Life isn’t easy – we are strapped into a roller coaster and must grin and bear the lows, the loops, and enjoy the view as we go up to the highest heights. We’d all love it if our lives were perfect all the time, but that’s unfortunately not how life works. The lows are there to make the good times feel better, but you’ll have difficulty identifying the positives in your life if you don’t practice gratitude.
Practicing gratitude daily isn’t as complicated as it sounds – it can be done with just a few tweaks to your routine and thinking patterns. Here are 6 simple ways you can practice gratitude daily.
- A Daily 3/5/10 “Things I’m Grateful For” List A tried-and-true method of practicing gratitude is to write a gratitude list every morning and/or night before you go to bed. Most of us feel more down or stressed when we wake up or when we go to bed, so practice gratitude when you least feel like you want to (yes, it can be hard!). Use a pretty notebook or even just a notes app on your phone and write down 3 things you’re grateful for. If you have time or are feeling positive, ramp it up to 5 or 10 things.
- Practice Meditation Meditation doesn’t have to involve sitting in a quiet spot in silence, trying not to think about anything. You can practice meditation in your own way, but it’s all about relaxing, centering yourself, and becoming present. It’s so difficult to be grateful for anything when you’re thinking over things that happened in the past or worrying about what may happen in the future. Meditation reminds us to be present and grateful for where we are in the here-and-now. If you don’t think you can sit quietly, consider going for a walk and listening to the sounds of the world around you, or try a guided meditation. You can find plenty of links for them on YouTube, or follow the steps in our Guided Relaxation Practice blog post here.
- Move Your Body When we think about gratitude, we often only focus on the material things we own and the loved ones we have in our lives, but we should also think about ourselves. One of the best ways to practice gratitude daily is to care for your body. Go for walks, attend exercise classes (such as our pilates classes in Arcona, PA), and stretch in active yoga pants each morning and/or evening. It’s a great way to be thankful for your health and all your body does for you, especially when we so often focus on only the things we don’t like about it.
- Schedule Calls or Meet-Ups with Loved Ones While it’s morbid to think about, too many people talk about the regrets they have about not having spent enough time with loved ones when they pass. The problem is, life moves quickly, and time is the only resource we cannot renew. If you don’t speak to a friend, family member, or even schedule dates with your partner often, consider doing so. Taking that time to be around the people you love will not only help you talk over problems and put them into perspective but help you feel more gratitude that you have those people in your life.
- Learn to Say No Equally important as scheduling time with loved ones is learning when to say “no.” We often lack gratitude when we feel as though we have a lack of power and agency in our lives, so take a hard look at your life and your responsibilities and consider making changes if some of them aren’t making you happy. It’s perfectly okay to stop doing things that no longer bring you joy or say no to someone who asks you to take on something you simply don’t have the bandwidth (or desire) for. Learning to say no takes courage and is often uncomfortable, but is life-changing. If you struggle, Not Nice by Aziz Gazipura is a great place to start.
- Recognize When You Say Thank You We’re experts at throwing around the words “thank you” with little meaning behind them, so start thinking about the words when you say them. For example, we’ll automatically say thank you to a cashier, but we seldom think about why we’re thankful. When you say “thank you” to someone, think about if you really meant it and, if so, why. For example, if a colleague holds a door open for you and you say thank you, if you think about it for a minute or two you may realize that you are grateful because it was made you feel seen and valued. It’s so simple, yet can drastically increase how positive you feel. Gratitude is something we have to tune ourselves into, but once we can become grateful for the things other people do and provide for us, we can see and be grateful for all the things we do for ourselves. This kind of deep self-love is something we should all strive for, and the world will be a happier, more positive place for you and others when you do!