Here it is — the the third and last post in my mini-series offering easy-to-do gratitude practices.
There are three steps to this week’s practice, which is about slowing down to make space for gratitude. I found I could do these within 15 minutes.
The Three Steps
Start by focusing on something you naturally see or experience in your day-to-day life, something you might not usually give much attention to. Perhaps:
Step One. Slowing down. Give yourself time to relax your body, and open your mind and senses. Taking a few minutes for some deep, slow breaths is one of the easiest ways to do this.
Step Two. Shifting perspective. Seeing an everyday moment or object in a new way can help you deepen gratitude for it. Here’s a couple of examples of how to do that. Holding the everyday object or experience in mind:
- Ask yourself, “What if I were seeing this for the first time? What would I make of it?” Or “What if this were to be the last time I would __________[see this or do this]. What would be important to remember about this?”
- Show a visitor your home, or your neighborhood. Take a friend to a favorite spot – a park, a museum, a local shop. What do they exclaim about?
- Watch a 1-year old for a few hours. Notice how they react to the most ordinary of objects and experiences. Could you bring that kind of intense curiosity to the experience or object you’re thinking of?
Step Three. Expressing Gratitude. Expressing your thoughts and feelings heightens your attention to and awareness of gratitude. Holding the everyday experience or object in mind, express gratitude for it through free writing, through a visual means like drawing, doodling, or collaging – or with some combination of these.
Try the way you are most drawn to….or be paradoxical and pick the approach that seems least appealing. You might be surprised at what you discover when you choose a way to express yourself that you think you’re not good at, or usually don’t enjoy.
Whichever you choose, let the words spill out on the page, or the images flow. They might take you in some unexpected directions. Don’t edit or try to create something perfect. What you come up with may be pretty messy and disorganized! That’s okay. You are the only intended audience for whatever you create.
Take a few minutes to contemplate your work, what messages it holds for you, to savor the feelings expressed and evoked.
Ready to Try A Fourth Step?
Would you like to take this practice one step further? Contact me, and I’ll send you the optional fourth step that builds on the first three!
Sources and Credit
Lyubomirsky, S. (2007). The how of happiness. New York, N.Y.: Penguin Books