As the bustle of the holiday season takes us by storm, squeezing in a moment or two of gratitude can refuel your creative energy. With more energy coming from within, you may find you have more to give to others.
A pause to pay attention, which can be playful and silly, is all it takes to be thankful for the present moment. It can be layered over everyday activities, training your brain to focus on those things you appreciate. Here are some ways to focus your mind on gratitude.
As you take note of the weather, look outside. What’s the weather like today? Whether rain and storm or sunshine and still, there’s always an angle to find something to be thankful for. Thank you for the crisp cold day, for you make my tea and sweater extra delightful and cozy.
As you brush your teeth, focus your mind on appreciating the health of your body. It’s a way to remind yourself of all the parts of yourself that are working for you all the time, often unnoticed until something isn’t functioning right. Thank you to my teeth, for you make it so easy for me to enjoy all the good food I eat.
As you water your plants (and/or feed your pets), take a few deep, grounding breaths, then truly look at them with undivided attention. Say hello and tell them why you’re grateful for them. Feel the appreciation you have for them reflected back at you, as they say thank you, too. Thank you to my fern, for you bring beauty to my home and fresh air that I greatly enjoy.
As you walk, whether walking the dog, going to work or simply strolling through your home, it is a perfect time for expressing gratitude. It can be as simple as repeating the words “thank you” with each step or you can notice specifics about the day that you’re appreciative of. Thank you to the trees that line the streets, for you uplift my energy with your vibrantly colorful leaves.
As you turn on your phone, realize how amazing it is that our devices can connect us to people all over the world. They unlock learning, laughter and all kinds of ways to create. Taking a moment to feel grateful–for anything in your life–each time you go to check your phone or even computer is an easy way to start mixing grateful moments throughout your day. Thank you to my phone, for you keep me connected, creative and up-to-date on all that’s happening in the world.
Making gratitude a daily habit, a planned pattern for your thoughts, is known to be very good for you. The trick is to remember to pay attention, to pause and to purposefully appreciate something specific in your life.
Give it a try right now. Slowly take a few deep breaths. Start with a simple repetition of “thank you, thank you, thank you.” Then, fill in this phrase “I am thankful for _______ because __________.”
Mackenzie Bakewell is an artist and author based in the Pacific Northwest. Find her work at JourneyofColors.com.
Photo: One of Mackenzie Bakewell’s gratitude spots where she journals, draws and colors.