Thanks for your gratitude practices and rituals
June 14, 2021 9:01 PM   Subscribe

Do you have a daily or semi-regular gratitude practice you follow?

I'm interested in incorporating both more gratitude and more ritual into my life. This can range from using a workbook, jotting some notes in a journal, visualizations, to setting up a shrine to recognize the struggles of my ancestors and loved ones. As an aside, are there any objects of gratitude you have found to be particularly powerful?
posted by Captain Chesapeake to Religion & Philosophy (12 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
It's not for nothing that ritual words before a meal is called Grace. The Plum Village [Thich Nhat Hanh] Five Contemplations Before Eating takes a wider view than my "Thanks to the cook; dig in".
posted by BobTheScientist at 11:14 PM on June 14, 2021 [4 favorites]

Throughout the day I try to take note of the things around me and consider the efforts of others that made them happen. If I'm about to eat, I try to think of all the people that grew and processed and transported the food to me so that I can eat it. And I send them a little silent thank you of appreciation. Or if I'm waiting in line I'll think of the people that run and stock the store, that transport and make the goods sold, that clean it, and so on, and send them the same silent thanks.
It's the small moments of consideration and gratitude that I can make in my regular routine that is the foundation of my gratitude practice. I'm not great at keeping up with journals or anything fancy, but I can take a minute to think and reframe my thoughts. And you can do it anywhere.
posted by shesaysgo at 11:47 PM on June 14, 2021 [9 favorites]

For us, meals are a natural time to pause.
We thank thee, lord, for happy hearts, for rain and sunny weather.
We thank thee, lord, for this our food, and that we are together.
I don't worship a Lord but mrs. kingless is a practicing Christian so we often say grace this way. I'm not sure of its origin (and I'm not going to look (now)). I first heard Christopher Lydon recite it on an episode of Open Source.
posted by kingless at 4:02 AM on June 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

I go for a walk each morning - I’m on the beach now! - and spend a bit of it glad to be alive, for the changing and growing natural landscape and human engineering around me, etc.

At dinner we all share one good thing.
posted by warriorqueen at 4:34 AM on June 15, 2021 [2 favorites]

I write down at least three things I am grateful for every morning. It's a small thing but it definitely gives me perspective and gratitude.
posted by Kitteh at 4:50 AM on June 15, 2021 [3 favorites]

When I go to bed I run through all the things and people and events that I am grateful for. The length of the list varies from one thing to infinity.
posted by Hobgoblin at 5:48 AM on June 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

I recommend taking a look at the work of Brother David Steindl-Rast, who's made gratitude and grateful living a particular focus of his life's work.

One of his practices (I think it's his) is to be thankful for at least one new thing at the end of every day.

One of mine is trying to cultivate a feeling of gratitude in everyday, mundane moments: pulling weeds, washing a dish, dealing with work stuff.
posted by jquinby at 5:49 AM on June 15, 2021 [2 favorites]

I have a gratitude journal next to my bed and write at least three things in it before falling asleep on most nights. If you're into poetry, Ross Gay's "Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude" is inspiring and lovely.
posted by wicked_sassy at 7:27 AM on June 15, 2021

Best answer: When I was having a harder time feeling gratitude, I'd often make a list in my head as I was going to sleep of the things I was grateful for. Three of those would usually stay the same: Avocados, Toothbrush (i.e. taking care of my teeth generally) and Flowers. Then I'd try to find a fourth thing from the day and distract myself trying to make some word out of all the four first letters and it would often help "unhitch" my brain so I could sleep.
posted by jessamyn at 9:26 AM on June 15, 2021

You can think of something you're grateful for and then try to get as specific or small as possible.
posted by 10ch at 9:32 AM on June 15, 2021

Best answer: This question is a good reminder that I should pick this practice up again!

What I used to do was, several times a week (because I remember reading a study somewhere that said that gratitude journaling is more effective if not done daily?), I would write three things that I was grateful for. But the trick for me was specifically *not* to write things like “family, health, employment”. Instead I tried to challenge myself to list:
1) things that I had been feeling ungrateful for, unhappy about, or dissatisfied with - could I find something in them to be grateful for?
2) things that I had done that I was proud of, or glad that I did.

1) had a very strong effect on my day-to-day. I remember when I used to do it that I’d find myself in the middle of an unpleasant experience, like being stuck in traffic or screwing up a commitment or getting bad news about a loved one, and I had an easier time stepping back and seeing the situation as, like, an experience of being alive and in the world. Idk if that makes sense - it’s not to say that I felt grateful or complacent about bad things happening, just that I had more ability to focus on what my values were in responding to the situation because I could more easily separate the feeling of “ahhhh everything sucks” from “okay, this part sucks, and this other part is something I can learn from or act on or help someone/myself get through.” Honestly, I think this practice even made me start looking forward to certain things I’d previously dreaded.
2) was not as powerful for me as (1), but I did notice a positive effect on my self-esteem. I tend towards a view of self that’s like “everything I do is bad and wrong”, so forcing myself to find specific data to the contrary (not just “I’m great!”) helped me approach the world with more agency, be a better friend, etc.

Wow, why did I ever stop doing these?! Laziness, I guess...
posted by chaiyai at 10:55 AM on June 15, 2021 [5 favorites]

I didn't manage to keep it up but for a while I would email "three nice things today" to a loved one who would appreciate happy, banal updates from me. Was more motivating than just doing it in a diary to myself.
posted by Cozybee at 2:49 AM on June 17, 2021

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