When you practice gratitude every day, it will change your life. Gratitude is so much more than a simple thank you when someone does something nice for you. It is more than a feeling that you get after receiving something you wanted. For example, when you get that promotion or pay raise at work. We wish that feeling of gratitude at that moment could last forever, but it usually fades as time goes by. There are many techniques for practicing gratitude, and we will get into that, but first, what is gratitude?
I know deep. Right? The dictionary definition of gratitude is short and leaves it open to its reader. We interpret what we read differently, which is why gratitude is so much more than just being thankful and showing appreciation every once in a while. Gratitude is the key to happiness. When you become grateful for the things and people you have in your life, a whole world opens up.
Although being grateful is an emotion, we sometimes feel like we don’t have control over feeling gratitude. You do. Every day, you have a choice. You can choose to be thankful for the house you live in because it shelters you. It doesn’t matter how shitty you think your home is. What matters is that you have a place to live.
Gratitude is all about your mindset. You have the choice to choose to see the good in your life instead of the bad. I started implementing gratitude into my everyday routine, and my outlook on life changed. I still complain about shit, but I am more aware of my words. Also, when I practice gratitude, it helps improve my mindfulness and overall attitude towards life.
Why You Should Practice Gratitude
Walking around feeling sorry for yourself will put you in this never-ending loop of self-pity. It might be challenging to see the good in your life at times, but there is. You have to look for it. If you are looking to improve your attitude in life, gratitude is the answer. There are many benefits to practicing gratitude, like improving your relationships, physical and mental health. It also enhances your empathy towards others while reducing aggression. You can read more about the benefits of a gratitude practice with this great article I found on psychologytoday.com. They give you scientifically proven benefits to help you understand why a gratitude practice is essential.
How to Practice Gratitude Every Day
Time to get to the good stuff. I have explained what gratitude is and some of the benefits. Now it is time for the how. These are the methods I use every day to keep a gratitude mindset.
Journaling has many benefits, but writing down what you are grateful for every day is one of my favorites. When you wake up in the morning, make it a point to write down 3-5 things you are grateful for in your life. When you start your day with gratitude, it gets you started on a positive note. It has to be positive, or it won’t work list things you like about yourself, appreciation for what you have, or people you value in your life.
Journaling isn’t your jam. No worries, there is a straightforward solution you can take pictures. Go around and take photos of things you are grateful for. The trick to this is to look at the pictures and think of reasons you are thankful for whatever you took a picture of. It could be your house, a picture of your kids, a flower. It is your gratitude practice, so make it about yourself and the things you appreciate. You can then create a collage on the screen saver on your phone, or if you are looking to get creative, print them out and make a collage in your home.
Another one of my favorite practices is the gratitude rock. Find a small rock that feels good in your hand and carry it around with you in your pocket. Every time you touch it, think of something you are grateful for. Even when you feel overwhelmed or stressed you can reach for your gratitude rock to get you back into a gratitude mindset. Also, every night before you go to sleep, hold your rock in your hand, think of the best thing that happened to you that day, and say “Thank You.”
Having a gratitude jar around comes in handy, and everyone can participate. You can decorate the jar to your liking make it fun. Then get some paper and a pen. I suggest small squares to make it easy to fit your gratitude notes into the jar. Every day take the time to write down three things you are grateful for that day. It can be as simple as a cup of coffee. I prefer to do this when I get home from work, so I show appreciation for the little things that happened that day,
Set reminders on your phone so you remember to stop for a moment and think of something you are grateful for. By setting a reminder stops you during your day-to-day activities and helps you reflect on what you appreciate in your life or an act of kindness that you experienced.
Meditation, Meditation, Meditation… OMG, please meditate. When you meditate, it helps to clear your mind, reduces stress, and increases your mindfulness. You can read the 5 Benefits of Meditation to understand why it is so important to meditate. Once you start meditating, you can begin to practice gratitude meditation. The difference between meditation and gratitude meditation is simple.
With meditation, you are intentionally becoming aware of your breath and keeping a clear mind. With gratitude meditation, you visualize all the things in your life you are grateful for. I suggest you start with regular meditation for about 5 minutes to clear your mind. Then after you have quieted your thoughts, begin the gratitude meditation.
When you practice gratitude, it can improve your life and relationships. When I first started practicing, I was in a very dark place in my life. I was downright miserable, if I am being honest. I was stuck in a vicious cycle of self-pity and self-hatred, spiraling out of control feeling sorry for myself. Do you know what got me out of my head and back into life? GRATITUDE & MEDITATION. It isn’t about how many times you get knocked down. It is about how many times you can pull yourself back up.
The key to pulling yourself back up is being thankful for all the good you have in your life. So when you start to feel yourself slipping, use gratitude practice to pull yourself up. Practice every day, so when a storm comes, you can face it head-on without losing your self-worth.