3 New Ways to Think About Gratitude

Even when your world has been upended, there are simple but powerful ways to find blessings in your daily life.

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Gratitude

It might be a challenge to think of things you're grateful for at the moment. But scientific research supports what grateful people know—that taking the time to look inward and express gratitude makes us happier and less stressed.

A gratitude practice is actually simple to start. It could be keeping a blank journal where you record a single item each day you are grateful for—something as big as a promotion at work, or as small as the sudden sunshine of a spring afternoon. If the written journal is too much, you can make gratitude the last “task” you do before you go to sleep at night, just a little passing thought that can rest for a moment on something that enriches your life.

 

Even in these trying times, I’m eager to grow my gratitude practice, and that means coming at it from new angles. A consistent goal as I walk my positive path is to be more mindful of the joy and goodness that is all around me, if only I would notice it. Questions that prompt me to look in unexpected places for sources of gratitude are a helpful part of that process.

See if these three prompts might bring a new breadth and depth to your gratitude experience:

1) Choose someone in your life (a family member, friend, neighbor, colleague or the even the person who delivers your packages) and ask, “What would this person say they are grateful for in me?” Perhaps you are a support, or you made that person laugh recently, or you always return emails in a timely fashion or greet them in a friendly way. See yourself through someone else’s grateful eyes.

2) Think about your body, and find a part of yourself to be grateful for. It could be your legs that carry you through your day, your hands that create and communicate and soothe and love, or it could be the brain you use to learn and share.

3) Look around your home and think about the item in it that no one else would likely notice, but that brings you the most joy. Maybe the tiny grater you use to zest a lemon, a vase that you pull out when you bring home flowers, the taste of your favorite toothpaste, or the paper clips you keep in an orderly little corner of your desk. The smaller, the better—while you’re looking, I’m guessing you’ll come across a lot of items that are deserving of your gratitude.

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