The Gratitude Game can be played by anyone, anywhere at any time. Like any muscle, gratitude should be practiced each day, the days when we feel like doing it and especially the days we don’t. By doing so, we cultivate an impenetrable fortress of gratitude in the mind that acts as support during times of adversity.
The objective of the Gratitude Game is to exercise and thus strengthen the gratitude muscle, thereby empowering the mind to be able to experience gratitude in the moments we need it most.
Check a calendar. Note the number of the day. Make a list of that number of things you are grateful for, either verbally with a friend or written in a notebook. Be sure to begin each sentence with the phrase “I am grateful,” searing this string of words into your mind until the moment you truly believe them.
If the date is March 30th then I would list the 30 things I am grateful for today, adapt the list to the date.
I am grateful for the health of my friends and family (note: this would be considered an “obvious” answer, perhaps, but it makes for a perfect kickoff to the game).
I am grateful for the way the sun sets stripes of neon pink over the grey rooftops of Paris.
I am grateful for (insert name of loved one who was there for you during your last series of black-cloud days).
I am grateful for the call of seagulls streamlining over the Mediterranean.
I am grateful for nights when the moon is so bright it casts its own shadows and beckons questions of the infinite.
I am grateful for food, and the access I have to it.
I am grateful for our gorgeous Mother Earth. Her trees, her seas, her vast expanses of plains and every being she embraces.
I am grateful for art, reading, music, golf, colouring, planting flowers, watching birds, (insert your favourite activity here).
I am grateful for the first daffodils of spring.
I am grateful for museums and today’s access to learning (note: if you’re new to the game you may begin to notice here the struggle of coming up with ideas. That is why we practice, that is why we play every day. Strengthen the muscle, comb through the wonder of your mind, I assure you there’s so much to be grateful for).
I am grateful to my father for teaching me perseverance, courage and dedication.
I am grateful to my mother who is a constant source of love and inspiration.
I am grateful for love.
I am grateful winter is over.
I am grateful for days spent in bed with you watching movies and ordering food.
I am grateful for days I’ve spent crying on the bathroom floor unable to understand why but finding that last bit of courage to figure it out.
I am grateful this world is brimming with people who are dedicated to shining the light.
I am grateful for a really long, really deep savasana at the end of a really long, really challenging yoga class.
I am grateful for the feeling of wanderlust, for the way it feels to travel, to discover new places and escape into new cultures.
I am grateful for the way the seahorses bob happily up and down in the clear blue waters off the Mergui Islands.
I am grateful for the time you told me you loved me.
I am grateful for the taxi ride under the desert sun down the R207 that brought us from Marrakech to Essaouira that month we lived in Morocco and I felt desperate to see the Atlantic.
I am grateful for each rotation around the sun that helps me grow into a better person, a happier one, a kinder one.
I am grateful for home. All of the places that has been. The smell of my mother’s baking, the late night sounds of the bar across the street in Brooklyn, the smiles of the shop-owners as I walk to my door on the Rue des Martyrs.
I am grateful for opportunities. All of them. The ones I took, the ones I missed, the ones I grew from.
I am grateful for the white butterflies who look like angels and flutter above the crawling lines of lavender fields.
I am grateful for the smell of freshly baked croissants.
I am grateful for seashells.
I am grateful for my own health.
I am grateful for gratitude.
Now you try!
Ellen is an American writer and yoga instructor currently living in Paris. In 2015 she graduated from New York University with a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing, and since has had the opportunity to pursue her passion for traveling. She hopes to continue teaching yoga to the local and ex-pat community of Paris, and you can stay updated on her class schedule at mcqueenyoga.com or follow her on Instagram @mcqueenyoga.