During the holidays, we’re used to reflecting and being thankful for what we have. It’s great to count your blessings around this time of year, but have you ever thought about how awesome it would be if we were grateful year-round?
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I never realized the importance of being grateful daily until I read You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero (p.s., if you haven’t read this book, you need to – it’s life changing.) Yes, I’ve heard “be thankful for what you have” a million times but it’s easier said than done and I didn’t think it would actually make a difference.
I always admired those people who were happy-go-lucky all the time, who breathed rainbows and butterflies and saw the positive in everything. But because that isn’t my personality, I thought that being positive and thankful was just not part of who I was. How is being expressively grateful going to change anything, I thought.
Boy, was I wrong.
We’re sometimes so caught up in what we don’t have, that we forget to be thankful for what we do have. I believe in the simple concept of what you put out, you get in. The more positive vibes you put out, the more positive vibes you get back. It’s all about the energy you’re focusing on and attracting to you.
You may be thinking yeah well, I’m not into the whole you-get-out-what-you-put-in type thing. Don’t worry, science always comes in handy! Practicing gratitude daily has been proven to have numerous health benefits. It makes you more proactive, boosts your happiness, helps you sleep better, boosts your immune system, improves your resilience, and enhances your mood. Since the connection between your mind and body is so strong, being grateful is one of the simplest ways to improve your quality of life.
Being grateful only takes a few minutes out of your day and can positively impact your life tremendously.“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.” – Anthony Robbins. Click To Tweet
What is gratitude
The Oxford dictionary defines gratitude as:
The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
Gratitude is a state of being. As Jen Sincero puts it, “truly being in a state of gratitude is about having an awareness of, and a deep appreciation for, the many miracles in your life.”
And she means miracles, as in even ordinary events because gratitude teaches you to view your life as if everything was a miracle.
Practicing gratitude daily is about rewiring your brain into a more positive state of mind, so you can see the good in everything and be thankful for the small, the big and everything in-between. Instead of grumbling about all the bad things that have happened throughout your day, you can focus on finding the goodness in your day and that in itself is incredibly beneficial for the mind, body, and soul.
Tips to changing your mindset to practice gratitude daily
- Think of the big and the small that you’re grateful for, but try to focus on the specifics. Specifics tend to leave more of an impact. (e.g., Good: I’m grateful for my apartment. Best: I’m grateful for the sunshine that cracks through my bedroom window every morning.)
- Allow yourself to be grateful for ANYTHING YOU WANT. It can be as simple as your favorite coffee mug that matches your favorite fuzzy socks or the cool brisk on your face as you walk your dog. The small, the big, the in-between – you can be grateful for whatever your heart desires.
- Whenever something amazing, annoying or just plain negative happens think “This is good because …”. Think of the positive that is coming out of it (there’s always something!). Finding the good and the lessons in every situation, allows you to reflect on why some bad things happen for good reasons.
- Use visual reminders that will help to remind you to be thankful. It can be a book, wall sign, candle, flower, crystal – use it as a trigger so that whenever you see it you’re reminded to be grateful.
- Get into a practical routine. If you’re more likely to have time at night to practice gratitude, don’t try to do it in the morning and vice versa. Do what works for you.
Related post: 8 tips for building habits that stick
Simple ideas to practice gratitude daily
1. Gratitude list/journal
Start a daily gratitude list where you write down a few things that you’re grateful for at the beginning or end of each day. You can even start a journal where you write a detailed summary of your favorite moment of each day. Writing down what you’re grateful for on paper helps to be present and appreciative, making it easier to absorb the positive emotion.
2. Express gratitude
Telling someone how much you appreciate them and why, not only gets you practicing gratitude but it also fortifies the relationship you have with them. You can express gratitude for your favorite humans through a handwritten note, a phone call, or even a text.
So tell your co-worker how thankful you are for them staying late to help you finish a proposal, let your significant other know how much you appreciate them for making dinner, or call your mom and tell her how happy you are that she’s your mom. It may sound corny, but letting the people that surround you know how grateful you are for them produces positive and grateful feelings all around.
3. Start a gratitude jar
Like a journal, a gratitude jar holds our fondest memories that we’re thankful for – but it makes it a little more fun. Every night, write something that happened during the day that you’re grateful for on a small piece of paper and put it in a mason jar. At the end of each week, month, or year, reading through all the notes will help you think of all the great things that were happening in your life without you realizing it. If you want to involve the entire household, assign a paper color to each person and make it a gratitude party.7 simple ideas to make gratitude a daily habit Click To Tweet
4. Morning coffee/tea/breakfast gratitude
Instead of scrolling mindlessly through Facebook as you sip on your morning drink or eat breakfast, make it a morning ritual where you simply think about what you’re grateful for. Whether it’s the aroma of your coffee or the way the morning light hits your plants, tying gratitude to an activity you already do will help you to be more consistent in your practice.
5. Make it obvious
Think about it, your environment has a big impact on how you feel. Every time you open your laptop, unlock your phone, or walk into your room or office, you’re staring at an opportunity that can be put to good use.
So plaster an inspirational gratitude quote on your phone’s wallpaper or computer’s screensaver, get a cute notebook to motivate you to practice gratitude, or buy uplifting bedroom décor. The more obvious you make gratitude in your daily space, the more you will be reminded to think positively and practice gratitude.
6. Make it a daily dinner-time question
Instead of the usual “how was your day?”, make it, “what are you thankful for that happened today?” Rather than opening the conversation with any negative things that could’ve happened, you lead it with something positive and uplifting. Not only will it help you in your gratitude practice, but it’ll also help your loved ones look for the good in their days. No better way to start dinner if you ask me!
7. Every time you go outside think about all the positive things you see
We can be in such a rush sometimes, that we forget to truly take in all the beautiful things we encounter daily. Take note of the cloudless sky (or gloomy sky, if that’s your thing), the beautiful blooming flowers on your walk to your car, the trees gracefully swaying in the wind, the way a stranger greets you with a smile. Every moment is an opportunity to stop and notice all the things we can be grateful for.
Like they say, the secret to having it all is knowing you already do. Find what works for you and take a few minutes of your day to reflect on all the good in your life. It’ll take time but the more you practice the more you’ll reap the benefits of practicing gratitude daily. There will be some days that will be easier than others, but there will always be simple pleasures to be grateful for.
Now over to you…Do you have any tips or ideas on how to practice gratitude daily?