Tips for Practicing Gratitude
It’s time for a new habit! For this habit, we will be focusing on how to practice gratitude with a Gratitude Routine. Practicing daily gratitude is going to make a difference in your life each day. It’s a small step that will change your outlook as you go out into the world.
How to Practice Gratitude
It’s amazing how feeling gratitude in the morning can change your outlook on the day. You could be facing a major catastrophe in your life—but if you start out the day with gratitude anything is possible.
Learning how to practice gratitude is like an anchor for your ship in rocky seas. No matter what weather is thrown at you, if you are thankful and grateful for what you already have, your ability to be resilient in the face of adversity will increase.
Gratitude changes how you feel about the world and yourself. Instead of thinking about everything that is wrong about your life and you, you can think about what’s right.
However, it’s hard to learn how to practice gratitude when you don’t feel good about yourself and your life. It may be time for a Gratitude Makeover.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Think about your current level of gratitude. Do you spend most of your time wishing things were different or are you content with how things are? If every day is a struggle, that could be a sign that you need to make some changes in your life.
If you truly hate your job, where you live, your spouse, or your friends, it might be time to make some changes on those fronts. On the other hand, if aspects of your life are okay but your mindset is not good, then you don’t need to change anything on the outside—it’s an inside job.
2. Consider your thoughts.
What are your thoughts like through the day? Are they mostly positive or mostly negative? If you are constantly thinking negative thoughts about yourself and your life throughout the day, it’s important to work on that too, alongside boosting your gratitude. You may need to start fresh and throw out your old thoughts in favor of some new ones.
3. Consider your self-care. How are your exercise habits? Are you eating healthy food? You will be going up against a brick wall trying to practice gratitude and at the same time putting junk into your body and not moving everyday. Make time for exercise and good food in your life.
4. Have you tried in the past and failed? If you’ve tried in the past and failed to develop a gratitude habit, it could be that you were making it too hard. Let’s try again but keep it simple this time.
5. Are you making it easy on yourself? Make gratitude fun. Don’t make it something that is hard; keep it as simple as possible. We’ll get to that in a second.
Gratitude is what is going to keep you going through the day, even on those days when you feel like a social misfit or when your anxiety is running high. Every challenge you face is a chance to learn and grow—try to remember that.
View your daily gratitude practice as being of the same importance as anything else you keep up with regularly like putting gas in your car. How far would you get without filling your gas tank? Your life will also run more smoothly when you are grateful and thankful.
If you start your day with a bad attitude, you will attract more of that through the day. On the other hand, if you start your day being grateful, you will attract more good things.
Once you learn how to practice gratitude, you will show more respect for yourself as well, and you will be creating a space for yourself in the world that is positive.
So now that you’re ready, how do you do it?
How to Practice Gratitude With a Routine
Below are the simple steps for your gratitude routine. I like to keep things simple and not require any extra tools (like a journal or app), because as soon as you make something complicated, you stop doing it. You can always add these in later once you’ve established the habit.
Step 1. Don’t get out of bed in the morning until you’ve found something to be grateful for (credit for this idea goes to Daniel Dowling of Millenial Success).
Step 2. Make that thing specific rather than general. It’s better to be thankful for a walk in the woods that you took instead of the more general “I am thankful for my health.”
Step 3. If you can’t think of anything to be grateful for, get out of bed, but go straight to doing something to improve your mental health, such as exercising or meditation. Then try again tomorrow.
Taking it a Step Further
If you’re finding it hard to remember things you are grateful for, you can take this a step further and start keeping track. You might use an app on your phone and record the small things in your day that make you happy. You could have a dry erase board or chalkboard in your house where you and family members jot down little bits of gratitude.
Write at the top: “Today, I am grateful for…” and then write the numbers 1., 2., 3., etc. … as many as you like. Have everyone write something down as they brush their teeth at night or before they head out the door.
Gratitude is appreciation for what you have instead of feeling like you don’t have what you want. It can even be gratitude for the struggles that you are facing, because they are making you stronger. Say “Thank you” to your struggles and they lose their power.
Are you ready? You can get started tomorrow.