Gratitude is for the Birds
Why Should You Try It: Sometimes its hard to remember to appreciate the birds chirping outside your window or how much fun it was as a child to run after an unsuspecting flock in the park. This exercise requires that you set aside some time to stroll around your neighborhood or take a walk in a park to appreciate the little things that surround you, like the birds and the tress, and realize what it would mean if you woke up one day and they had disappeared.
Time Required: 20 minutes once a day for a week.
How to Do It: Set aside 20 minutes to take a walk outside by yourself every day for a week. Try to stick to this schedule unless the weather is extremely bad. You can still do this exercise in a light rain—provided you have a decent umbrella and rain jacket.
As you walk, try to notice as many positive things around you as you can. These can be sights, sounds, smells, or other sensations. For example, you could focus on the breathtaking height of a tree you never really noticed before, the intricate architecture of a building on your block, the dance of sunshine off a window or puddle, the smell of grass or flowers, or the way other people look out for each other as they navigate crowded streets. As you notice each of these positive things, acknowledge each one in your mind—don’t just let them slip past you. Pause for a moment as you hear or see each thing and make sure it registers with your conscious awareness, really take it in. Try to identify what it is about that thing that makes it pleasurable to you and what things would look like if they were no longer there. Try to walk a different route each day so you don’t become too accustomed to any of these things and start to take them for granted. Once you’ve explored alone, bring family member or a friend along to see what they notice. During or after your walks, consider ways that you could help protect your local environment, like sponsoring a neighborhood cleanup, disposing of waste like chemicals and batteries properly and turning off the water when you brush your teeth.
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