In one of the workshops I lead, we have an exercise where each person lists the blessings in their life. When they finish writing, I ask them to sit quietly, reflecting on their fortune. It is a powerful experience that they really enjoy. Below I offer several practices you can do on your own (or with your family or friends) to experience more gratitude in your life.
“‘Let me light the lamp,’ says the star, ‘And never debate if it will help to remove the darkness.'”
~ Rabindranath Tagore
- Write a list of your blessings. Display it prominently so you can reflect on it regularly and add other things you are grateful for as you notice them.
- Have a daily gratitude ritual. In our family we share at least one thing for which we’re thankful out loud during our evening meal.
- Write a “thank you” letter to yourself, acknowledging your gifts. Let your gratitude flow. If you want, read it aloud while looking at yourself in a mirror (it’s powerful stuff).
- Share wishes or blessings with your friends. Write out several blessings on a sheet of paper (leaving some space between each one). Then, cut the paper so that there is one blessing per slip. Fold each one, placing it in a container of some sort. Invite friends to select a paper from the bunch when they come to visit.
- Keep a gratitude journal in which you write down things you are thankful for.
- Tell your family why you’re grateful to have them in your life. A fun way to do this is to think of three or four fond memories you have that involve them. Then call them up or drop them a note recounting these bygone experiences.
- Give someone a sincere compliment. You might choose someone you don’t usually acknowledge or focus on an area you aren’t usually paying attention to.
- Keep any “thank you notes” or written acknowledgements you receive (at work or home). Open them up once in awhile to remind yourself of how much you’re appreciated.
- Say a daily prayer of thanks, asking for nothing, simply acknowledging what you are grateful for.
- Create an altar where you can put (symbolically or literally) things for which you are grateful. For instance, if you are grateful for love and beautiful flowers, you could put a paper heart or the word love on the altar along with a cut or dried flower.