Take 5: Gratitude Edition

Gratitude isn’t a destination; it’s a practice. Here’s a brief, but powerful, exercise you can do to quickly tap into simple joy and appreciation.

Grab a pen and paper, or open up a new document, and take just 5 minutes to work through this brief—but potentially transformational—process.

Step One:

Write down 5 people in your life.

Write down 5 objects you use daily.

Write down 5 problems or challenges that you are experiencing.

Step Two:

For each person, finish the sentence, “What’s great about you is…”
For each object, finish the sentence, “What’s great about this [name of object] is…”
For each problem, finish the sentence, “What’s great about [insert problem or challenge] is…” (This one might be a challenge in and of itself! Whatever the problem—even if there are a million ways it feels awful—see if you can come up with just ONE truthful way to finish that sentence.)

Step Three:

Just about no one knows how great they are. Help to fix that. To the extent that you feel comfortable/able, reach out to the people on your list—by email, phone, or in person—and let them know what’s so awesome about them, just BTW.

Is your toothbrush pretty awesome at doing what it does? As silly as it may sound to practice toothbrush appreciation, it’s kind of amazing the difference a simple, well-designed object can make in our lives. (Talk to me about my coffee-maker, favorite pen, or iPod shuffle for long enough, and you just may see tears well up in my eyes…) The next time you use each object on your list, take a moment to revel in its humble greatness.

No matter how much something sucks, you always have a choice about how you look at it in a given moment. The next time you look at a problem on your list, just take a moment—a millisecond—to bring your awareness to what’s great about it. You may be shocked at the perspective shift it brings.

What was your biggest gratitude surprise? Share with us in the comments below.

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