Tracy Winchell

How to find gratitude from a Mad Libs ripoff

published9 months ago
2 min read


Hope you're well this week. If you're struggling physically or emotionally, perhaps today's article about using a gratitude script will be at least incrementally helpful to you.

Here on the Arkansas/Oklahoma border, it's been busy. Juggling physical therapy appointments with daily homework assignments on non-PT days is quite the shock for my body. Feels good to have some muscle soreness.

I'm also having fun building a new self-paced course for the digital journaling side of my list, and working on a wonderful cohort experience with my friend Ramses Oudt.

Today's focus, though, is gratitude. It's a bit of a Mad Libs practice I learned from a terrific tiny book.

Enjoy this excerpt from my ebook, Tame Your Monkey Mind: 7 Journaling Stacks for Engaging Your Rational Brain.


This practice is surprisingly effective and it comes straight from Dr. Robert A. Emmons' The Little Book of Gratitude.

Gratitude is not just good medicine, though, a nice sentiment, a warm fuzzy feeling, or a strategy or tactic for being happier or healthier. It is also the truest approach to life. We did not create or fashion ourselves, and we did not get to where we are in life by ourselves. So living in gratitude is living in truth. It is the most accurate and honest approach to life.
- Dr. Robert A. Emmons, Little Book of Gratitude

Remember MadLibs: The World’s Greatest Word Game?

These were little tablets filled with quick stories made ridiculous when the holder of the tablet asked for “adjectives,” “verbs,” or “plural nouns.”

They were wonderful for road trips, as long as someone in the car was immune from motion sickness.

This script from The Little Book of Gratitude is a fill-in-the- blank system that helps us remember that, like the previous quote says, “we did not get to where we are in life by ourselves.”

The “Mad Libs for Gratitude” helps us to “live in truth.”

Copy and paste it digitally, or rewrite it in your notebook, filling in the blanks as you go.

The other day, I felt really glad when
_____ (name or describe the person in your reflection).
Took the time, or made the effort to
_____ (say what the person did).
I know this person could have _____
(another path she or he could have taken).
But lucky for me, she/he chose to _____ (another brief description of what she or he did).
This action _____ (say how it affected you - practically).
And it made me feel _____ (say how it affected you, personally).
Thank you, _____ (identify the person again).

Need help?

Earth is a pretty traumatic place to live right now, isn't it?

If you're struggling with thoughts of self-harm or you're thinking about giving up, please do reach out to a mental health pro or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.


If I can be of service to you by helping you with a journaling sequence to help you sort out a problem, hit reply. I'll do my best to offer some suggestions.

In the meantime, I'll be in touch in a week.


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