Are you grateful? How often do you feel gratitude?
It’s ThanksGiveMeMoreToEat day! The first thing thing most people think about when they hear the word “Thanksgiving” is food. Then maybe they think about the logistics of travel and seeing everyone they want to see. On the day itself, people reflect on the year and find different ways to express gratitude. Usually when people do this it makes them feel good.
It’s interesting how this holiday prompts us to be thankful. We know it’s Thanksgiving day, we respond by expressing gratitude and then we get this feeling of quiet contentment. But we only do it once a year…
What if instead of this yearly reminder you had a daily reminder. What if instead of a daily reminder you had five reminders a day? Would that get tiresome? Would you start ignoring the prompt, or would it bring you more contentment?
I’ve been experimenting with gratitude practice for a few years in these two ways:
- A daily gratitude list
- Gratitude checkpoints
There are more and more studies which link gratitude practice with well-being. The cool thing is, you can easily test this. You can find out for yourself if it’s true or not by practicing it and seeing what happens.
Daily gratitude list
Every morning I write down things I’m grateful for. The list usually looks something like this:
- My broken foot is completely healed
- Eating an amazing breakfast of leftovers with Melissa
- My parents are healthy
- I have a daily meditation practice
- The website is finally is up and running
- Music in my life!
- Listening, playing, composing and teaching
It’s usually the same few things with a change in order. So metimes the list is longer and detailed with more sub-bullet points. So metimes it’s just a quick acknowledgment of something right before me.
If I miss a day, I actually notice that I tend to be more anxious about things. Maybe it’s just that I’m a creature of habit and that I get thrown off when I leave the routine. But the gratitude list really seems to help.
I also have a few “gratitude checkpoints” throughout the day. This is just a short pause to reflect on something I’m grateful for. It usually starts with something that is present, like an activity I like or a friend.
- Waking up and laying down to sleep
- Sometimes I’ll list things I’m grateful for in my mind.
- So metimes I’ll just say, “Thanks for everything, no complaints whatsoever.” I learned this from a story about a zen monk who would say it any time something appears in the mind or in the world.
- Before and after meals
- I usually do this silently, but sometimes with people I’ll say something to the effect of, “This food looks amazing! Happy to be here with you guys eating right now.”
- Before practicing music
- Say to yourself, “How amazing is it that I get to play music right now? How fortunate am I to be doing something I really enjoy?”
At times it feels a bit “fake it til you make it.” I may not feel good about things. I may not be feeling grateful at all. But I just write the list anyway. It seems to help.
After doing these two practices awhile, I started to notice that I spontaneously feel grateful for things. Like the feeling of the sun on my skin, a nice dinner at a friend’s house or a good run in the afternoon.
Now that it’s almost Thanksgiving I’m even more aware of all these things. I’m also aware of the grumbling feeling in my stomach as I think of all the amazing food I’ll soon be eating. And overeating ?
It’s taken me years of work to get to the point in which I can work at music full time. I’m extremely grateful to you for this.As a small expression of thanks to you, I want to offer a 20% discount on either a Premium or Ultimate Yearly Subscription. Just go to the subscription page and use the coupon code: Thanksfiddling. It is valid until November 26. If you currently have a subscription that is ending soon, you can re-subscribe now at a discount.
Alright, thanks for reading. And thanks for everything, no complaints whatsoever!