The feeling of appreciation.
Everyone knows something about it, but very few have mastered how to practice it.
Since I was a child I can remember my parents saying to me that I should be grateful for all that I have. More specifically, this reminder was usually brought up while we were out to dinner at a restaurant and I was unable to finish the food on my plate. Many children are told the same story, “There are children starving in Africa, finish your plate because you are lucky to have that food.” I knew how to say, “thank you for this food” at that moment. I was happy, taken care of, and fortunate enough to be brought up in a situation that allowed me to not worry about having my basic needs met.
Now let’s look at what happens when you change the comfortable story to a story or experience where you and your life is filled with “sh#t.” How easy is it for you, in these moments, to stop amongst the chaos and say thank you for what is actually good that is going on in your life during that chaotic time?
HOW TO PRACTICE GRATITUDE?
Being able to identify what you are grateful for by focusing your attention on the positive things and areas of your life when life is good. It allows you the ability to create the same synaptic connections when everything seems to be down in your life. Like any skill we learn, without practice we do not become better or stronger at said skill. Focusing your attention is a skill that requires development to enhance its efficacy. Gratitude can change a bad situation into a manageable,maybe even an enjoyable, situation.
Gratitude is a skill that requires practice.
Here are a few of the ways I practice gratitude in my everyday life:
- Create a time in the day when you intentionally identify what you are grateful for. This works well if you attach the practice to a specific daily thing that you do consistently. For example, I do this every morning with my husband as we sit together and drink our coffees. You can also do this in the shower or just before you close your eyes in the evening.
- Listen to guided affirmations for gratitude. This is a great option for those who find it hard to identify what they are grateful for because of anxiety or depression. I love this one. His voice is gentle, but not too far out there. I do not do this daily, but will use it if I am feeling overwhelmed.
- Start a gratitude writing journal habit. This 90-day journal is the result of my own journaling journey towards gratitude. A mentor I was working with suggested to commit for three months. I spent 5-8 minutes each day asking myself three questions. It is incredible how easy the daily task became quickly. Grow your Gratitude Journal
- FIll up a Gratitude Jar. I have not personally done this but think the idea is awesome. On good days you write something or things down and toss it in a jar/ On hard days, you pull out what you need to remind you how blessed your life truly is. Josie has created something beautiful
BENEFITS OF A LIFE FILLED WITH GRATITUDE ARE:
- Improved physiological health
- Improves self esteem
- Provides mental health
- Reduces stress
- Produces happy hormones
- Increases positivity
- Boosts your metabolism and immune system
Gratitude turns what we have into enough.
- Gratitude shifts perspective. It’s that simple. In an instant, you are in a place of happy thoughts for as long as you are willing to stay there.
- Daily focus on gratitude allows us to see that no matter how bad a day stinks, you still have your physical life, ability to walk, water to drink, and a safe home, etc. Too often, we take the basics for granted. These are a privilege that many people do not have.
- Many focus on what is wrong vs what is right. You get whatever you focus on. Whatever you focus on multiples and expands. When you are grateful, blessings will expand. If you complain about what you don’t have or what is not working, you will multiply that too.
Gratitude turns what we have into enough. If you spend time practicing, gratitude is a powerful naturalizer when rough waters hit. It suppresses feelings of depression and anxiety. Living life with gratitude ultimately leads to inner peace, positivity, and happiness. It can change your entire outlook on life even when life is good.
Instead of looking at things you don’t have and feeling miserable about them, learn to appreciate what you have. Gratitude teaches you acceptance – freeing you from the toxic and negative emotions that like to creep in.
ADOPT AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE – 60 DAY GUIDED JOURNAL DOWNLOAD
I would like to invite you to practice your gratitude and adopt a daily habit of developing the skill. It, truly, is an emotional and mental savour if you find yourself in a chapter of life that is dark and unforgiving. Download the free Grow your Gratitude Journal here
Let me know what you are grateful for today in the comments below.