How to be more grateful, every day (using Liberating Structures)

On Friday, 9th August 2019, Tas & I led a session on gratitude at the Liberating Structures European Learning Gathering in Hamburg.

It was so productive and creative. Really useful.

That’s the power of Liberating Structures!

Purpose of the session

  • Building a daily & sustainable gratitude practice
  • Deepening gratitude practice over time

Wish you’d been there?

It only takes 10 minutes to start practising gratitude daily and deeply, the same way we did it in our session. Do it now. Yes, right now.

Spiral journal for gratitude

  1. Take a sheet of paper.
  2. Fold it in half and in half again
  3. Open it up so you have 4 sections

Spend 2 minutes drawing a spiral really slowly and tightly in the centre of your page. You may want to try drawing it the opposite way around from how you would automatically draw it.

Next, spend 2 min each writing responses to each of these invitations:

  • What are you grateful for?
  • How does that make you feel? / How do those things make you feel?
  • What difference does that make?
  • 15% solutions* to make gratitude a daily practice
    * (i.e. What’s your first step? What can you do without any additional time, money or permission?)

If you have 5 minutes more and a few friends (or strangers), you can share your ideas for practising gratitude with each other.

Just found this video – it has some great tips for being grateful

How to be grateful: Ideas from our session

I knew we would get a lot of great ideas during our session, but I was still surprised at just how creative and productive it was. Thank you everyone.

  • During evening journalling, write down what I’m grateful for and the moment I most enjoyed from that day
  • Upon waking, before doing anything else, write down 3 things I’m grateful for, or just think about them
  • Put spiral journal invitations from above next to bathroom mirror, so that I think about them whilst I’m brushing my teeth twice a day: Ask ‘what are you grateful for?’ as part of morning routine
  • Change the label on my phone’s alarm to say ‘be grateful’
  • When someone asks me ‘How are you?’ reply with ‘I’m grateful for…’
  • Change the browser on my homepage to a reminder to be grateful
  • Do loving kindness meditations
danke! (thank you in German)

How to deepen our gratitude practice over time

After spiral journalling, we used 1-2-4-all to think & talk about ideas for building on a daily practice. Here’s what we came up with:

  • Spiral journalling
  • Say to people: I want to be more grateful and listen to what they say
  • Gratitude Liberating Structures?!
  • Make a gratitude log or collection in my bullet journal
  • Write gratitude letters to the things I’m grateful for, including future things that I’m anxious about
  • Meditate on gratitude
  • Write a blog post about gratitude
  • Monthly check in with people
  • Add this invitation to the others: What will I do with my gratitude?
  • Run a Liberating Structures user group session focused on gratitude
  • Be grateful for the whole, including things I don’t like, such as particular feelings, parts of myself, experiences
  • Thank my old behaviours that don’t serve me any more but used to
  • Understand my needs behind something – delve into my feelings
  • Think about how I can return the favour to things I’m grateful for by sharing with others, eg when I’m grateful for people’s smiles, make sure I smile more at people
  • Share what we’re grateful for over dinner with my family

What next?

Daily gratitude page

I started making a page for gratitude each day in my bullet journal. The min specs are write the word gratitude and whatever else I’m moved to add.

Today, I combined that with some Drawing Together. Since I’m also practising using Liberating Structures each day too.

If you try out any of these practices, I’d love to hear how you get on.

How it helped me

On Saturday, I decided to create a gratitude page each day in my bullet journal. What reminded me about gratitude was seeing the session purpose on the front cover of my bujo, which I had stuck there temporarily.

So, I replaced it with a permanent reminder to be grateful.

"daily & deep gratitude practice" in large letters on pink book cover
my bujo with its new & improved cover