The ABC’s to a Gratitude Practice
Hey folks! Today, I want to talk about gratitude, but in a simple, down-to-earth way.
When we think about it, we often frame gratitude as saying thank you for the big stuff or to particular people. “I am grateful for my team… (which, btw I am!). But gratitude is also about appreciating the little things; it is what I call a “way of being.”
So, here I am, sitting in my living room, sipping on some awesome coffee, feeling all comfy on my couch. These are things I usually don’t give a second thought, but as a mindfulness buff, I’m taking a moment to soak in the good vibes and reflect on these small, beautiful moments. Just a few seconds of awareness and focus is a great way to start a practice of mindfulness.
Now, I want to share a gratitude trick that has been a game-changer for me. Gratitude is as easy as ABC. I will share two examples of how I use it, and I am sure you can come up with others.
Do you have a hard time sitting in traffic? I know that when I see that it may take me much longer to get to my destination and people in other vehicles are frazzled, that feeling of frustration comes across to me as I sit in my car waiting to move. This is when I take advantage of not having control to taking control and actively managing my thoughts. I recalibrate by changing my focus from the person who is literally slowing me down to the gratitude ABC game. It is pretty simple. I start with the letter A and think of something I am grateful for. My mom’s name was Anita, and she is always the first on my list. Now that she is no longer walking on this earth, I think about what she sacrificed for me. (Mom, I continue to be grateful for all you have given me!) I then go to B, which may be something like- I paid all my bills this month. An activity that people sometimes resent flips the emotion into gratitude. Then go to C, D, E, etc. Find something that begins with that letter to appreciate.
Let me give you another example. Ever lay in bed, your mind racing with thoughts? Some people call this the monkey mind- thoughts swinging from one thing to the next. Yeah, been there. But going through the ABC gratitude game actually makes your body feel better, and I have a hard time getting to the end of the alphabet before I get to the metaphorical zzz’s. This practice is a one-way ticket to Snoozeville.
The ABC gratitude activity can be done anywhere and is a good pivot when you are not feeling great, like when you are starting to feel frustrated, stressed, or bored. It is easy to use while you are waiting in line at the grocery store, doing the dishes, or other everyday experiences.
Sometimes, life’s not all rainbows and unicorns, and finding gratitude can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. But if we can just nudge ourselves toward a bit of appreciation, it can totally lift our spirits.
As we wrap up one year and kick off a new one, take a second to jot down those little things from 2023 that low-key made your year. And when you flip that calendar into a brand new year, dream about what you’re going to be thankful for in 2024. Mindfulness is a journey; it takes time, a bit of intention, and a lot of awareness.
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