How much do you have to be grateful for in your life? Even if things are going sideways and life is dumping a big steaming pile o’ trouble on your head, you’d probably be surprised at just how much there is when you really pay attention.
The other day as I headed out to a coffee shop to do some work, I decided to do an experiment and spend the trip there noticing things I could be grateful for. What came out of it was simple, always-available gratitude practice I want to share with you.
None of what I came up with was earth-shattering. It didn’t leave me quivering in gratitudinal bliss (yeah, I know that’s not really a word, but it should be). But it did keep my attention focused on what’s positive and just how much there is to be thankful for when I make the effort to notice.
A partial list, from what I can remember:
- My home – a place to stay warm and dry
- My car – allowing me to easily get from here to there
- The beautiful fall day
- The colors of the leaves
- The fact that coffee was there and so readily available to me
- The fact that I was noticing so many things to be grateful for
- My health and mobility
- The physical sensations in my body as my muscles worked to shift gears in my car
- Coffee (oh wait, did I say that already? I think it’s worth another mention.)
I realized what I was doing was a kind of gratitude-based mindfulness practice. Since then I have been finding small pockets of time – a trip to the store, a walk in the park, doing the dishes – to play with the idea.
I love so many things about this practice, like:
- It’s bite-sized. It’s small enough that you can immerse yourself and stay focused on gratitude for the duration.
- It can be applied any time, anywhere. You don’t have to make a special time to sit and do a gratitude meditation, or write in a gratitude journal. You just do it as you go about your business doing things you would already be doing.
- You can do it multiple times per day. The bite-sized nature of it means you can play with it again and again and again in any given day.
- It helps build a gratitude habit. The more you focus on gratitude, the more you will find to be grateful for. This is a great way to condition yourself to notice gratitude opportunities.
Try it out! And when you do, I would love to hear how it goes.
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