…practicing gratitude is how we acknowledge that there’s enough and we’re enough.
~Brené Brown, Daring Greatly
In the rush and pressure of our daily lives, we might feel like there’s never enough time to do everything we need to do. Or that we somehow are not efficient enough, focused enough or determined enough to get it all done.
- There is enough time do what matters most?
- We we are enough, just as we are, to take care of what is most important?
- We helped ourselves to notice what we most deeply appreciate?
Awareness of gratitude, and expressing it, says Brené Brown, helps us recognize what we do have. It helps us tolerate the vulnerability, the awareness of possible loss, that accompanies joy. Allowing ourselves to experience joy strengthens our hope and resilience, contributing to feeling good and doing well (2012). We can keep gratitude in our awareness using brief, regular practices.
I like practices that are brief enough to do every day, even when my life is super-busy. One of these is a well-known gratitude practice – listing 1-3 things from the day that we’re grateful for. After making the list, describe what is important about the three items. Many people – though not all – find it helpful.
These are some other gratitude practices that I’ve been using lately:
The Six A’s of Mindful Writing – Focused on Gratitude
Mindful writing is writing that appreciates the richness of ourselves and the world we live in as they truly are, as a beginner might see the world for the first time, as a child encountering the softness of its blanket for the first time.
~ John Evans
Bring to mind one of your best life experiences, or if you prefer, one of your most difficult. Use these sentence stems, called The Six A’s of Mindful Writing, to identify what within that experience you are most grateful for.
- I am aware of _______________
- I pay attention to ____________
- I accept that ________________
- I appreciate that______________
- I have affection for ____________
- I affirm that __________________
Try writing for two minutes per prompt. See where the writing leads. There may be some surprises! Express your thoughts and feelings openly, honestly and deeply.
Expressing Gratitude Toward Another
Truly appreciating someone means valuing her, being grateful for her, savoring your time with her, and remaining keenly aware of the goodness she has brought into your life.
~ Sonja Lyubomirsky, The Myths of Happiness
Think of someone who has made all the difference in your life. Write that person a note, email, or letter expressing to them how they ave impacted you.
If it’s possible, and you wish to, send the message or letter, or arrange to talk to that person and read them the letter.
Expressing Gratitude Toward Yourself
Gratitude is not a passive response to something we have been given, gratitude arises from paying attention, from being awake in the presence of everything that lives within us and without us.
~ David Whyte, Consolations
Each day for a week, write down one thing about yourself that you are grateful for. [Click to Tweet]
This is an excellent way to tone down the voice of your Inner Critic, and tune in to your Inner Encourager. It might be a little hard to do at first. One way to get past that is to write to yourself in the second person. “You are ________ or “You do ______.” Or try the third person: “Dear Nancy, I am grateful to you for the way you ___________.”
Try using one or more of these practices regularly for a week or two, and see if it brings about any changes in how you feel, what you think, how you see the world or in what you do.
Brown, B. (2012). Daring greatly. New York: Penguin Group.
Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash