On my daily habit list is to verbally list what I’m grateful for in the morning and then again at the end of the day. I’m better at getting this done in the morning because I have an established morning routine, while I’m still working on finding an evening routine that will consistently work for me. Some of things that I routinely include in my list are:
- My own good health and well being
- The good health and well being of my wife, daughter, and dog
- The good health and well being of all of the amazing people in our lives
- Our beautiful home
- Transportation that gets us around safely
- Our beautiful city, in our beautiful province, in our beautiful and free country
- Our jobs and the opportunities that are still to come
- Our daughter’s great school and teachers
- Clean water and healthy food
- The journey that has brought me to where I am today
Also, when I’m laying out my plan for the day (I’ll write about my planner in a future post) I write three things every morning that I’m grateful for (this morning it was a warm bed to sleep in, a family who loves me, and the good health and safety of my family) and then when I’m going through my end of the day reflections, I list three more things in my planner (last night it was the good health and safety of my family, warm cozy beds, and the time to read with my daughter). You can see where my focus is at the start and end of my days.
I know that this sounds like a lot of time spent on being grateful, but gratitude is good for you. Several research studies have shown people who focus on gratitude for what they have, regardless of what it is, are happier and healthier. I’ve included some links to some articles about the research at the end of this post.
A little more than a year ago I started a gratitude project. This is another thing that I wrote a couple of posts about on my education blog. The first was when I started the project and the second was when I was about half-way through. This is from the original post:
We have a Saturday morning routine in our house. We usually have a leisurely morning at home before the three of us (me, my wife, and our daughter) go to the farmers’ market. Throughout most of the year we pick up some cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, maybe some carrots and potatoes and our daughter frequently gets a macaron from our favourite baker there. Then we walk over to a coffee place not far from there (I don’t call it a coffee shop because I still think of those as having cheap coffee, sandwiches and pie, and a server who comes to your table) and my wife has a coffee while my daughter and I have hot chocolate. Often we roam a bit around that neighbourhood popping into a few shops.
Among the shops in that area is one that sells stationary including cards, journals, invitations, wrapping paper, pens, etc. It’s a very cute shop and I have a fondness for all things stationary, which is why places like this can be dangerous for me. On a Saturday morning late last month we went into this shop and I saw the kit in the picture. It came with 52 thank you card and a journal to write the names of people you are grateful to have in your life. The point is to send a card to one of those people every week for a year. I try to make gratitude a big part of my life so I was quite intrigued with the idea.
I didn’t buy the kit because I wanted to think about this for a bit, and frankly I probably didn’t need an entire journal just to keep my list. Later I bought myself a box of 50 blank cards, that can be folded in half, with envelopes (yes, I’ll need to get at least two more cards) and made a commitment to myself to send at least one card per week.
Here I am a year later. I’ve missed maybe four or five weeks, but some weeks I’ve sent two cards. Most of them have been mailed, but some have been delivered in person. In each case, this project has made me sit down for even just five minutes to focus on someone for whom I am grateful. It’s a year later and I have met my goal, but I’m not done. I’m not going to put the pressure on myself to come up with someone every week, but I’ve set a reminder for myself each week to think if there is somebody I should send a card to, to thank them for something they’ve done for me, even if that’s simply being in my life.
How can you experience and express gratitude in your life?
The Benefits of Gratitude: