Expressing Gratitude in Real Time (All Day)

The other day, I was walking, and the idea came into my head to say “thank you” for that very moment. For the trees, the ocean breeze, the sun, the bench where I sit and meditate and write.

Then I decided to keep going, to say “thank you” in as many moments as I remembered. Thank you for the ferry that takes me to and from the forest island. Thank you for my healthy legs that carry me around every day. Thank you for the abundance of nature. Thank you for the grocery store, and the money to buy food (this was especially effective while standing in a long line). As I’m waiting at the bus stop, thank you for the bus (so I don’t have to walk 1.5 miles straight uphill to go home).

These aren’t grudging gratitudes. These are building on positive feelings when I have them (for example, in the forest), and switching to a more positive focus when minor resistance creeps in (lots of people in line for the ferry).  I haven’t yet tried it with major resistance, though I’m sure the opportunity will arise.

I focus quite a bit on gratitude, and also on appreciation. I have a Gratitude Journal app, and every night, I write 30-50 things for which I’m grateful. There are some repetitions day to day, because I’m grateful for those same things every day; there are also entries that differ each day. I have an email gratitude buddy, and every night, we email each other three things we’re grateful for. While I try to remember gratitude throughout the day, this new practice is more immediate than my other “official” gratitude ones.

Saying thank you throughout the day reminds me of another Tolle quote: Whatever happens in a given moment, “welcome it as if you had chosen it.” Each moment is a gift. Each moment does bring us what we need (even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time). So this is a way of acknowledging that.

I’ve been feeling minor resistance lately (worry), and so far, this has helped to  release a bit of resistance each time I practice it.

Image credit: Courtney Hedger via Unsplash

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Sarah Chauncey

For more than two decades, I struggled multiple treatment-resistant mood disorders. I spent more than 20 years in psychodynamic therapy and tried 18 different medications. In 2010, I began searching for ways to rewire my brain naturally for inner peace. I write about the practices and insights that have improved my mental, physical and spiritual health.

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