Faye in Reflection

Given the preponderance of awfulness—awful violence, awful weather, awful words, awful politics— over the past two weeks, I turn to a consideration of simple, effective gratitude strategies that can be helpful in shifting our attention away from the negatives that swirl around us.

  • Intentionality is the key
  • Decide on a practice
  • Make gratitude a habit
  • Select a strategy

In this post, I will review 4 four key research-based principles for turning gratitude into a lasting habit recommended by The Greater Good in Action Website https://greatergood.berkley.edu/article/item/four_gratitude_strategies

  • COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS. Select a dedicated notebook. At the end of the day, write in detail about three things, large or small, that went well. Spend time with the details of the why and how each event left you with a sense of appreciation, happiness, or well-being.

Over this past weekend, my 13 year- old granddaughter, Zoe, accompanied my son, Craig, for a visit. One night, she prepared caramelized onions and asked, if I had a pair of protective eye goggles she could wear while cutting onions. “Will swimming goggles work,” I asked, pulling a wide framed pair from my catch-all drawer. Goggles in place, she cut and prepared the Vidalia onions like a pro. I experienced such pleasure in watching how carefully she positioned the cutting knife and how patiently she stirred until she perfected the texture.

  • MENTAL SUBTRACTION. This is a “what if” exercise that results in expanding the sense of positivity of a positive event. Consider a positive event such as a job opportunity, the meeting of a friend, an educational achievement. Reflect on what your life would be like without them.

Where would I be without this blog? Without the blog, I would not have the ongoing inspiration or motivation to continue to expand my dedicated gratitude practice and to step up on a regular basis to impart what I am experiencing and learning. The effect is a sense of aliveness in the challenge of daily living in these unprecedented times.

  • I’ve written at length about my practice of soul tracking where I suggest choosing a place in nature and paying attention to what attracts you— sights, sounds, smells— and pausing to reflect and savor. Researchers have coined this process The Savoring Walk—noting a 20-minute walk by yourself once a week, ideally a different route each time, has lasting effects one week later.

I am grateful for my winding garden path and tiny frog pond. Every day brings new possibility as unexpected lily blossoms open in October and tall zinnias continue to bloom. A ten-minute very slow walk can shift my mood and leave me content and happy for hours after.

  • SAY THANK YOU. All forms of acknowledgement of appreciation to others can make a difference to both the giver and the receiver. Research indicates that the effect of writing and delivering a gratitude letter has the greatest positive impact on happiness one month later.

 Dear Readers, Thanks to each and every one of you for reading this post and bringing the possible practice of gratitude into your life. I hope you will choose one strategy to try with the hope that you will find a measure and contentment as you embrace a practice. As always, please share your experiences in a comment.


  1. Jane Cawthorne

    Thanks again for another great post Faye. So much food for thought. I’ve printed it out and posted it where I meditate.

    1. fayewriter Post author

      I’m so pleased, Jane, that my post offers possibility and will join you in your quiet space. Seems perfect!

    1. fayewriter Post author

      Heather, I’m so pleased the strategies resonated with you and wish you contentment and happiness in your practice.

    1. fayewriter Post author

      Kat, thanks! I’m so happy the strategies speak to you. I find that the more I practice, the easier it is to get to a point of gratitude. I have the image of you in a canoe, starting out to paddle and as you get into a rhythm, the gliding gets smoother and longer.

  2. Sheila & Hy Kempler

    I focused on these issues this weekend as I sat in a NH emergency room with “cellulitis on my right hand
    that forunatetly wasn’t as serious as it can be – so I’m told – and ends up with intravenous antibiotic
    injections and a stay in the hospital. So I’m grateful that I could sit on my couch and view the beautiful reflections of the trees on the lake as the season changed from summer to fall.
    I am also aware and thankful as well for the wonderful medical care I receive that I take for granted.
    I’ve even received calls from my physicians. How impressive is that.
    So this season I am more aware of the world around me and in me with appreciation. Sheila

    1. fayewriter Post author

      Sheila, I’m so grateful to hear from you and to learn that you are in good care and on the mend. It’s lovely that you are in a space you love and know so well. I’m grateful the beauty calls out to you and aides your healing. May the healing continue into complete wellness. Love to you & Hy

  3. Patricia Rogers

    Faye…i think i mentioned to you that i was channeling you and this Gratitude Blog as i was having a recent root canal…ugh. i began to reflect on the gratitude i had that i had an excellent endodontist, could afford to pay for this procedure and was experiencing very little discomfort. I felt so fortunate! Then again at yoga on friday which i shared with my niece from Florida felt that sense of gratitude we were together having a special experience.
    so many opportunities to witness gratitude .
    Thank you again for your thoughtful reflections.

    1. fayewriter Post author

      Pat, Thank you for sharing two experiences where noticing and appreciating gratitude amplified your experience.

  4. Rosemary Booth

    I like the easy swing of the phrase, “simple, effective” the writer uses to introduce her strategies, and the simple relevance of a family anecdote: caramelized onions. Nice to find the personal reflections punctuated with images of pond lilies and zinnias–placid peace, along with late exuberance!

    1. fayewriter Post author

      I so appreciate your close-in reading and appreciation for the deeper reflections of home and family.

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