Christmas is a special time of the year to be with family and friends, remember Jesus’ birth, be kind to each other, exchange presents, eat, dance, hug and laugh. This is the first Christmas in 13 years that I will not be with my kids. This is the bad side of a separation. Anyway, I will be with my kids on New Year’s Eve and we will celebrate a late Christmas. I will go to Church, volunteer, and take time to reflect about how to give more and become wiser (especially with my kids).
I ask my kids every night before they go to sleep to tell me one thing they are grateful for. They respond “Thank you God for …”. They go to bed with the most memorable experience of the day in their minds. This practice is one of the things I put a lot of effort in and is one of the things I would like them to remember for the rest of their lives. Maybe it will be so hardwired in their brain that it will pass to their children. But, sometimes, let me tell you, it is not that easy.
I meditate in the mornings for many reasons. However, one reason is to help me practice my gratitude. In the morning after meditating and with my hands on my heart I think about various things I’m grateful for. I think about three to five things. Some I repeat every day (I can never stop being thankful for my kids) but I always try to find one or two new little things.
On some occasions I use a journal to log my thoughts of gratitude. Sometimes a jot down my thoughts digitally in Evernote (I will do a post about this in the future) and other times in my moleskin notebook. But, I am more consistent with my thoughts after meditation.
Gratitude has tons of benefits. Just read this post “The 31 Benefits of Gratitude” that compiles more than 40 studies that shows how gratitude improves happiness. Even though I’m not in the place where I want to be, I’m very grateful for where I am and how I got here.
I’m not sure when I started to consciously practice gratitude. Maybe it was my mom, that taught me to be appreciative at the half full glass, one of the podcasts I heard, or a message at church. The fact is, I have stuck with this practice for more than a year.
Here are my two favorite gratitude practices from successful people (Tony Robbins and Tim Ferriss) which I consider my mentors.
Tony Robbins practices gratitude in the middle of his 10 minute daily priming routine. I do a similar practice. I give thanks after my 20-30 minutes of morning mediation.
Tim Ferriss uses the Five Minute Journal in which the first section is about gratitude. I sometimes do something similar. I’m just not as good with paper any more, even though I like my moleskin notebook and have thought about buying the Five Minute Journal. I most of the times prefer Evernote.
I’m planing to do more posts related to this topic in the next weeks. Stay tuned.