There is GREAT healing in focusing on what you have versus what you DON’T have.
And we’ve all heard of dropping slips of paper into gratitude jars, jotting morning pages that include reflections on what we’re grateful for, or any multitude of other journaling options.
But recently, my 16 year-old daughter shared her own gratitude practice with me, and it is so simple and so powerful that I felt compelled to write about it here.
My daughter said that, for whatever reason, writing down what she’s grateful for doesn’t work for her. Instead, she uses something very simple in her day-to-day life that signals her to remember what she has and what she appreciates.
"Whenever I see the color orange," she said. "I stop and think of something I’m grateful for.”
I was intrigued.
"Why orange?" I asked.
“Because orange is an unusual color,” she said. “It shows up less. If I did it with blue or red, I’d be doing it all the time. But orange makes it more special.”
Wise words from a wise young woman.
And then she described her very simple, three step process:
1. See something orange.
2. Stop what you’re doing*.
3. Think of something you’re grateful for.
If you don’t have a gratitude practice--or are struggling with (or forgetting to do) the one you DO have--feel free to steal this practice.
And if you don’t like orange, make it something else that is somewhat striking, interesting, and not a common occurrence--like seeing an owl, for example, or noticing a Mini Cooper on the road, or catching me doing some manual labor.
But whatever your “trigger,” make sure that when you see it, you stop and think of something for which you are grateful.
Let me give you an example, (IRL, as the young folks say):
There’s an orange background on the package of Thomas’ English muffins that is sitting on the toaster.
So: What am I grateful for?
::Breathes, sifts through an infinite number of options, picks one::
I’m gonna go with. . .
My daughter. TZT
*Do NOT discount the second step in this process; stopping what you’re doing is the KEY part of the MINDFULNESS of this process and will allow you to FOCUS on the gratitude exercise.
By the way, if you're looking for a super easy and low cost way to improve your Mindfulness practice with reminders like this one, I'm about to officially release my new 75-page eBook called 2-Minute Zen: Creating a More Mindful Self-Care Practice.
Get an early peek here.