There are lots and lots and lots of articles about the power of practicing gratitude, along with how we can start, especially around the holiday season. And when we see so much about a topic, we tend to write it off and start ignoring it. It becomes a buzzword, and feels like a fad we don’t want any part of.
But what’s great is that you can be thankful on your own terms (like anything really), and you can make gratitude a genuinely fun part of your day. Below are nine ideas to try. If you have kids, see if they’d like to play along, too.
- Every day, doodle three things that you’re grateful for.
- Snap a photo of anything that makes you smile today. Just one thing. A beautiful flower. A sprinkling of snow. A funny quote. The sunrise. The stars. Your spouse.
- Create a jar of gratitude. Use any jar you have at home (or buy a mason jar at the Dollar Store). Challenge yourself to write down 100 things you’re grateful for on 100 tiny pieces of paper. If they’re interested, get your loved ones involved, too. Then after you’re done, every day or whenever you need it, take out one tiny piece to read. As you do, breathe in that blessing.
- Put yourself in the shoes of a 3-year-old. What would 3-year-old you be astounded by in this world? Jot down your response in a journal (or toss it in your gratitude jar).
- Leave love-filled sticky notes for your family and friends to find in random places.
- Create categories and find what you’re thankful for for each one. For instance, your categories might include: people, nature, experiences, work, my body. Maybe you’re grateful for your best friend who asks “how are you?” and actually waits to hear the real answer. Maybe you’re grateful for today’s sky, even though it’s foggy, because it’s still absolutely breathtaking. Maybe you’re grateful for a supervisor who always has your back. Maybe you’re grateful for your legs, which let you take a refreshing walk.
- Every morning, spend a few minutes jotting down: “I will let go of … I am grateful for … I will focus on …” (from the journal Two Minute Mornings.)
- Take a small notebook with you everywhere. Challenge yourself to include a) something silly; b) a mini miracle; and c) something you learned.
- Look at today as though you love everything about it.
During the last few months of his life, Oliver Sacks wrote four essays that were published posthumously in the book Gratitude. In one essay, he writes, “My predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved. I have been given much and I have given something in return. Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.”
What would happen if you lived your life as though it were an enormous privilege and adventure? Of course, there are many difficult days, because life can be difficult and devastating. But on most days, or on some days, or here and there, what if you remained in awe of being a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet?