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Gratitude is a choice. Often easy to overlook and forget, yet so simple to experience when you remember to do a quick reframe to look at any imaginable situation through the lens of gratitude. People who are more grateful tend to be happier, healthier, and experience better overall wellbeing, better life satisfaction, and even better sleep.
I believe that gratitude is the most powerful of all the positive emotions because it’s accessible to everyone all the time. In honor of Thanksgiving, here’s an effective way to experience this generative powerful positive emotion by taking a Gratitude Walk. Here’s how it works:
Gratitude is all around us, which is why we often don’t take notice. It’s so easy to be on “auto pilot” going through the motions of our day but not really EXPERIENCING gratitude or appreciating things that are right in front of our eyes! Shoshin is a word from Zen Buddhism meaning “beginner’s mind,” and it helps remind us to take notice of the small things around us that bring gratitude and awe.
Give yourself thirty minutes. Go for a gratitude walk around the block or in nature. Simply take time to notice things around you for which you are grateful. The smile on a stranger’s face, seeing a beautiful weathered tree, hearing the laughter of children, or just appreciating the warmth of sunlight on your face. Here are some pointers to help you get the maximum benefit to elevate a run-of-the-mill walk into a gratitude walk without even breaking a sweat.
- Make sure you turn off your electronics, or put them away where you can’t see them for the duration of the walk.
- Pick a new route or walk the same route with “beginner’s eyes” and mind. The joy of this gratitude game comes from taking the time to look at and appreciate different things that come into view.
- Taking a Gratitude Walk helps you become mindful and in-tune to the present moment. It’s a way to quiet the garbled noise in your mind as you “take time to smell the roses.”
This recommendation is based on science. In fact, the Gratitude Walk is one of the most powerful Positive Psychology gratitude interventions. However you get around, put on your sneakers or grab your wheelchair or walker, and change your perspective to soak up some gratitude. When you slow down to take in the scenery, the imagination and heart will surely follow. Gratitude is not a limited commodity.
I’m sending you strength and love,