Last week, my yoga teacher ended class in a way I had not experienced before. Right before we ended with a synchronized “Om,” she asked us to participate in a round of “Rapid-Fire Gratitude.”
I loved it.
Essentially, this was an approximately one minute period in which we were to think of as many things as possible for which we are grateful. I think the fact that she specifically stated that we were to do it “rapid-fire” style triggered my brain to run through as many things as possible in that time period. It’s amazing what comes to your brain when you’re challenged to thinkfast.
Gratitude doesn’t have to be about big things. Gratitude can be for anything. Life. Recovery. And if you’re not there, for having a strong team to help you on your hard days. For the unrelenting love you receive from your dog. For the 10, or 16, or 3 years you had with your dog who recently passed. For the ability to afford delicious food, something too many people in the world cannot do. For yoga. For your limbs and moving your body. For living somewhere with access to hospitals when your body is struggling. For your friends. For friends who are comfortable enough with your relationship to tell you how they feel, even when that leads to arguments. For music. For coffee. For decaf when your body cannot handle caffeine. For a beautiful day. For a rainy day that makes you want to lay around and watch a movie. For your first grade teacher for believing in you.
The list can include anything you want – past or present. Maybe even future.
In class, we practiced this individually and silently, however, I think it could also be great to practice out loud and with others – around the dinner table, in a therapy group, on a long drive with friends, anywhere.
Rapid-Fire Gratitude can be practiced when you’re happy, sad, or anywhere in between. In DBT, the IMPROVE skill includes “Prayer,” and for many people, their head jumps to religious prayer when this skill is taught. That helps many, however, some people do not identify with a particular religion and seek other kinds of spiritual involvement. Rapid-Fire Gratitude is a great example of how to open yourself to something powerful as a way to get through a challenging moment, to deal with life’s inevitable struggles, or to celebrate and reflect on the present.
While, currently, we tend to designate Thanksgiving as the day to give thanks and reflect on our blessings, imagine the mind- and mood-shift that could happen if we practiced Rapid-Fire Gratitude on a more regular basis. It could be a calming way to end your day, an energizing way to start it, a pick-me-up when you’re in a rut, a way to pass the time in moment of distress, anything. Let’s make it a habit and see what happens.
(Note: If you are struggling with depression, this may be challenging, especially at first. Start small, be patient with yourself, and ask for help when you need it.)