To be honest, I’m a bit of a gratitude junkie.
Back in April 2020 (wow, that seems like a whole lifetime ago), I came up with a gratitude practice that I shared in a Facebook group and came up with some rules for it.
I called it the “30-Second Gratitude Experiment,” and this is how it worked:
1. Using a timer, for 30 seconds, write down as many things that you are grateful for today as you can think of, anything that comes to mind.
2. After the 30 seconds, go over your list and choose one thing to focus on.
3. Close your eyes, take three deep breaths, and then for another 30 seconds, really think of why you are grateful for that thing (and it could be more than one reason).
4. Share your 30-second gratitude item on social media.
We all have 30 seconds (or a minute) to devote to gratitude.
Another gratitude practice I started three years ago was writing weekly gratitude notes. Every Sunday, my husband and I would each write something we were grateful for on a post-it note and put it in a tin. On new year’s day, we empty out the 104 pieces of paper and read them out loud to each other, reliving the ups and downs of things we were grateful for—some happy, some sad, some big, a lot more small.
Not only am I a gratitude junkie, but I’m also a quote junkie. I love quotes, little bite-sized bits of wisdom that get lodged in my heart and plant a seed of inspiration.
Something I think we all could use more of whether or not we already have gratitude practices in our lives—is there such a thing as too much gratitude?
Below are eight of my favourite quotes that help remind me to be grateful and to feel connected:
1. Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Every day can be the best day if you look for the positives, the silver linings. For the fact that you are living and breathing, on this earth to experience everything that every day has to offer.
It’s a beautiful reminder to live in the moment and to be grateful for what we have in the present, and not to worry about the past.
2. Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars and see yourself running with them. ~ Marcus Aurelius
This is the desktop picture on my laptop—dwell on the beauty of life. What a simple, beautiful reminder that there is so much out there to be grateful for—the beauty of a sunrise or sunset, the first flowers of spring poking up out of the snow, or just the connection between you and loved ones in your life.
I love Marcus Aurelius. Well, at least the wisdom that is captured in his diary Meditations. The majority of his words are really inspiring.
3. When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive—to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. ~ Marcus Aurelius
This quote was the home screen of my smartphone for the longest time. This is such a great daily practice to do upon waking. Remind yourself what it is to be alive and all the things that go with that—breathing, thinking, enjoying, and loving.
4. There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. ~ Albert Einstein
Einstein needs no introduction. There is one quote of his that always has me nodding in agreement every time I come across it. Now ain’t that the truth?
5. We are all connected. To each other, biologically. To the earth, chemically. To the rest of the universe atomically. ~ Neil deGrasse Tyson
One of my favorite people of current times is the modern-day Carl Sagan, Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson. He reminds us of one of my favourite concepts that we are all connected because we are all made of stardust—or star stuff, as Sagan originally said.
6. Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ John Milton
Let’s repeat that last part again. That change forever how we experience life and the world—that is a powerful line right there. Gratitude changes how we fundamentally experience things. It changes our lens, our perspective, away from the negative and toward the positive.
7. Be Yourself. Life is precious as it is. All the elements for your happiness are already here. There is no need to run, strive, search, or struggle. Just Be. ~ Thich Nhat Hahn
I’m sure many people here, like me, are big fans of Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hahn (or Thay as his friends call him). His down to earth, unpretentious, relatable wisdom is what makes him so widely loved. I love this reminder of his. What really resonates with me is where he says there’s no reason to strive or struggle to find happiness, it’s already within and around us—we just need to pay attention.
8. In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger—something better, pushing right back. ~ Albert Camus
And finally, a reminder, similar to what Thich Nhat Hahn says above, we have something inside us that we can lean on when times get tough when we need to find our own sunshine.
What words do you lean on for support when times get tough or when you just need a little boost of inspiration?
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