Here are 30 Daily Grateful Living Practices for you to try. These practices range from actions that will take you only a moment to those that will take a larger commitment of your time. If there is one practice on this list that you would like to try every day, do so. Or try a new one each day. Or switch it up. What matters is that you do something every day to build the habit of intentionally directing your attention to notice and appreciate the gifts of your life.
1. Close your eyes. Take a few, very deep breaths – all the way out and all the way in. Notice how your breathing so often takes care of itself…just breath moving itself through you – keeping you alive – just keeping you alive. Commit to NOT taking this miracle for granted.
2. Every night before you go to sleep, take an inventory of the things for which you are grateful. Let them percolate through your mind and calm your body. Write down at least five things that matter to you.
3. Engage in an act of kindness today. Notice if you are pulled toward kindness for a stranger more than someone close to you, or vice-versa. Either way, offer your kindness with no strings attached and no need for recognition. Truly. Notice the completeness and fullness of letting go of needing something back.
4. Bring to mind someone for whom you are grateful. Savor this image or memory. Try to allow the image to be held by all the cells of your body, not just in your mind. Notice what happens in your emotions and body when you do this.
5. At any point during the day, reflect upon one important thing that you have learned in this day. Write down what you have learned.
6. Send an eCard or card letting someone know that you are thinking of them today. Expect nothing in return. Just share appreciation and acknowledgement.
7. Sit quietly and allow a sense of peace to enter your heart. From this place, light a (virtual) candle or a candle in your space. Create a grateful intention and settle into the peace of residing in gratefulness for a few, precious moments.
8. Start your day with an intention to show up absolutely whole-heartedly to everything you do today. Notice at the end of the day if anything changed because of this intention.
9. Send an eCard or written message of peace and well-wishes to someone.
10. Make the decision to see your most challenging moments today as opportunities. What might be making itself known or available to you in hard times? How can you cultivate even small sentiments of gratefulness for the gifts that come from struggle? Reflect on this at the beginning and the end of the day.
11. Turn all of the “waiting” moments of the day into moments of heightened awareness. Try to be fully present in these moments to what might be blessings in disguise. Notice that time “between” things is a huge gift. Enjoy the gift.
12. If you share a meal with others today, before or while you eat, ask each person to share something for which they are grateful. If eating alone, bring to mind something for which you are grateful and dedicate your meal to that “great fullness.”
13. Choose a poem that speaks to you and read it a few times in a day. Let it awaken a new experience each time you read it. Notice how no poem is the same poem twice if you read it with true presence. Share the poem with someone.
14. Notice your hands. Think of all they do for you. Can you imagine what it would be like to offer them your true appreciation at a host of moments each day? Notice how much they help to facilitate what you love in life. Take care of them.
15. Reach out to someone you know is going through a difficult time. You do not have to have the right things to say, just connect in a meaningful way.
16. Send an eCard thanking someone for simply being in your life.
17. Watch Br. David’s video “A Good Day.” Share it with a friend.
18. Enter the meditative space of a labyrinth, or walk a short path meditatively somewhere near you. If you walk as a mindfulness practice, you can go back and forth on the same path and it will always generate new horizons. Notice how amazing it is to move – no matter how you do that.
19. Before you eat, take a moment to feel grateful to all those who contributed to creating your meal. The farmer who grew the vegetables, the hens that laid the eggs, the workers who harvested the wheat and stocked the food, etc.
20. While racing somewhere, take 30 seconds to stop, take a breath, and look at the sky, or at the environment around you. What was begging for your attention?
21. Do something truly generous for someone else today. Expand into your most full-blown expression of generosity. Give as if your life depended on it, and then try giving a little more. Stretch into your capacity. Seek nothing in return.
22. Each time you turn on the tap, pause to feel grateful that you have access to running water, unlike so many in the world today.
23. Tell someone whom you love that you love them – and offer that comment a larger context by spelling out some of the reasons why you are grateful for them.
24. Ask someone a sincere question. There is hardly a more precious gift than true inquiry and deep listening. Where is gratefulness in this?
25. Make a financial contribution to a non-profit organization doing work that you value. Accompany that gift with a note of appreciation for how hard people are working to advance missions in which you believe. Feel interconnected.
26. Ask “What is the opportunity for gratefulness in this moment?” Try this when things are not going as you had planned.
27. Give someone a grateful hug. Actually give the hug – don’t take a hug. Ask first.
28. Pick out five things that you do not need anymore, and give them away with joy.
29. Put a bag in your pocket, go for a walk, and make a corner of the world more beautiful by picking up the litter along the way. Your appreciation of the earth will be contagious to others.
30. 775 million people in the world are illiterate. Feel your good fortune as you read this sentence, and as you read anything today.
Of course, there are many more ways to practice, and we would always be interested in knowing what practices work best for you. We are always refining and expanding our lists, so share your comments with us.
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We are delighted to announce the release of Kristi Nelson’s book Wake Up Grateful