My “dawn” of insight on gratitude
12 simple ways to practice daily gratitude
This morning one of my first thoughts as I woke was “Oh yayyy, the sun is out!”
It’s been dark and gloomy and windy the last couple of days and I had been lamenting that fact.
Then it dawned on me, that’s how gratitude often shows up in our lives, right?
We get sick and once the pain or discomfort eases, we say “I am so glad I’m starting to feel better!”
Or, we go through a difficult life situation and once we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel we say “I’m so glad that’s over!”
There’s the tendency to let our environment, our life situations, dictate our sense of appreciation for life.
It’s the contrast of the light and dark, the pain and the happiness, that often illuminates the things we appreciate in our world.
It’s a natural human tendency, I think.
Even those of us who strive to have a practice of not taking things for granted can suddenly realize how much in fact we really do take for granted.
It takes a certain amount of conscious discipline, a daily practice of stopping to contemplate, even if for just a minute, one thing we are grateful for in that moment.
It doesn’t have to be a laborious task either. It can be part of your daily journal or meditation practice.
It can be simply writing down one single word in your daily planner.
Like anything of value, it’s a habit, a muscle that can be developed over time and gradually becomes a part of who you are.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, mainly because it’s one of the few that is the least commercialized of all.
I’m probably dating myself here, but I remember a time when you were lucky to find a store open, other than your local market to get that carton of milk you forgot for the mashed potatoes you’re making for dinner. Do you?!
But it’s also my favorite because it has a tendency to shift the focus, for a brief period of time, to what we are grateful for.
But why limit gratitude to Thanksgiving?
Here’s a little test for you. Stop and contemplate one thing you are grateful for.
Now, what do you feel in your body? Little butterflies? A tingling? A sense of peace? Now, where in your body do you feel it?
Gratitude creates a chemical reaction that releases endorphins into the body – those feel-good chemicals.
And what effort did that take? Not much, right?
Feeling grateful resets your perspective, and this is a gift you can give yourself each day.
If you find yourself feeling pessimistic or overwhelmed, a little gratitude can get your attitude back on the right track.
Here are 12 simple ways to create a practice of daily gratitude:
1. Write it down. Make a daily habit of writing down a few things that you can be grateful about. Ideally, you’ll do this early and late in the day. It gets your day off on the right foot and sets you up for a good night of sleep.
2. Be grateful for the little things. There are plenty of small things you can be grateful for each day. A great cup of coffee, the sound of birds in the morning, or the fact that you have a new set of tires on your car can all uplift your mood.
3. Go for a gratitude walk. This is a great way to get out of your head. Go for a walk and look for things that you can be grateful for. A beautiful tree, a child playing in her yard, a friendly dog, or a nice, cool breeze are all things you could choose to feel gratitude about.
4. Avoid making comparisons. When you compare one thing to another, you demean it. Be grateful for something exactly as it is. This applies to people and things.
5. Tell people you’re thankful. Show people that you’re grateful by thanking them. Whether it’s your neighbor for keeping his yard so nice or the cashier at the store. Be thankful and let them know about it.
6. Relish and adore your pet. Pets give us plenty of reasons to feel gratitude. Give your pet some extra attention. You’ll both feel great.
7. Donate your time or money. Give your resources to something that you think is valuable to the world. It could be a charity or other organization. Time and money can have a great impact.
8. Make a list of things that impress you about yourself. Come on, don’t skip over this one. Have a little gratitude for yourself, too. What are you impressed by when you take a long, hard look at yourself? You’ll not only be expressing gratitude, but you’ll also be doing wonders for your self-esteem.
9. Write a positive review for a business you appreciate. Business owners love positive reviews. It makes them feel good and can boost their business. Be supportive and express your gratitude.
10. Meditate on the things that you’re grateful for. Put your focus and attention on those things you’re most grateful for. You might develop an even greater appreciation for them.
11. Minimize judging and complaining. Judging and complaining are the opposite of gratitude. People that do this aren’t very enjoyable to be around, either. Keep your negative thoughts and opinions to yourself. Avoid judging others and you’ll find that you’re happier and less stressed.
12. Be thankful at meal times. Since you eat at least one meal each day, this a great way to develop a habit of expressing gratitude. Be grateful for your food and the people sharing it with you.
Be grateful for everything you have. Even if you’re struggling to survive below the poverty level, you’re still living better than the vast majority of the world’s population. That doesn’t mean you have to be satisfied with your current situation, but you can still be grateful for what you do have.
When you develop a practice of gratitude, your mood and perspective will be lifted. In the process, it will raise your vibration which will bring you more opportunities for success and even more good things to be grateful for!
With good energy,
Debra Wilson Guttas, HTP, Best-Selling Author and Soul Sherpa™ behind the Thriving Circle
“Supporting and inspiring women in life transition, and cancer recovery, to craft lives with more purpose and passion.”
P.S. Have you heard? I’m offering a *free* 7-Day Grateful Heart Journey. It’s a journey to help you embody gratitude via inner journal reflection and a colorful Mandala process. We officially start tomorrow, but there’s all kinds of resources to get you started now, including access to a LIVE recording of a Grateful Heart Meditation & Healing event I hosted last weekend. Hop on over here to get started >>> 7-Day Grateful Heart Journey.
Author of the best-selling book “7 Keys to Coping with Cancer – How You Can Feel Good AND THRIVE (from someone who’s been there) and “BEYOND Coronavirus – 7 Keys to Embrace Change and Create Your New Normal”