Ask yourself different questions to bring out the full breadth and depth of your gratitude practice.
Posted in , Nov 17, 2017
Thanksgiving week is the prime moment of the year for taking a look at our lives and asking, “what am I grateful for?” Even if the list is long, it can always be longer—that’s the power and beauty of gratitude. 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 couldn’t be easier to start. It could be as simple as 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 crisp fall 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.
This Thanksgiving, 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 3 prompts I’m reflecting on this week might bring a new breadth and depth to your gratitude experience this Thanksgiving:
1. Choose someone in your life (a family member, friend, neighbor, colleague or favorite waiter!) 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.
In 2001, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wasn’t a good candidate for chemo. I took tamoxifen instead and gave my trouble to God—just as Dr. Peale suggested in his book, "Thought Conditioners". Since then I’ve remained cancer free. -Guideposts Magazine reader