One of the most powerful things I have begun to do recently is a very simple gratitude practice. This began as I was recuperating from a third operation on my back in six months, and spending a lot of time reflecting, reading and discovering podcasts. One was The Tim Ferris Show, and an episode in particular where he discusses keeping a gratitude journal.
My initial reaction was of the ‘Yeah, right’ variety. But that is our brain’s default reaction to new and scary. So I decided to give myself a week and stick with it to see if I could detect any changes in myself.
The practice I now subscribe to is very simple. Each morning, following my own mindfulness practice, I write down three things for which I am grateful. I select one from each of the following categories:
1 – a relationship, past or present – or a moment within one
2 – an opportunity, past, present of future
3 – a material object in my immediate vicinity (this one is easy and fun, but also has the serious element of getting me to reflect on stuff and what I need)
With each choice, I sit down and consider what I’m actually grateful for, take a moment to picture each one in my mind and ask myself, why am I grateful for this? I try to connect with the feeling of gratitude in my body, as well as my rational mind’s explanation of why I am grateful (which I record in a journal).
Can you identity just one thing you’re grateful for, right now? Bring an open mind to it and see what you notice.