, everything is different now: the way I see myself, the way I see the world, my relationships, my goals, my dreams.

    While I’ve only been meditating for a couple years now, the lessons I’ve learned in this short time will stick with me forever. Below, I list my ten greatest life lessons from meditation.

    I accept love. I receive love.
    10 Beautiful Life Lessons from Meditation

    Lesson #1: I’ve learned how to accept and receive love.

    This has been the lesson that’s taken me the longest to learn, and it’s something I have to work on every single day. I’ve always been a perfectionist, and I don’t say that with pride. For my entire life, perfectionism has smothered and suffocated me. It’s kept me from going after my dreams for fear of failing. It’s kept me afraid and small. And it’s this perfectionism that’s kept me from really accepting love from others.

    I thought the only way I could be loved was if I looked and acted perfectly. I thought that failure and making mistakes gave people an excuse to no longer love me. These deeply ingrained beliefs held me captive for almost my entire life. But as I started to meditate, I found myself challenging these beliefs for the first time.

    I wish I could say I just woke up one day and decided to let myself be loved, but the truth is, it’s been really hard. It’s hard to let go of something you’ve believed about yourself your entire life. When I first started on this journey to self love, I’d spend entire days with my chest feeling hot and tight and heavy from anxiety. I found my brain going back to its old bullying tactics over and over again.

    The real transformation came when I stopped fighting it. I let myself feel the anxiety; I allowed the bully to speak.

    And then I would gently set my hands out in front of me with my palms facing the sky, and I’d quietly say, “I accept love. I receive love.” Dozens of times a day, over and over again, the bully came out, and I’d just keep telling myself that I accept love. I receive love. I am loved.

    The bully still exists, but she’s much quieter now, and when does she come out, she no longer has any control over me.

    Lesson #2: I’ve learned to recognize when my inner critic is trying to protect me—and to gently let her go.

    Like a lot of people, I’m my own worst critic. Historically, whenever I have a positive thought about myself, my brain follows it up with at least five negative ones:

    Yeah, you did that one smart thing, but just don’t forget that you’re fearful and awkward in social situations and that you’re not good at reaching out to people and you should probably volunteer more and you have no self control around chocolate and don’t get me started on your nose.


    It makes me cringe when I think about how badly I’ve bullied myself throughout my life, but I’m not going to suppress that inner critic or pretend she doesn’t exist. I’ve seen her and met her in the darkest places inside of me, and after sitting with her for a while, I learned that she’s trying to protect me. And once I learned how to accept and receive love, that critic became a smaller and smaller voice. She still comes up a lot in my daily life, but I’ve learned to recognize when she shows up. Instead of feeling bad about myself, I very gently and kindly tell her that her service isn’t needed, and I allow myself to let her go.

    My happiness comes from within.
    10 Beautiful Life Lessons from Meditation

    Lesson #3: I’ve learned that happiness comes from within.

    I’ve heard this my entire life, but I’ve never really felt it until recently. Have you seen the graphic where one person goes up to another and asks where he got his happiness, and the second person says he made it himself? It’s taken me a long time, but I finally get it.

    The best way I can illustrate what I’ve learned is this: My whole life, I’ve wanted to be a writer. I daydream about the day I’m signed to a publishing deal. I imagine what it’ll be like to hold my first hardcover novel in my hands. I imagine that I’ll be so happy. It’ll be the best day of my life, right? But do I really have to wait until that moment to start to feel happy? And when that day comes, do I want to rely on that single moment to sustain my happiness for the rest of my life? What if I could just be really, really happy today? And tomorrow? And all the days after that?

    I’m not going to pretend I’m the human equivalent of a cup of rainbow sprinkles, but I believe my life is as good or as bad as I choose to see it. I can be happy now. It’s my choice. My life isn’t a sum of all the things that happen to me that I think I have no control over. My life is a sum of the way I choose to see it. And I choose joy.

    Lesson #4: I’ve learned the power of gratitude.

    This is the real secret of my joy. After hearing my teachers speak of gratitude in the app I use for guided meditations, I became more aware of acknowledging all the positive things in my life. It started with a conscious effort to write down a few things I’m grateful for every single morning. Then I added a practice where I thought about the three things I was grateful for that day before I went to sleep every night. When I went out on a run, I tried to consciously find things to appreciate: my legs, my lungs, my heart, the trees, the person who smiled and waved on the other side of the street, the sunshine, the guy who lifted his fist up in the air through his car’s sunroof to cheer me on.

    When things are going badly, it can sometimes be really hard to find things to be thankful for. In these moments, if all I can be grateful for is the air in my lungs, that’s okay. But those days don’t happen very often anymore, as it seems as though the more grateful I feel, the more positive things show up in my life to feel grateful for.

    Post-mountain bike crash – smiling through the pain!

    Lesson #5: I’ve learned how to slow down.

    This is another one that’s taken me a long time to learn. I’m a fast mover. You may not see it because I’m a pretty quiet and gentle person, but I’ve always had kind of a difficult relationship with time. I despise being late, so I’m always in a rush to get out the door to get to my destination early. When I’m hiking or running, I’m always trying to move faster. To go quicker. The destination has always been more important than the journey.

    One of the best things that’s ever happened to me was my mountain bike crash that sent me to the ER on the very first day of a trip to Moab, Utah last October. I couldn’t ride a bike the rest of the trip, and it took me several weeks before I could even walk at a somewhat normal pace. All of our plans for the trip had to be adjusted. Instead of long and arduous hikes, I could only go on very leisurely strolls and scenic drives. And you know what?

