How to Build a Daily Gratitude Practice
Gratitude is truly the cornerstone of a happy and fulfilling life:
- it can create space in our minds and hearts for more compassion and love
- it can stop stress, worry and anxiety in its tracks
- it can diminish our ego and elevate our Being
- it can help us sleep better
- it can even improve our overall physical and mental wellbeing.
A gratitude practice as a key element in living well has been known since the beginning of time; every religion is based on it and almost every philosopher has guided us to it. And yet we still need reminders to keep doing it, unless we purposefully make it a habit.
It shouldn't take an extraordinary sunset or a traumatic event or witnessing someone's pain to jolt us into being grateful. If we practice gratitude on a daily basis the world will open up for us.
Here's the key: it takes practice.
Just like with anything, the more you do it, the easier and more automatic it becomes.
Practicing gratitude means first becoming aware of the many things to be grateful for. Mindfulness plays a big role here. Simply be more present and notice something you appreciate at any given moment.
Then of, course, we can practice expressing gratitude, by saying thank you to others and by keeping a gratitude journal.
But to cultivate a true gratitude practice, it needs to be built into how we live.
Living with gratitude means not complaining when it rains but instead going for a walk and jumping in the puddles. It means doing your job to the best of your ability and pleasure, instead of worrying about getting credit for your work. It means giving loved ones your full attention and love, instead of having your head in your phone.
More ways to practice gratitude daily:
- write tiny notes of praise or kindness for others to find
- write three things you're grateful for each day in a journal
- tell someone each day that you appreciate them or something they've done
- create a gratefulness jar for your whole family to fill with little notes on something they're grateful for that day (pull them out and read them at the end of each month)
- create a vision board of things you're grateful for now, not just things you dream to have in the future
- hang favourite quotes or mantras around where you can see them and be reminded to give thanks
- share an appreciation daily with someone else: "I love how quiet it is after it snows, don't you?"
- express appreciation in the tone of your voice when talking to others
- send a note to someone you haven't seen in a while to tell them why you appreciate them
- be mindful throughout the day of your surroundings and silently express gratitude
- learn one new thing each day so you can be grateful for it
- establish a morning or evening silent daily gratitude ritual
- give thanks in prayer
- smile more often
Gratitude is a powerful emotion that we can choose to tune into and cultivate. It makes life better in so many ways.