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A simple gratitude practice

A simple gratitude practice

A daily gratitude practice is an easy but extremely powerful habit. I’ve been doing it in the last couple of years, and I find it to be one of the keys to my general well-being.

Here’s the exercise. It’s simple. 

  • Take a minute or two of your day to think about three things you are grateful for at that moment.
  • Pick two broader and more significant items (for example, gratitude for your family member, a friend, your job, the place you are now, etc.).
  • A third item should be small, something less obvious and often taken for granted (for example, warm rays of the sun, beautiful sounds of the rain, a cup of coffee you are about to have, the fact that you can access the internet, the shirt you are wearing, etc.).
  • Visualize the things you are expressing gratitude for (trust me, this is easier than you maybe think it is).
  • Finishing the exercise by quickly repeating those three things (a recap).
  • Make sure that each time you come up with a different set of items (you can be as specific or as general as you want). That way you will practice your gratitude muscle, and probably start finding many different things that you can be grateful for.

I try to do this exercise at least once a day. Currently, I do it immediately after my morning mindfulness meditation. Most often, I feel centered after meditating, so going from there to the gratitude practice feels natural. Also, a great opportunity is just before bedtime, by quickly reviewing the day and picking three items you’ll express your gratitude towards.

But why can gratitude be so powerful?

As Tony Robbins explains: “Gratitude is the antidote to the things that mess us up. You can’t be angry and grateful simultaneously. You can’t be fearful and grateful simultaneously. So, gratitude is the solution to both anger and fear.”

Here’s a simple challenge. If you currently don’t have a gratitude practice, start now, and keep doing it for just seven days. Spend only one minute per day. That’s seven minutes of your week. It’s a low investment, with a potentially high ROI. Try it.


Image used for the illustration: In Quiet Prayer., 1880. [Augusta, Maine: Published by True & Co. Augusta Maine] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress.

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