The “Losing It All” Exercise
to Help Foster an
“Attitude of Gratitude”

Gratitude is a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation.
(also known as It’s a Wonderful Life)

This website has approached the subject of gratitude in many ways, since it is such an essential component of creating the happiest possible life (the fundamental goal of this BeHappy! system).

Unfortunately, many of us are so caught up in dealing with the “challenges” of life, that we take the great things we already have for granted.

As part of the process to creating a consistent “attitude of gratitude”, there are many things we can do. One of them is the “Losing It All” Exercise. Here’s what it is:

On a piece of paper, list – and briefly describe - the major things you have right now in your life. Just the "major" things. Things like your current home, car, job, friends, pets, kids, etc.

I have provided a simple template for you to use if you want, which you can print out and fill out. Or you can just make a list on a sheet of paper. It doesn’t matter how you do it. Just make sure to write down the major things in your life right now.

If you want to use the template, click here

Once you have this list of the major things in your life, look it over and notice how you feel about these things. Is your car the “greatest” car you would ever want? Is your house “perfect”? Are your relationships a “10” on a scale of 1 to 10? Are your children the best they can be?

Chances are, not everything is exactly the way you would want. And for many people, it’s far from it. The house needs work or is too small; the kids are a challenge (especially if they’re teenagers); and the car could have been replaced a while ago.

Again, notice how you feel about these things. On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the “value” or “quality” of these things to you overall? Write the number down. For most people, the number will be somewhere between 5 and 8. Some may be even lower – much lower.

Now, close your eyes – and picture in your mind that everything on that list you just made was taken away from you. It’s all gone - the car, the friends, the house, the furniture, even the kids – everything. Now how do you feel?


If you really think about it – and really feel the sensation of losing it all – if you’re like most people, you feel pretty bad; even if the “things” you had in your life were not all that great (like a 4 or 5 rating on that 1 to 10 scale).

Now, once you really have that feeling of "losing it all", imagine that everything you had before was suddenly given back to you – the same house, the same car, the same friends - everything. Imagine how you would feel.

Now, with this feeling, how would you rate the things in your life now on that 1 to 10 scale? Most people’s rating goes up substantially. Like from a 5 to a 9, or a 4 to an 8. It’s amazing how the contrast makes everything you have right now seem so much better, more valuable, and more appreciated.

This is just like the message in my all-time favorite movie called It’s a Wonderful Life. My wife and I (and many of our family members) watch this movie every year during the holiday season. It’s a great movie – made in the 1940’s – starring Jimmy Stewart (who is given a "real life" losing it all exercise). If you haven’t seen it, go out and rent it right away. It will make you feel great – and grateful – about the things you have in your life today.

So use this “Losing it All” exercise and watch It’s a Wonderful Life whenever you feel you’re taking things for granted and when your life doesn’t seem to be the way you want it.

With this exercise, and the many other tools found on this website, in the BeHappy! Newsletter, and in the BeHappy! book, you’ll become a very grateful, much happier person.

BeHappy! my friends


Other gratitude-building tools:

The "Three Great Things" Exercise

Take Pictures and Create "Moments"

The "You Don't Have it Bad" Exercise