Gratitude is defined as “the quality of being thankful; a readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”
It is making a conscious effort to express your appreciation for what you have as well as the people in your life and why they are important to you.
Gratitude generates feelings of goodness, warmth and positivity; feelings that fill up your heart & soul and radiates out to others as well.
Sometimes, however, when life is challenging it can be hard to focus on the positive and recognize what you are truly grateful for.
So, how do you start practicing gratitude?
It starts with paying attention and noticing the goodness in life.
“Every day may not be good,
Start a gratitude jar. Find a pretty jar and place it in a special spot where you can see it and be reminded of what the jar holds. Cut strips of paper and place them and a pen with the jar (I like to use pretty scrapbook paper, but anything works … even a piece of an envelope). Everyday write something that you are grateful for on a paper and place it in the jar. You may find this hard at first, but it gets easier I promise (when I first started this practice, I was really thankful for tea hahaha). At the end of each month, or at the end of the year, empty the jar and read through all of your notes.
Keep a journal or calendar where you can note the big or little joys of daily life. There are even photo journal apps where you can have a mix of photos and words to remember the things that you are grateful for, sometimes a picture speaks louder than your words ever can.
Try practicing “3 good things”. At the end of every day, before you go to bed, write down 3 good things that happened that day. Doing this can put you in a more positive headspace and reduce your stress right before bed and should lead to a better nights sleep.
Write thank you notes. We tend not to actually express how grateful we are to the people in our lives. This practice serves 2 purposes … it fills your heart as you write to someone important to you and it warms the heart of the recipient as well to get your expression of gratitude and love. Plus, who doesn’t love getting good mail? And you never know how powerful it can be to tell someone they are doing a good job or that you appreciate what they do. Your words will probably hit them just when they need it most.
Why should you practice gratitude?
There are actual health benefits to practicing gratitude, but like anything it takes consistency (not perfection) to feel the benefits.
Benefits of Gratitude
One final note …
Remember, like everything in life, practicing gratitude is not about perfection. No one cares if you only sit down once this week to practice or if all you were grateful for today was a cup of tea. This practice is just for you.
Find the type of practice that resonated most with you and then mix it up every once in a while.
Expand from “I am grateful for …..” to “I am grateful for ….. because …..” This can add a world of enlightenment for you and help you to search your soul to figure out what really does make you happy and grateful.
So, what are you grateful for today?