Forget exercise! Try these gratitude exercises instead
It’s the end of November, so you know what that means. Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Even if you’re not American, Thanksgiving can be a good time to look both inward and outward to re-centre ourselves and remind each other that we have so much to be thankful for.
We all spend a lot of our time thinking about exercise (hello, you are reading this blog, after all!), but what if we turned our attention to a different type of exercise. What if we decided to exercise our gratitude instead of our bodies?
So, as Thanksgiving approaches, we want to give you three easy yet powerful gratitude exercises that will allow you to evaluate and acknowledge those wonderful things in your life. Then, you can move forward, practicing them daily, rather than only around the holidays.
#1 Start your day with gratitude. Every day. Forget waking up on the wrong side of the bed. Even if you didn’t sleep well or have a rough day ahead, make sure to wake up every morning and say thank you. Speak the words out loud and be sure to do it before you make the bed, before you start scrolling on your phone. Make it the first thing you do. Be thankful for being alive, for waking up, for even being able to think about what you’re thankful for. Every day is a gift.
#2 Write it down. Now this one may not be for everyone, but we promise that having a concrete reminder and physical practice will help you make gratitude a habit. Pick up a journal and make a list of specific things you’re thankful for, whether big or small. You don’t have to have a dedicated journal. Even a sticky note will do!
#3 Turn it into a game. Not in a way that you will trivialise your gratitude, but it can be a great way to hone in on what you’re thankful for. Practice the appreciation game. You can do this by speaking your gratitudes out loud, either with a partner or friend or even by yourself when you’re in stressful moments (think being in an anxious moment at work or when you’re stuck in traffic and late to the airport). You can say things like “I appreciate your loyalty.” Or “I appreciate that you cooked dinner for me when I was sick last week.” Whatever it is, just let each other – or yourself – know that you appreciate each other.
#4 Gratitude is a gift, so be sure to give it. We all get caught up in the holiday rush and hyper-focus on presents to buy and gifts to give. But you should remember that gratitude in and of itself is also a gift. Rather than wrapping up a new pair of socks or searching for the right book for a friend, give someone the gift of a lovely, heartfelt letter that expresses your appreciation for them. Though it may not be a classic material gift, it is probably the nicest, most beautiful one you can give.