Rose, rose, thorn, bud —

Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.’

— Henry Ward Beecher

We are all interested in being the happiest version of ourselves, and practising gratitude is a useful exercise in the pursuit of this worthy goal.

It helps us to maintain a more balanced outlook on life by counteracting our natural tendency to dwell on the negative.

In other words, instead of focusing on what we don’t have or what isn’t going so well, it encourages us to focus on the positive aspects.

One way to achieve this is to keep a gratitude journa l which acts as a written record of positive events you can draw upon when you need a mood boost.

Another way is to play a simple game with your family around the dinner table.

It’s called ‘rose, rose, thorn, bud’ and it comes from the Canadian author Neil Pasricha who wrote the excellent book The Happiness Equation.

Either before or after you’ve enjoyed your meal, each person takes it in turn to say the above flower-themed words accompanied by a moment of reflection.

The word ‘rose’ stands for something good that happened in your day.

Think back and recall two positive events and say them out loud. It doesn’t matter how significant they are; the trick is just to acknowledge them.

The word ‘thorn’ is for something that didn’t go so well. Whatever it is, try to share it without passing judgement or feeling shame.

Finally, the word ‘bud’ is for something you’re looking forward to. Again, voice it aloud to the group.

It may sound trivial, but this exercise helps train the mind to see things in a more balanced light and to steer it away from its tendency to favour the negative.

Like anything, the more you practice it, the better it gets and it won’t be long before you find that life seems that little bit rosier than before.

Originally published at on December 14, 2020.




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