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Trustinglife's avatar

Would you consider trying a new gratitude habit?

Asked by Trustinglife (6623points) March 26th, 2009

Before bed each night, I jot down a few notes of what I’m grateful for from the day. They are usually things I accomplished, great conversations, great moments, whatever else I’m grateful for. I’ve done it every night for a long time, even when I’m away from home. My day isn’t complete without it.

Want to try it? Want to commit to doing it for 30 days?

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37 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

I just do that in my mind. I made a pledge to myself to be happy every day for the rest of my life, and thinking over the things I’m grateful for helps a lot.

asmonet's avatar

Sure. :)

Trustinglife's avatar

Great! Report back how it goes!
I’m sure it’s going to be awful. But I want to know how bad it really is.

augustlan's avatar

Adam, I love this idea… but I also know myself too well. I can’t even commit to eating every day for 30 days! I am lousy at scheduled behaviors. I try to make it a point to notice the things I feel grateful for as they are happening though. In fact, this has brought me to tears (of profound joy) on more than one occasion. Sometimes at inappropriate times!

ninjacolin's avatar

actually, i have my google calendar send me a notice via text message daily asking myself: “what are you thankful for?” a few times a day. whenever it goes off i reflect on the good stuff no matter what state i’m in.

i’ve noticed that during REALLY bad times, i almost want to defy myself and say: “nothing!” lol. but so far (it’s been over a month) i’ve been good about taking a moment every time to access a good memory, something i’m truly thankful for.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I’ll try it, absolutely. :)

augustlan's avatar

@ninjacolin That’s a good idea! Maybe I’ll try it that way.

FGS's avatar

I really dig that idea, I’ll give it a shot!

Allie's avatar

I’d probably try it for a day or two then forget about it. It’s like my diary thing – I think it lasted for about six days. So there are six days of my life I will never forget… if I can find the diary. What a sick cycle. I’m babbling now…

ninjacolin's avatar

i’m going to take you up on this, trustinglife.
i want to see what difference it makes to have a tangible list and an action associated with the memory of what i’m thankful for. i imagine it would be more effective than simply thinking about them alone.

Trustinglife's avatar

I’m honored. Let us know what happens.

Hey, I have an idea! I’ll post again in 30 days and see if those of you who are trying this will share how it went.

adreamofautumn's avatar

I’m already pretty well into that habit, though I forget some days. I’ll try and be more consistent. :)

discover's avatar

That’s a great idea.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Writing someone a thank you note is also a great feeling, and is good for the recipient. It doesn’t even have to be about something big. It could be to the barrista at the coffee shop for being so cheerful in the morning, or a former teacher, neighbor, etc.

mattbrowne's avatar

People who express gratitude are healthier and live longer. I’m not kidding.

ru2bz46's avatar

Funny thing. Yesterday my yoga teacher invited me (and I agreed) to try a “40 day transformation”. It is designed to have you focus on the positives, eat healthier, daily yoga (duh), etc. During this time, you keep a daily journal of the benefits you get from the experience and meet one a week with others going through it to share experiences. I’m looking forward to it; it starts next month, and I’ll let you know how it works.

mattbrowne's avatar

@ru2bz46 – Hey, great to see you here!

bythebay's avatar

@Trustinglife: “Gratitude is the heart’s memory.” I love that you threw this idea out to everyone.

I’ve actually been doing this for over 5 years. It’s amazing for me to go back and read my entries. I try to jot down at least 3–5 things. Sometimes my gratitude is for things like a great sunset or my kids laughing together, and sometimes it’s very profound. Being grateful is one of the biggest goals in my life, the journal is a great reminder.

Here’s a peek from yesterday:
I am grateful:
1. For patience and perspective,even though I have to chase them sometimes.
2. That DM’s surgery went well.
3. That I remembered to pick up dog food.
4. That the rain held off until after lacrosse.
5. The daffodils and crocus’ peeking up in the mulch.

marinelife's avatar

I do this already. It is one of the most helpful things I have found for evening out my emotions and regrounding me.

aprilsimnel's avatar

It’s worth a shot, innit? Better than feeling sorry for yourself, at any rate.

VS's avatar

Sarah Ban Bernandth published a book some years ago based on this premise. “The Simple Abundance Journal” or something similiar. It was set up like a diary with listings for each day on which the participant would list at least three things daily for which they were grateful. My first day was January 1st (maybe even 1999) for which I was thankful for 1) down comforters, 2) snoring dogs, and 3) a regular paycheck.
I think this is a great idea and I totally agree that being grateful for simple things can prolong life and benefit you in ways you never even considered.

ru2bz46's avatar

@mattbrowne Good to see you too. I wonder how my grandmother lived to 97… the ungrateful b….

Trustinglife's avatar

I’m very grateful for this enthusiastic response!

ninjacolin's avatar

expressing gratitude before making a complaint or criticsm to someone else often helps get your point across too.

“i love the way the carrots are carmalized, dear. and the brocoli.. oh man. it’s kickin my ass. not such a fan of the meat texture though but the sauce is wonderful.”

juniper's avatar

I love this idea! I do this when I pray, but as I was reflecting on this practice just now, I realized that I usually express my gratitude toward the same things each time (family, health, friends). I’m going to try to seek new and different things to add.

On a side note, one of my yoga instructors usually asks us to choose and meditate on one thing we are grateful for that day. It’s always been a simple yet positive way to end our classes. I like that a “gratitude habit” can be religious or casual, intimate or shared.

mattbrowne's avatar

@ru2bz46 – Good to see you too!

Trustinglife's avatar

It’s now been a month since I posted this question about trying a new gratitude habit.

If you tried it out, how did your experience with gratitude go? Did you do it consistently? When you did the practice, what was it like for you?

YARNLADY's avatar

I’ve been posting on the fluther question about something good that happened today, fairly regularly. I don’t have a problem with gratitude, because I made a pledge to myself a long time ago to be happy every single day for the rest of my life, and I am.

Trustinglife's avatar

@Yarnlady, That sounds good – do you have a link for those of us that missed it?

augustlan's avatar

Here it is. I’ve been posting there, too. Not as often as I should, though. I told you I’m no good at this!

bythebay's avatar

This past month has pushed my need for gratitude to a limit I thought was near impossible. The habit of writing down what I’m grateful for pushed me to remember that even in the darkest hours, there is so much to be grateful for. Sometimes it’s as simple as the daffodils blooming and other times it’s for the breath of life. Either extreme is a moment to treasure. It’s really a beautifully complex, and yet ridiculously simple, process of recognition. I lurve it!

ninjacolin's avatar

i failed you, man!
i didn’t even remember the first day and then it snowballed from there.
haha, i owe you this month. starting monday!

augustlan's avatar

@ninjacolin I am grateful for your honesty. :D

Trustinglife's avatar

@bythebay So glad this new habit was a support for you in what sounds like a challenging time. I’m grateful for that. :)
@ninjacolin Let us know how it goes!

schtroumpf's avatar

I do something similar to this, every night I write down in a notebook three positive things that happened to me/in my life during the day. No matter how big or how small. I find it to be a really powerful way of putting my life in perspective. Sometimes I go back and read what I wrote just to remember all the wonderful things that happen in my life. Since I do it every day I see patterns too, things or people that keep popping up and it makes me realize even more how important they are to me.
I think it’s a wonderful habit to have :)

augustlan's avatar

@schtroumpf Welcome to Fluther! You may be interested in this thread, too.

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