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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Minimizing Moping Via Naikan

Thanks to my wife's influence and ongoing education in positive psychology, beginning early this year I added a new element to my journal - each entry there has been accompanied by a statement of gratitude. Even on days when I've repeated myself or noted something mundane to be grateful for over the past ten months, adding this simple step to my routine has helped minimize my moping. Those of you who have tried something like this, even if you haven't yet fully integrated it into your life, please share with others any benefits you've derived.

Some days, like today ("I'm grateful the people I worked with in my last full time job still value my expertise") the entry flows easily. On those days when no obvious "event" stirs my gratitude (and I'm trying not to repeat an earlier entry), I try using a Japanese tradition called "naikan" I first saw attributed to Ishin Yoshomoto. Naikan suggests we each spend time noticing our immediate surroundings and then acknowledge our gratitude for something as basic as the chair we're sitting on. According to this tradition, training yourself to do this helps your life become a small set of miracles, i.e. we become mindful of all the things that go right vs. being preoccupied with the few things that go wrong. I've found it very easy to find things to be grateful for when I remember to use naikan.

I'm curious to hear how this goes for you, online or off.


  1. I'm grateful for my husband's constant pursuit of knowledge...I'm lucky to be with someone who, by extension of being so interested, is so interesting.

  2. I love this post! It reminds me to keep working at being grateful for the little things :)

    1. My two biggest fans responding to the same post; now there's something to be grateful for!!