There is a practice in Judaism to recite words of gratitude each day even before opening one’s eyes in the morning: “I am grateful before You, who has restored my soul to me.” Research indicates that people who actively cultivate gratitude tend to be happier. In our family, we have begun to list 3 good things that have happened each day to our bedtime routine. Another friend asks her daughters about their rose (best moment), bud (something new), and thorn of their day.
How do you cultivate an “atitude of gratitude” in yourself and your family? By sharing the best parts of your day? By setting aside a particular time in the day or week to express appreciation to each other?
My teacher James Baraz, co-founder of Spirit Rock Meditation Center and author of Awakening Joy, points out that we can’t make ourselves feel grateful or happy. But we can create conditions that incline the mind and heart toward happiness, inviting gratitude and joy into our day and then waiting for these lovely guests to arrive.