This is traditionally the time of year when we start to shift our attention inward, to focus on family and on what we are grateful for. As we enter a transitional stage after a year of trauma and strain, more than ever we need ways to refresh our energies, calm our anxieties, and nurse our well-being. Here are three TED Talks that can help fill up your gratitude jar.
In 2008, Hailey Bartholomew, who lives in Queensland, Australia, was struck with a bone-deep case of the blahs. A visit to a counselor led to her to taking a photo a day for an entire year of the sights that stirred her gratitude.
What good things in your life would you see if you just took the time to look? This practice has an obvious perk: Whenever you need a reminder of what really matters to you , you’ll have your photos to look back on.
A few years ago, author A.J. Jacobs, who is based in New York City, set out on a quest to thank everyone behind one thing in his life that he couldn’t function without: his daily coffee. He noticed that people treated baristas like vending machines.
The next time you get ready to make eye contact with a barista or cashier and thank them, consider also doing one or more of the following: remove your headphones or earbuds, smile, offer a sincere compliment.
Benedictine monk and spiritual teacher David Steindl-Rast suggests that being grateful is as easy as crossing the street — and it consists of the same three steps: “Stop. Look. Go.” He adds, “But how often do we stop? … We have to get quiet. And we have to build stop signs into our lives.”
You can put up the kinds of signs that Br. Steindl-Rast suggests, are you could also stop to take photos of the things that provoke gratitude as Hailey Bartholomew does. Or, you might share a kind word with the person who gives you your morning coffee. Maybe you could set your phone to buzz during the day, and let that be your prompt to survey your surroundings and your life for what’s good.
Question: How can you fill your gratitude jar this month?
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