Want to be happier? Try the ABC’s of Gratitude
ABC your way to deeper happiness
Try this exercise, as suggested by Brother David Steindl-Rast in his “Stop, Look, Go“ book – “A Grateful Practice Workbook and Gratitude Journal”, to amplify your experience of gratitude. Did you know more awareness of gratitude in your life is associated with deeper happiness?
In this exercise, name the first word that comes to mind with each letter of the alphabet, and write down in a list. Then go through each one and find something about that word or what’s associated with it to have gratitude for. There may be some things on this list that you might have to reflect on a bit, to see what you could possibly be grateful for. See what you come up with, with a few moments of mindful attention.
The following is my recent list. Try it out by creating your own…
A – anxiety – I am grateful I have the capacity to help people with their anxiety.
B – basket – I love baskets of all kinds – open, flexible containers, able to hold everything from bread to belongings.
C – calypso – music that makes me connect to gentle island breezes and drums made from steel oil barrels
D – darkness – the night sky that surrounds and embraces each and every star, allowing the star’s brightness to shine strong, or how in the middle of the night it gets darkest – I appreciate how the darkness deepens just before dawn.
E – emptiness – the echo of an empty room that invites you to linger and fill it up.
F – families – that include the blending of cultures, races, languages, colors, identities, histories, rituals, practices, values, politics, orientations, religions, bodies. Or…
– forgiveness – the freedom that comes when one is able to forgive someone who has injured them; or forgive themselves for not being perfect, maybe in those same families.
G – grappling – the space that opens up to move even a little bit forward after grappling with the complexities of life.
H – harried – to feel harried and rushed is to prime oneself to know the beauty of feeling relaxed and centered.
I – igloo – amazement that a warm home can be built in the coldest of environments, and with the iciest of materials.
J – justice –… With liberty and justice for ALL…
K – kite – the adventurous way a kite soars and dives; and struggles with the wind or is buoyed by it, from moment to moment, is a wonder to behold.
L – lunch – homemade with care and that calms my grumbling stomach at the midday hour, every day.
M – Mountain meditation – one of my favorite meditations that inspires me to be like the mountain, even through the storms and harsh weather events.
N – necking – that term dates me but the hot steaminess of it arouses all the senses.
O – ordinary – so many moments of the ordinary are what we often take for granted before we remember how much we would miss them if they were taken from us, and realize we are truly grateful for them.
P – persnickety – I love that word and how it sounds like what it means and actually makes me laugh about something that can be annoying.
Q – queries – the tender vulnerability and courage present when submitting a query and knowing you may be met with rejection and doubt or affirmation and acknowledgment.
R – rain – soft, gentle, torrential, steady, soothing, pitter patter, relentless, pouring – all different expressions of Mother Nature‘s emotions.
S – sunrise – I wake at dawn with the winged heart and give thanks for another day of living. Fall sunrises especially give me hope for the day, that I know will end with early darkness.
T – tater tots – A fond food from childhood that I would be excited to have served.
U – ugliness – If one doesn’t run from ugliness, it has the power to awaken a softer more empathic heart.
V – variety – synonyms include different choices, diversity, multicultural, various, not homogeneous, a wide array, an assortment of good things.
W – water – Wondrous. Enough said.
X – xylophone – Another magical musical instrument used in world music.
Y – yellow – the color of sunflowers. Or…
– yesterday – I can’t change what happened yesterday but I can change how I relate to it.I appreciate all the joys and challenges of all my yesterdays that have brought me to today.
Z – zebra – isn’t it amazing how black and white can live together and be so beautiful side-by-side on this amazing creature?
I’d love to see your ABC’s of Gratitude list. Please feel free to share by responding to this email.
If you or someone you love is struggling to find deeper happiness in your life, please contact me for a therapy appointment.
For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.
Listening with Heart
Cindi Rivera, MFT
Marriage, Family Therapist
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