The Grateful Game

We caught ourselves doing it again: complaining. As hard as we tried, we still couldn't break the habit. At the same moment, we realized the error of our ways, looked at each other, and said almost simultaneously, "let's play the grateful game."

The game began after my mom and I decided to read The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. In the book, the themes always come back to being grateful for what you have and believing in what you want out of life. By complaining, we found that we weren’t acting the way that we wanted to be living. So whenever we fell into that negative trap filled with moments of nagging, frustration, hurt, or simply grumpy, we decided the best way to pick ourselves up and brush it all off was by playing the grateful game.

Ready to learn how to play? All you need is you and another person to participate to turn your mood around and learn to put certain moments into perspective. Since you’re reading this, I think it’ll work best if we were partners: reader and writer. The rules are simple: one, there are no judgments! I’m sharing what I’m grateful for, and these sentiments are all my own specific thoughts and opinions, and the same goes for you, the reader. So there’s no need to feel pressured or embarrassed by what you’re grateful for. And two, be grateful. Now, let's play.

First, we each think of something that we are grateful for. It can be something as simple as enjoying a cup of coffee or the warm weather or could be as grand as being able to afford to buy something special without having to worry about money. The possibilities and choices for what you can be grateful for are endless, just remember to feel the feelings associated with being grateful. When you feel grateful, what comes to mind? Happy? Joy? Being blessed? Blissful? Content? Appreciation?

Begin to let those emotions come to you as you think of those things in life that you’re grateful for. I know that even as I write this, I’m savoring the peacefulness as it comes to me. Has your mood already started to lift as the joy of being alive fills you? Good! And if not, that’s okay too. Just keep reading.

Once you’ve come up with a list of at least three things, you take turns sharing what you are grateful for. We each start the sentence with “I am grateful for.” Because we’re not actually together right now, I’ll begin.

“I am grateful for... my strong, healthy legs that allow me to run as few, or as many, miles as I want.”

Then you could repeat the same sentence or tailor it to something similar. And after that, you would share something new that you appreciate in life. So you would say,

“I am grateful for... a healthy, strong body that allows me to walk anywhere I want.”

But then you would add something new to the chain of gratefulness like,

“I am grateful for... learning something new, like the grateful game.”

And I could alter your sentence to “I am grateful for... getting to teach you something new. I am also grateful for... my favorite candy, sour patch kids” It may be silly, I know, but remember there are no judgments!

Then you could share what your favorite candy is plus something else that you appreciate in life. Even though this is just a few statements tangled together to make up a game, its effects can make or break your mood. Because while we’ve been busy chatting about our favorite candy and our appreciation for good health, we’ve forgotten about what it was that we were whining about in the first place.

Easy, right? Even if you don’t decide to make this part of your daily habits for improving a mood, I challenge you to try playing this at least once. You may end up teaching this to someone else who then passes it on to the next person. Or you may not ever think twice about this. Either way, I hope that you find yourself feeling a little more appreciative of the life you’re living.

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