Wake up in the morning and smile, even before looking at your phone. To smile: Simply close your lips and tighten them, pushing your cheeks away from your face. If it hurts a little, you’re doing it right. There, you’re ready for today’s “gratitude adjustment.” Thank the sun, the air in the room, the curtains. Don’t be OCD about it, just thank a bunch of random things and move on.
During your bathroom routine, look into the mirror to find something to be thankful for; that your ears are mostly proportionate to your head or that your eyes open and close. This might be challenging, but the cool thing about being grateful is that any time you sense a challenge, you can thank it, and then you win. Because being grateful, in a way, is about winning.
As you get dressed, marvel at your wardrobe. Think, “I have clothes!” Say it out loud, with wonder. Let it sink in. Run your hands over the fabric and marvel at the textures. Hold the frocks to your face and deeply inhale what each color smells like. Note: Practicing gratitude can be a lot like microdosing psychedelics.
During breakfast, take slow bites, chewing your food 40 times. Use this window to consider your teeth and how hard they work. Name them. As you go through the day, talk to them. Let them serve as your best friends. Especially the front two, who can see all and know all.
While you clean up after breakfast, thank your hands for being able to work in tandem and cleverly maneuver the slipperiness of soap. It’s such a mischievous compound, and just loves to cause trouble! Clap your hands to spank it for being so naughty, and also to make some bubbles.
What will you do with your day? Whatever you have in front of you, rejoice. It’s a real-life choose your own adventure book. What fun! Just don’t turn to page 18. If you do, accidentally, thank the crocodiles for their contribution to the environment, and while backing away slowly, admire their dead, cold, reptilian eyes.
If you make it past page 18, you shouldn’t need a prompt. Gratitude will naturally come to you, the way it does when the plane successfully travels through a particularly rough bout of turbulence. If you still need help, take a minute to rub your elbows and think about how wonderfully pointy and bendy they are.
You’ve reached the lull in your day. Remark aloud in the silence, envelop yourself in the boredom, and enjoy the marked lack of crocodiles. Look to the routine blocks of the day as joyful little landmarks; you’ve made it to another evening of pondering the age-old question, “What will I eat for dinner?”
Open the refrigerator and all the cabinet doors to let the rainbow of food options shine down upon you: aging carbs, canned things, freeze-dried vegetables, a bag of some weird chips a friend got you a year ago in Japan. Feel the gratefulness radiate out from your center, as you order a meal via Seamless or call in for take-out. Don’t confuse gratitude with hunger pangs, though they may resemble one another, and don’t forget to apply it to the awkward combination of “thank you” and “goodbye” mustered to the person on the other end.
The sleepy time hour beckons. This is the easiest time of day to be grateful, as you climb into your always forgiving bed and get delightfully horizontal. Feel your pillow under your head and thank it for being so gosh darn cozy. As you stretch, thank your limbs and body for successfully taking you through yet another dense, complicated day.
When sleep fails to come, push troubling thoughts away with a gentle, “No, but thanks anyway” like someone trying to hand you a flyer. Even the dark thoughts deserve gratitude: they mean your brain is operational. But now, tell it to kindly shut up, and instead thank the walls, the carpet, and your nose. As you drift off into a river of colors and shapes, thank your autonomous system for its automation. Snore in “thank” and breathe out “you.”
You did it, you grateful bastard!