Practicing Gratitude

Do you practice gratitude?  If not, you should really consider it.

It has been said that reflecting on what you are grateful for on a regular basis helps you to become more self-aware allowing you to gain clarity and focus on what really matters to you in life.  It will give you a better appreciation of your life as it is.  Not to mention the numerous health and social benefits that being more grateful carries with it.

To read more on the science behind gratitude, read: The Science Behind Gratitude (and How It Can Change Your Life)

Why did I start practicing gratitude on a regular basis?

I woke up at 2:30 am one morning this past winter because our younger dog, Charlie, wanted to go outside.   As soon as my husband got out of bed to take him downstairs, both dogs thundered down behind him.  Within seconds both dogs also changed their minds and ran back upstairs and jumped on the bed again and quickly went back to sleep.  Our older dog, Danny was snoring so heavily that I was not able to fall back asleep.  This was especially frustrating because my alarm goes off at 5:00 am. After I had enough of trying to sleep and finally decided to just get out of bed.

During breakfast, I   took the frustration of my horrible night’s sleep out on my husband (even though it wasn’t his fault), I then proceeded to let other issues surface and all of a sudden, I realized that it wasn’t my lack of sleep that was bothering me as much as I was letting so much negativity, unresolved matters and toxicity consume me.   I got really upset and ran upstairs sobbing.  Within minutes, my husband came upstairs and wrapped his arms around me and I was able to calm down.

That simple hug did so much to turn how my day had started and I was so grateful for a gesture that took seconds to make a difference to my attitude.  And it was a very helpful factor in getting my practice of gratitude off the ground.

How do I practice gratitude?

  • Every morning, when I get up, I try to think of at least one thing I am grateful for. I only need one thing or one person to start my day.  It gives me a positive thought to start my day off right.
  •  I have become more mindful of situations and people’s actions and I make mental notes when I see something good happen or when I see someone being kind or generous to others, especially if “others” include me.
  • I have started telling people that I am grateful to have them in my life.
  • If I am having a bad day and struggling to find something to be grateful for, I take some time to be alone (self care) and during that time it seems to come naturally and I can often think of several things.
  • I keep a gratitude journal. I like to use http://getgratitude.co/  It’s an app for my phone that is really simple to use.  I can set reminders to prompt me and I like that I can add pictures to visualize what I’m grateful for.  If digital logging isn’t for you, there are many really nice paper journals you can buy at Chapters or on Amazon, or just use a note book.

No matter how you practice it, it isn’t wrong, but I do recommended that you journal what you’re grateful for because it gives you a chance to go back over what you have read and eventually have a deeper appreciation of everything you have reflected on in the past.  The list of things/events/people you are grateful for can be as short or as long as you want.  If you only have one thing to be grateful for that day, it’s a great start and better than not having anything to be grateful for at all.

It is also important to remember that it takes 21 days for mental habits to form so if you find your gratitude practices are amounting to nothing and are in vain in just a few days, keep going…  You’ll get there!

Practicing gratitude helps to destroy the negative thoughts because it forces you to focus your attention on the good in your life.

Stay grateful readers xo



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