“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Okay, I get it. You see the word gratitude everywhere you look this time of year. You read all of the gratitude posts from your friends on Facebook. "I am thankful for my husband." "I feel grateful for this new day. "I am thankful for all the opportunities life offers." Yada Yada Yada. While you appreciate the positive posts, maybe you feel a little flooded with all the warm and fuzzy thoughts about gratitude. Maybe it annoys you that people only talk about gratitude around the holidays and you are all about appreciating things year round. (Yeah YOU!) Before you dismiss gratitude (due to overdose!) take a moment to consider its power.
Author Brene Brown put it best when she said these three simple words: "Gratitude creates joy." If you gather up all the experts who study happiness, you won't find one who doesn't mention gratitude. Feeling thankful for all the blessings in your life--whether tiny (like your warm cup of delicious coffee) or big (you just had your first baby!) is the key to unlock your happiness. Seriously. Don't underestimate the power of gratitude.
The results of gratitude studies are conclusive: people who practice gratitude are happier, more fulfilled and even more productive. Think about it ... if you live in a grateful state you are continually viewing your life through a positive lens--scanning for all the good, all the things you enjoy and the simple pleasures about your day. When you are plugged in to gratitude you are living in the present. (If your mind is stuck in the past or living in the future you really do miss all the wonderful things happening right here, right now.) So, how can you create gratitude year round, you ask? Well, let me help you live with gratitude so you can experience more joy in your life.
Practice in your head. I know you don't have extra time to add anything to your to do list, so select a time when you are doing something like showering, brushing your teeth or showering and make it your gratitude time. Start listing what you feel happy about, what you want to take a second to appreciate, or the things in your life you think are going right. If your mind drifts off on a tangent, just come back to your mental list. The point of connecting a daily activity to gratitude is to get you in the habit of being grateful and to get your daily dose of happiness.
Practice on paper. Maybe you have always wanted to keep a journal but you don't feel like you have time. Keeping a gratitude journal can be a super quick way to connect to the positive. Even if you only take ten minutes a day, just jot down what you are grateful for in a list format, just as if you were making a grocery list. It's a super positive way to start your day. Consider keeping your notebook bedside and make it the first thing you do before your feet hit the floor. You just might surprise yourself at how easily you can think of things you appreciate. The bonus of practicing gratitude daily is you are creating a book of joy by capturing all the things that bring a smile to your face. Grab your gratitude journal and read it when you need a pick me up!
Practice appreciating you. Practice appreciating who you are. Jot down your acts of kindness and the internal things about yourself that you appreciate. Feeling good about yourself is a definite mood booster.Take five minutes and write down 10 things you are thankful for about your body. And don’t say you can’t think of anything! Focus on things you appreciate about your body instead of your complaints. Write down things like “I like the color of my hair” or “I am strong."
Being thankful is something we should practice daily. When you begin to see the power gratitude can play in your life, you will make it a part of your daily life and not something you do just because it's the holiday season. Choose to notice and immerse yourself into all of the amazing things about your life and experience more joy daily.