By informal definition, practicing gratitude means to take time to reflect and notice the things you are thankful for in life. Some people may think it is a form of prayer, meditation, discovery, or even just to refresh. For me, it is simply a time to reflect and refresh. The benefits of practicing gratitude are endless.
Practicing gratitude can be done in any way you see fit to your lifestyle. It can be done in the 2 minutes before you go to bed, you can take 30 minutes and meditate on it, or you can do it throughout the day. There is no rhyme or reason behind gratitude- simply be more present in the moment you are living, personally appreciate moments, and tell people when you appreciate them.
Here are a few ways for you to practice gratitude on an everyday basis. It doesn’t need to be anything extravagant- pick what works for you.
1: Have a gratitude journal
This was my first step to practicing gratitude. In the 5 minutes before I went to bed I reflect on three things:
- What I am grateful for today
- What I am looking forward to tomorrow
- What is an area for growth
These three questions allow me to think about the little things I was happy about throughout the day, what fun things I have planned for tomorrow, and where my opportunities are. This practice allows you to go to bed with a positive look on ending today and starting tomorrow.
I strongly recommend writing this down. It makes it much more real and allows you to go back and look at them in the future. Always date your journal too!
2: Live a little slower when you’re doing the things that make you happiest
Working out. Self Love. Hiking. Biking. Watching the sunset. Spending time with family. Whatever makes you happy, take it slow during these moments. Don’t rush yourself through your favorite part of your day. Take time to breathe, do your favorite things fully, document them, take photos. No matter how cliche this is, live life in the moment.
3: Make someone else’s day
A good friend once told me, “The cure to any bad mood is making someone else feel better”. I have found this to be true in so many ways. Anytime I am feeling down, I try to do something for someone else. By giving joy to someone else, it can give you so much satisfaction and joy too.
4: Tell people you are grateful for them
You don’t need to keep your gratitude to yourself. I love when people tell me they are thankful for me in some way. Even though the people closest to you know you are thankful for them, hearing it makes a world of a difference to you and them. Share your gratitude, don’t just keep it to yourself.
This doesn’t need to be people you love either- someone holding the door for you, buying your coffee, the cashier- just saying “thank you” more often is practicing gratitude.
5: Take photos
I know I briefly mentioned this above, but it warrants repeat- take photos of the things that make you happiest. When you are in a moment of euphoria- where you have butterflies or you can’t stop smiling or you are just so incredibly happy with who/where you are- take a photo of it. This allows you to refer back to your moments of happiness- be grateful for the happy times.
These are just 5 simple things to implement in your everyday life to practice gratitude. You can morph them into anything you want. Make your gratitude plan according to your lifestyle. If you would rather meditate on your daily gratitudes and goals- do it instead of writing them down. Experiment with a few things to see what you like best. The benefits are endless!
Some of the benefits of practicing gratitude include:
- More positive mood
- Higher creativity
- Fewer aches and pains
- More energy
- Better sleep
- Increases empathy and compassion- while decreasing aggression
- Ability to handle more stress
- Increases optimism
Just to name a few! Here are some studies behind the benefits of gratitude if you want to read more. You can see these benefits by simply keeping a gratitude journal for 2 minutes a night. Why not give it a shot?
More Mindful Living Posts: