I recently instituted a new exercise of gratitude into my daily life. I flagged a particular landmark that I pass by often, as my gratitude reminder. When I see this place, it now reminds me to take a few moments to think through the things I am grateful for in my life.
I am lucky enough to have a job that is surrounded by tree-lined neighborhoods and an amazing train track that I get to walk around throughout the week. I use that time to listen to audiobooks (currently listening to The Surrender Experiment by Michael A Singer) or take a nice mental break from the day and just enjoy being outside. About 3/4 of the way into my two-mile walk, I start thinking about the things I am grateful for in my life.
At first, I just started just “thinking” about them. But before I knew it, I was quietly talking to myself, subtly mouthing each thing I was grateful for. I came to realize that by actually speaking these words, I began to actually feel them, as opposed to just thinking through them. “I am so thankful that I have a wife whose support for me has never faltered. Two amazing kids that bring me so much joy when I see them after a hard day. I am grateful for my health, and the fact that I can lead a physical and pain-free life.” Things like that. Combine it with walking/running/hiking/
driving… and it can be a very intense experience.
This can be applied to any activity. Maybe when you are on your way home from work and you pass a certain store or go through a certain intersection. Anything that can be an easy reminder to start thinking/talking through what you are currently grateful for.
Trust me. If you’re looking for an immediate mood-changer, this is a great habit to form to get you there.