When we visited our friends in Arizona in February they introduced us to their dinnertime gratitude practice. We decided to bring the practice home as a souvenir from our trip. It’s a simple daily routine that we now refer to as The Gratitudes and it has made a palpable difference in our outlook. Next time you share a meal with someone, give it a try! It’s a great exercise for the Thanksgiving season.
- Before you begin your meal, join hands (or not)
- Reflect on the past 24 hours and share 3-7 things or events that you are grateful for
- Bonus points for expressing appreciation for something your dinner-mate(s) have done
- As you speak or listen, smile!
- While you eat, expound on one or two of your Gratitudes
- The world needs more good news and your grateful story is a good place to start!
What If It Was A Really Bad Day?
It’s particularly beneficial to remember the little sources of gratefulness at the end of a bad day. Often times we fail to see simple things that make life just a little more pleasant. Think of all the people involved in making each of your daily meals possible. Pay attention to every little gesture of kindness: the stranger that holds the door open, the neighbor that smiles and says hello, or the co-worker who brings in cookies. If human behavior is a source of disappointment, look to the multiple gifts that nature provides. Check out the intricate design of a spider web or stop to examine the colors and patterns of an unusual flower or leaf.
What If I Typically Eat by Myself?
If you have a pet, share your gratitudes with her or him. Pets have a remarkable ability to listen attentively without interrupting.
Call a friend and share your thankful thoughts with each other at the end of each day. Make that the focus of your conversation, even on days when one or the other of you needs to vent. This will give you both something to look forward to each day.
Another idea is to keep a gratitude journal. Before you go to bed at night, write about a few of the events that made you smile that day. You’ll thank yourself later when you sit down to review your tales of good fortune.
Change In Outlook
It doesn’t take many days of practicing The Gratitudes before you notice a shift in perspective. Knowing that you will be sharing your gratefulness at the end of the day, you’ll notice things that you may have taken for granted before. And each time you notice something new, you’ll feel happy to add it to your daily list. Sharing good news is something to look forward to!
What Do You See?
As your gratitude muscle strengthens, you realize that your habitual thoughts impact how you see the world.
As John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury, wisely said,
What we see depends mainly on what we look for.
Practicing The Gratitudes, or whatever gratefulness practice suits your fancy, will help you to look on bright side!
Irreverence aside, this tune is incredibly catchy – especially if you like to whistle:
Since it’s the Thanksgiving season, what are some of the things you’re thankful for?
Any favorite gratitude practices you’d like to recommend?