I’m exited to offer a “mini-series” of three posts sharing gratitude exercises that I find fun, meaningful and uplifting. These brief and surprisingly easy writing exercises keep your gratitude practice fresh and inspiring. Look for the next two, coming soon!
Why Do This?
Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.
~ Henry Van Dyke
Meaningful expressions of gratitude benefit us in at least eight ways. So yes, expressing gratitude is good for us, good for others around us, and feel good too!
Still, knowing something is good for me isn’t always enough to get me to do it. I admit it: unless I enjoy and look forward to a gratitude practice, and unless I really feel it working, I have a way of letting it go. For example, I find I don’t get a lot from the popular advice about listing three things I’m grateful for at the end of each day. If you do, that is terrific. Please keep doing it!
In case you’d like to try some different approaches, here’s one that can serve many purposes.
Expressing Gratitude Using the Six A’s of Mindful Writing
This week’s exercise makes gratitude the focus of an exercise called The 6 A’s of Mindful Writing.
Set aside about 20 minutes at a time of day works best for you. Find a spot where you won’t be interrupted.
Sit quietly for a minute or two, and bring to mind something you are grateful for. The first few things that cross your mind might be a bit broad or general. I tend to first come up with very general things like: my family, my health, my community, and that’s fine for starters!
Try for something more specific, more personally meaningful. It can be something very ordinary (in fact, that’s wonderful!) or something of great importance. Ask yourself what it is that makes this something you’re deeply grateful for.
One of my own more specific examples is the gratitude I feel for a new monthly group organized by local crafting enthusiasts. Their goals are for us all to share what we know, for us to help each other and to let us all experience the quiet joy of creating in a community of other enthusiasts.
Visualize and Write
Hold in mind something you’re grateful for, picturing it as clearly and in as much detail as you can. Use sentence stems that follow to explore the gratitude you experience.
A few tips:
Allow yourself write freely and easily, without censorship or self-editing. Say what you truly think and feel, allowing your words to flow, and allow the writing to lead you where it wishes to go.
Set a timer as you begin each prompt and spending about 3 minutes on each. It’s perfectly fine to spend less time or more if you like. If you run out of things to write before the timer goes off, keep writing anyway, even if it’s just “I can’t think of anything more.” Something more might emerge that surprises and enlightens!
Holding in mind that which I’m grateful for, …
- I am aware of _________________________
- I pay attention to _______________________
- I accept that ___________________________
- I appreciate that ________________________
- I have affection for _______________________
- I affirm that _____________________________
Let me know how it goes!
Dave Ursillo has a great blog at daveorsillo.com. His post 7 Mindful Writing Prompts lead me to write this one. https://daveursillo.com/7-mindful-writing-prompts/
My teacher and mentor John Evans http://www.wellnessandwritingconnections.com developed the 6 A’s of Mindful Writing.
I’m grateful to them both for being who they are and doing what they do.