As the bustle of the holidays winds down, I’ve found that squeezing in a moment or two of gratitude refuels my creative energy. With more energy coming from within, I also feel I have a lot more to give.
A pause to pay attention, which can be playful and silly, is all it takes to be thankful for the present moment. It can be layered over everyday activities, training your brain to focus on those things you appreciate. Here are five fun cues to focus your mind on gratitude:
1. As you take note of the weather:
Look outside—what’s the weather like today? Whether rain and storm or sunshine and still, there’s always an angle to find something to be thankful for.
Thank you to the crisp cold day, for you make my tea and sweater extra delightful and cozy.
2. As you brush your teeth:
This is a great time to focus your mind on appreciating the health of your body. It’s a way to remind yourself of all the parts of your that are working for you all the time, often unnoticed until something isn’t functioning right.
Thank you to my teeth, for you make it so easy for me to enjoy all the good food that I eat.
3. As you water your plants and/or feed your pets:
Take a few deep, grounding breaths, then truly look at your plants or your pets with undivided attention. Say hello, and tell them why you’re grateful for them. Feel the appreciation you have for them reflected back at you, as they say thank you too.
Thank you to my fern, for you bring beauty to my home and fresh air that I greatly enjoy.
4. As you walk:
Whether walking the dog, going to work, or simply strolling through your home, it is a perfect time for expressing gratitude. It can be as simple as repeating the words Thank you with each step, or you can notice specifics about the day that you’re appreciative of.
Thank you to the trees that line the streets, for you uplift my energy with your vibrantly colorful leaves.
5. As you turn on your phone:
Isn’t it amazing how our little pocket devices can connect us to everyone all over the world? They unlock learning, laughter, and all kinds of ways to create. Taking a moment to feel grateful—for anything in your life—each time you go to check your phone or even computer is an easy way to start mixing grateful moments throughout your day.
Thank you to my phone, for you keep me connected, creative, and up-to-date on all that’s happening in the world.
Making gratitude a daily habit, a planned pattern for your thoughts, is known to be very good for you. The trick is to remember to pay attention, to pause, and to purposefully appreciate something specific in your life.
Give it a try right now: Slowly take a few deep breaths. Start with a simple repetition of Thank you, thank you, thank you. Then, fill in this phrase: “I am thankful for _____, because __________________.”