As we saw from last week’s post, the benefits of Gratitude on our physical, mental and emotional health is profound. But the best part is, you don’t need any expensive equipment or a fancy studio. You don’t need anything other than your beautiful, wonderful self. Gratitude has been an important part of my life and keeps me grounded during times of uncertainty. Like with most things in life, as we are unique and complex beings, there is no one approach that works for everyone. So below I offer you some of the best methods for cultivating a practice of gratitude that works for you!
There are multiple ways to practice the strategy of gratitude and it would be wise to choose what works best for you. When the strategy loses its freshness or meaningfulness, don’t hesitate to make a change in how, when, and how often you express yourself.
This is the way that I have always expressed my gratitude, and by no means do I think this is the best, it is just what works for me. Before I go to sleep at night I write down the three things that I am most grateful of from that day. No matter how small and seemingly inconsequential they may seem, I write them down. Naturally some days are harder than others, but I always make sure that I write down at least three things. I then note down what I am most looking forward to about the next day so that I go to bed with positive thoughts for the next day.
If you are someone who loves writing then this is for you! Set aside some time each day (maybe you find once a week works for you) and journal about whatever you are grateful for. You can include anything from the mundane to the profound. I find that once I start I find more and more things to write about. Some people like to journal on a scrap of paper, others enjoy reading their thoughts back the next day or when they are feeling particularly down. Remember, there is no right or wrong, whatever works for you is best!
Perhaps you’d like to be a bit more spontaneous with your practice, recording it as you move through your day. There are some brilliant apps out there designed just for Gratitude. Many of them allow you to upload a photo of the day so that when you flick through your days you can see the photo memories too. I would avoid using this to record your evening gratitude as this will affect your sleep as well as tempt you into some bedtime scrolling. Try Zest and Gratitude.
Daily Alarms & Reminders
Have good intentions to start a practice but forget to commit? Setting daily reminders on your phone or laptop, or even sticky notes around the house can be a great way to spark your memory. This is a practice that accumulates benefit over time. There will be days when you don’t feel like practicing or have nothing to say, but I encourage you to do it because you’ll notice the effects on your soul.
Embody the quality of gratefulness so that you find yourself appreciating each moment of the day. As you move through the day, take a moment to pause now and then and consider what you are grateful for. Or whilst doing something stop and say to yourself, ‘I am grateful”. You will soon find yourself naturally noticing the subtle magic of life. Eating, drinking and walking are all perfect opportunities to practice mindful gratitude.
“Mindful Gratitude is the practice of looking up close at our sometimes messy, imperfect, busy, burdened, ordinary lives to see with fresh eyes the beauty, texture, depth, and colour of our individual landscapes and the enormous contributions of humanity to our personal knowledge, progress, and well-being. It is the practice of finding, noticing, and, most importantly, deeply appreciating the unique meaning and magic that are intrinsic in our everyday experiences.”
Christel B. Wendelberger
Another way of bring gratitude into your everyday life is to express it to someone. Maybe you’re thanking the bus driver, or the cashier. Better yet, how about writing a letter to someone you care about to thank them for the many ways they have supported and loved you. A lovely idea that a client shared with me forms a dinner time ritual whereby everyone around the table shares what they are most grateful for in that moment.
When you realise there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.
Through working closely with clients and from my own personal experience, I’ve notice that we tend to stop the things that nourish us when we start to feel good. Don’t! A gratitude practice is for life, whether it is journalling or pausing throughout the day, continue to remind yourself the importance of gratitude. We are only human, and it’s so important we accept that, so there will be days we forget or miss our practice, but know that this can be a slippery slope. There is always something to be grateful of, like your breath, the sky and birdsong. As soon as you can, recommit to your practice, and recommit to yourself!
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