For me, I find gratitude by getting on a trail and heading out into nature. Sure, a quiet piece of woods with a great view of a lake or mountain is preferable, but anywhere where there are trees, or vistas, or ducks floating on a pond will do. If you can, leave the kids and partners at home, because it is when you find quiet that you find appreciation for what you have been given.
Step one: Turn off the earbuds and listen to the world instead. Stroll along at whatever pace feels right for you and just notice what shows up. See the needles on the tree fluttering in the wind, listen to the sound of water rushing over boulders in the creek, smell the pungent odor of sage after rain, or the gentle aroma of pine. Feel the soft touch of wind on your face, or the crunch of ice or pine needles under your feet.
Step Two: As you walk, find stillness in your mind and appreciate how good it feels to move your body along on this trail. If you stay alert, you will see that while a forest or a desert at first glance might seem to be uniform, it turns out that you will encounter many unique trees in the forest, many unique rock formations in the desert. Everywhere you look, there is a new angle of understanding into what this piece of nature is. Breathe it all in.
Finally: Stop. Sit. Observe. Give yourself at least ten minutes to just sit there. This might be hard for some of us who are used to always being on the go. But it is worth it. Because now, as you think about what you have seen and heard, you can’t help but smile in appreciation. And find gratitude for what just being out in nature can bring to your life.
By Tim Hauserman