Today’s post comes from an anonymous guest-writer. Kudos, guest-writer, for these tips & insights for giving thanks on a regular basis!
While I know we all have our “off-days” (me included) – and can’t always feel happy (we’re human, after all) – in so many ways, Happiness is a Choice. Overall happiness, that is. And – it stems first from gratitude!
Gratitude Made Simple: Creative Ways To Count Your Blessings
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying count your blessings. It’s a great mood booster and helps you refocus on the positives in your life. You may already follow a daily gratitude practice or keep a journal devoted to this. These are great habits and I encourage you to continue doing them if they work for you. But, what about those days you’re in a major funk and can’t think of much to be thankful for? Or, what if your normal laundry list of things you’re grateful for feels worn-out or stale?
Maybe you need some inspiration to get out of that rut. No worries, it happens to all of us. Counting your blessings should be fun – not a bore, a chore, or some list on speed dial that you repeat because you think you should. Plus, you’re not really getting the benefit unless you’re truly coming from an authentic place and feeling of thankfulness. Let me share some tips that I use when I have ‘gratitude block’ or just want to jazz things up.
Count Those Blessings!
Get in the Moment
- Stop, take a breath, and observe your surroundings.
Use all five senses and locate something in your immediate surrounding that you’re thankful for – something that you can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. You can do this anywhere – at home, at work, in the car, on a walk. Give thanks for all the awesomeness right in front of you!
I’m thankful I can see the beautiful blue sky…I can hear the birds singing…I can feel the comfortable sofa cushion beneath me…I can taste the delicious coffee in my cup…I can smell the subtle fragrance of a burning candle. You get the idea.
- Play Alphabet Soup! Randomly pick a letter from the alphabet and think of 5 things you’re thankful for that start with that letter. If you get on a roll, pick a new letter.
A – I’m thankful for art, animals, amusements parks, autumn, and affection
Take a moment to focus on each item. Why did you pick it? What do you like about it? Can you imagine yourself enjoying it right now? Appreciate that feeling, give thanks, and move on to the next item.
- Play ‘I Spy’… Close your eyes, turn around, and then open them. What’s the first thing you see? Think of 5 things to appreciate about it.
What if you ‘spy’ something you’re not fond of? For example, I’m not a fan of rush-hour traffic (who is)…but if I looked at it from another perspective, could I find 5 things to appreciate and give thanks for? I suppose I could.
- Gives me extra ‘alone time’ I may not otherwise get
- Allows me time to chill and listen to tunes or a podcast I enjoy
- Reminds me that I’m fortunate to have a job to drive home from
- Gives me a chance to practice patience and be present in the moment
- Gives me extra time to play the alphabet soup game J
- Play Remember When? Close your eyes and remember a time that you were sooooooo incredibly happy, OR, think of something that makes you swoon with happiness!
Simply savor this moment and enjoy those groovy, feel-good feelings. The longer you allow yourself to linger here, the higher you raise your vibration and attract more reasons to feel good. Give thanks for the mini-vacation, and revel in the fact that you can revisit these feelings at any time.
People are People
- Think of someone who irritates you – specifically recall one annoying behavior you think they possess. Thank your teacher.
Huh? Keep reading…this is not as backwards as it sounds. Be completely honest with yourself and remember a time you displayed the same or a similar behavior. If that’s a challenge, acknowledge your own capacity to act in the same way. We’re all human. Forgive yourself for judging this person and yourself, and give thanks for your newfound understanding and perspective.
This exercise can be quite humbling. It’s hard to admit to ourselves that the things that drive us nuts about others are sometimes the very things we dislike about ourselves. We need only give thanks for the teacher who showed up, and the opportunity to practice acceptance of ourselves and others.
- Whenever you cross paths with another person, silently bless them and appreciate one thing about them. (Don’t forget yourself!)
Sometimes finding one thing might be quite a feat depending on the person, but get creative if you need to! I know you can find something. Give thanks silently or aloud if you choose. You never know if a compliment might make someone’s entire day – don’t hold out! If the person is a stranger, you can simply be thankful for their unique expression in the world.
This exercise is beyond easy and feels great to do! How awesome is it to know that you are blessing and appreciating countless people and they have no idea? Very cool.
I hope you’re feeling a little more inspired about finding creative ways to look for the good stuff, especially if you’ve been in a funk. No more ‘gratitude block’ or the same-old, same-old. I challenge you to try one or all of these exercises as you move throughout your day. Why not give it a try right now? If you have kids, why not include them in on the fun? It can be a great way to interact with them while instilling a practice of gratitude. Either way, it just feels good! You have tons of opportunities to count your blessings if you only look for them. With that said, I’m ever so grateful for The Vitality Lounge community and the time you took to read this post.