Gratitude is a phenomenal, effective mindfulness practice. Surely you have heard how simply pausing regularly to reflect on three more things you feel deeply grateful for can turn your mood around, positively rewire your brain and increase your felt sense of well-being. Research by UC Davis psychologist Robert Emmons, author of Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, shows that simply keeping a gratitude journal—regularly writing brief reflections on moments for which we’re thankful—can significantly increase well-being and life satisfaction.
What about when we just aren’t feelin’ it?
As a mindfulness coach and yoga instructor I recognize that I have a useful arsenal of tools that help with happiness and peace. And I am still an American human being and I have my days when I’m just not feelin’ it. When I am not calm, there are occasions when I feel like I would rather be grateful later, not now.
So to take the edge off my resistance to engaging in practices that I know can rectify my sour mood, despite the fact that I might not feel like doing them in a particularly tense moment, I turn to the unique sense of humor I inherited from my mother. I’ve been trying this funny practice:
Grateful for everything I DON’T have!
I don’t have a crappy relationship. I don’t have evil children. I don’t have a hangover. I don’t have a toxic coworker. I don’t have an unidentifiable disease. I don’t have a rash. I don’t have a jalopy. I don’t have natural disaster to contend with. I don’t have annoying neighbors….I have wondered if I actually have more things that I am grateful to not have than do!
Additionally, there is no pressure to write this Gratitude practice down. In fact, it’s probably best if you don’t. No reason to inadvertently welcome any of that in to your permanent awareness!
May we all be grateful for everything we have, and everything we don’t have, every day.