Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. – William Arthur Ward
I hope you are enjoying the festive spirit of the holidays!
If you feel you’re getting too stressed out about everything – the family dramas, shopping, too much spending, too many obligations and not enough time for yourself… I invite you to take a moment to give thanks.
Every new day is a gift in the best and worst times. Pausing to give thanks, even when you feel there’s “nothing” to be grateful for, will completely change the way you see the world!
When you woke up today did you feel grateful for the day ahead or anxious of what was to come?
I have a wonderful exercise to share with you. I know this is a very busy time of year, but I promise you, this exercise will uplift you and let you relax and enjoy the holidays.
Write down 15 of your favorite things. Here are some examples of things I love:
- a great book
- being still (meditating)
- a country walk on a brisk morning
- a strong cup of fresh coffee (that first sip!)
- a giggle with a loved one
- reminiscing over old family photo albums
- when a song comes on at exactly the right time with the right message
- doing a kindness for someone with no expectation of anything in return
- clean socks
- when the birds start chirping before dawn
- petrichor: the smell of the earth after it rains
- the velvety touch of a horse’s muzzle
- a child’s laughter
- the smell of a campfire
- cooking with a loved one
It only took me a few minutes to come up with this list and in that time, I went from stressed out (because I’m just like you!) to calm and happy. In truth, the hardest part was not listing a thousand other things I love! But to keep this exercise simple and powerful as a daily practice, 15 things will do.
After having written your 15 things, how do you feel? Great, right? And grateful! How marvelous that you have, or experience, these things!
Writing down these things that you love will immediately elicit positive feelings in you. Just thinking about what you loves calms you, lowers your blood pressure, quiets your racing mind, and makes you see that indeed, no matter what chaos is going on around you, there is a lot to be grateful for!
Sometime when you feel especially blue, take 15 votive candles into a dark room. Light just one – that candle represents gratitude for one thing (or person or experience). If you are in a dark, dark room (that represents anger, anxiety or hurt) and a single candle is lit, suddenly there is hope, right? Suddenly, you feel a lifting of spirit and the world doesn’t feel so bleak. That single candle represents the power of gratitude. Now if you are grateful for one small thing, GREAT. Start lighting the rest of the candles, each time naming something you’re grateful for. By the time you light 15 candles of gratitude, the room becomes surprisingly bright!
Also check out this video: Gratitude Exercise Video – Inspirational Video