I was sitting on a light blue couch complaining to my therapist about all the reasons why I was dissatisfied with my life. After I finished getting it all out, she asked me “What are you grateful for?” In my head, I was like “what the heck is wrong with this lady, that’s her response to all that I just said.” Long story short, she helped me realize that things weren’t as bad as I thought. When I took the time to reflect on all the positive aspects of my life, I felt lighter. After that day, I started journaling every morning about what I’m thankful for. To this day a morning doesn’t go by without me journaling.
Gratitude is transformative! Not many of us take time to reflect on all the good we have in our lives. Even if 2020 has been the worst year for you, you still have at least one thing to be grateful for. Gratitude reduces feelings of envy, makes our memories happier, lets us experience good feelings and helps us bounce back from stress. In a nutshell, gratitude is when you take the time to reflect on all the positive things in your life rather than focusing on all the negatives.
It is scientifically proven that gratitude is a powerful method for increasing happiness, reducing stress, depression, anxiety, and even physical pain. It’s very hard to complain when you decide to determine what you’re grateful for within every situation. Given that Thanksgiving is upon us, ’tis the season to be thankful. Let’s discuss 6 ways you can make gratitude a daily practice within your life.
1. Write it down
I like to start my mornings reflecting on things I’m grateful for. I keep a notebook and pen next to bed and that’s how I start every morning. Open up a notebook and write it down. Or if you want to get creative, create a gratitude wall with post-it’s and fill it with different things you’re grateful for daily. Or you can write what you’re grateful for down and throw it into a jar. Anytime you feel down this a great resource to reference.
2. Share what you’re grateful for with loved ones
Schedule time every day to connect with a friend, your partner, or a family member, and discuss what you’re grateful for today. Not only will this be a transformation for you but it’ll also help someone have a more positive outlook on their life. Even better, it’ll deepen your relationship with the other person. Gratitude makes us nicer, more trusting, social, and appreciative.
3. Recite what you’re thankful for to yourself
Get in front of the mirror and say what you’re thankful for. Many people like myself have experienced the benefits of reciting affirmations daily, try doing it as a gratitude practice. Look in the mirror and say it out loud. Talking to yourself helps you clarify your thoughts, tend to what’s important, and firm up any decisions you’re contemplating.” Sound is powerful! When you say what you’re grateful for our load, you’ll start to wholeheartedly believe them.
4. Do a self-gratitude meditation
You can complete a gratitude meditation laying down with your eyes closed or when you are enjoying some peace and quiet with your morning tea. Focus on your breath and reflect on things you’re grateful to have. When you’re thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more and creating abundance in your life. When you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never feel like you have enough.
5. Schedule time for your daily gratitude practice
Like any habit we want to establish, we have to start small and do it consistently in order for it to stick. Schedule a gratitude practice into your routine and commit to it. There’s no point in scheduling it if you forget to do it or chose to not do it. Set a reminder on your phone, decide on your method of choice from the different options above, and start. Consider even using a habit tracker app like the Way Of Life app to keep track of your progress. I’m sure like me you’re very motivated by results, this tracker will help you track your progress.
6. Show more appreciation for others
When you receive a compliment in person or online, thank the person who said it. When someone gives you something or opens the door, thank them. People love to be acknowledged. No one owes you anything so the least you can do is thank them. I was at a point where I would get so many messages in a day on Instagram, that I wouldn’t respond to all of them. But then I realized how I felt when someone didn’t thank me or acknowledge what I said. Granted, I don’t say nice things to get a response back but getting a response back strengthens my connection with the person. After realizing that I made it my duty to express gratitude to everyone that I can. I encourage you to do the same.