    It was okay.

    Better than okay, actually.

    It was incredible.

    At a slower pace, I really opened my eyes and looked out at the world, and I reveled in the beauty that surrounded me. I realized that if I’d been moving at my normal pace, I would’ve missed all of these wondrous sights. I started to lose sight of this lesson over the holidays, but meditation has brought it back to me. Now, sometimes when I’m out running, I’ll purposely find moments to stop and just walk for a few minutes and soak up the beauty of the moment.

    Lesson #6: I’ve learned that contrast is beautiful.

    In theory, I would’ve loved to go my whole life never injuring myself on a mountain bike and having to go to the ER on the first day of vacation. But now in hindsight, I’m kind of glad it happened.

    Experiencing several weeks where my body was limited and in pain helped me to appreciate my healthy body even more.

    Overdrafting my bank account during (and after) college makes me more grateful for any money I do have now.

    Having bad bosses has really made me appreciate the good ones.

    Losing friendships makes me cherish my forever friends even more.

    And experiencing rejection has made success even sweeter.

    As meditation has helped me to shift my default perspective to one of gratitude, I’ve become more and more appreciative of all the times things haven’t worked out the way I planned.

    I am worthy.
    10 Beautiful Life Lessons from Meditation

    Lesson #7: I’ve learned that affirmations are powerful.

    I’ve known about affirmations for a long time, but it wasn’t until they started showing up in my guided meditations that I really began to embrace them. I’m not sure if I can really articulate just how much affirmations mean to me and how much they’ve helped me. Like my journey with gratitude, they started out as something I had to stop and consciously think about. Somewhere along the way, though, they became a part of me. They became real. Now, instead of my mind wandering to negative thoughts, I have this constant soundtrack of positive affirmations echoing through the back of my mind. I’ve become and embraced the very things I’m affirming.

    I am worthy. I am powerful. I am abundant. I am loved. I am beautiful. I am joyful. I am exactly where I need to be. All is really well.

    (If you’d like to add some inspiration to your day, check out my free ebook, 400 Powerful Affirmations Designed to Uplift, Inspire, and Empower Your Highest Self. I’m also always adding new affirmation tools to my Resources page!)

    Lesson #8: I’ve learned that I am worthy and deserving of my dreams.

    This has really come from a combination of affirmations, self-compassion, gratitude, and love—the whole toolkit. The words “worthy” and “deserve” have been roadblocks in my journey that I’ve really had to spend a lot of time with to discover why I’ve had so much trouble with them. Saying that I’m worthy of something or that I deserve something has always sounded so wrong. I should be humble, right? I shouldn’t just go around saying I deserve something. Nobody does that!

    But as I’ve slowly and gently removed some of these protective layers, I’ve learned that saying I deserve or that I’m worthy of something has nothing to do with not being humble. To help me find peace with these words, I started to picture people I love. Do I believe my best friend is worthy and deserving of her dreams? Unequivocally yes! Are my nieces and nephews worthy? Do they deserve immense joy? Heck yes. What about my parents? My siblings? My boyfriend? Yes, yes, and yes. So if all of these people are worthy and deserving, what makes me the exception? I’m not. I am just as deserving as I believe everyone else to be.

    Somebody else's success cannot take away from my own.
    10 Beautiful Life Lessons from Meditation

    Lesson #9: I’ve learned that someone else’s success doesn’t take away from my own.

    I hesitated including this because it reveals one of the uglier things that’s lived inside me. For years, I had a hard time coming to terms with the success of others in the writing community because I felt like they were all getting the thing I dreamed about most. A voice in my head told me I wasn’t good enough, and over many years, I let that voice get louder and louder. I steered clear of the writing community because I didn’t want to watch everyone else succeed when I felt like a failure.

    Deep down, this had nothing to do with anyone else and everything to do with my own insecurities and self-doubt.

    Again, I’m grateful for the contrast now, because I’ve learned that it feels a lot better to be happy for people and cheer them on. If you’ve ever experienced similar negative feelings regarding other people’s success, I can say this with absolute certainty: Nobody else’s success can ever take away from your own. Just because someone else is abundant and thriving doesn’t mean there’s less for you. There is room and space for all of us, and there is an infinite amount of success, happiness, love, creativity, kindness, generosity, and abundance out there. I promise.

    Lesson #10: I’ve learned how to have self-compassion.

    I haven’t had a whole lot of self-compassion throughout my life. And even as I started learning all these different lessons through meditation, I’ve still struggled with self-compassion. Because everything I just listed? I’m not perfect at it all. I’ve had ugly moments. I’ve had moments where I still try to move too fast. I’ve felt crippling anxiety. And to make things worse, I’ve then reprimanded myself for allowing negativity to seep into my life:

    You’re not supposed to be sad right now! Remember, happiness comes from within. You know all the “right” things you’re supposed to do. You have the tools to be happy. What’s wrong with you?

    It’s taken a lot of time and work to learn to have compassion for myself in these down moments. I’ve had to remind myself that I don’t have to be “on” all the time to be loved. I don’t have to accomplish anything to be loved. Even if I never do anything in my life except walk and sit and breathe and think, I get to be loved and love myself every single day.

    Has meditation helped you to uncover any deep inner fears or stories you’ve told yourself? What life lessons from meditation have you learned? Leave a note in the comments below to share your experience!

    Interested in Learning More About Meditation?

    Awesome Meditation Apps

    life lessons from meditation
    10 Beautiful Life Lessons from Meditation