Submitted by Caitlin McColl
I first stumbled across gratitude after my mom passed away five and a bit years ago. Of course, I'd heard the word before but I didn't know it was something you could practice to help feel happier in your life. But thanks to the piles of self-help books I read after my mom's death as a way to help me process my grief, gratitude came into my life.
A gratitude practice I started three years ago was the standard 'gratitude jar' - 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.
Because of my gratitude jar practice, I wanted to find something to help to practice gratitude daily and that's when I discovered the Gratitude app 2 years ago. I used it daily (or tried to, not always at the beginning) to note down at least one thing I was grateful for, no matter how small.
Every time I use the app, it reminds me that there are so many things to be grateful for - and that most of them are small, ordinary, and mundane things. Don’t have to cook because you have leftovers? The warmth of the sun on your back when you're walking? That it's the weekend and you survived another work week?
Everything counts and there's no wrong answer which is what's so great about the Gratitude app. The Gratitude App inspired me to come up with a gratitude practice back in April 2020 (wow, that seems like a whole lifetime ago). I shared the practice 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. I used the app to write down my list.
2. After 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.
I also wrote down my item in the Gratitude app. We all have 30 seconds (or a minute) to devote to gratitude and thanks to the Gratitude App, I've realized how easy it is to incorporate gratitude into your daily life and the inspiring Daily Zen quotes always inject a brief shot of happiness or positivity into my day.