Through my years of journaling, I have always ended each entry with a statement of gratitude. Even when writing about hard things, sad things or things that made me angry, finding something in the situation that I could be thankful for has made it easier to “Leave it at the bench.”
Gratitude is a gateway to connection, motivation, discipline, and growth. It has a miraculous power to make us feel more positive about the past and the present, and more hopeful and motivated about the future.
Here are a few ways to start cultivating gratitude and thankfulness.
- Appreciate the small things. The Attitude of Gratitude starts with recognizing that there is nothing too small to be thankful for. The more you practice noticing good things in your daily life, the more good things will show up. You get what you’re looking for.
- Find gratitude in the tough stuff. I think of this quote from Fred Rogers, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in t
he news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.‘” Gratitude is not only about being thankful for positive experiences.
- Be mindful. Sit quietly each morning and think of 3 things you are grateful for, one at a time. But don’t just think about it, feel it. Your imagination is powerful, relive it in your mind. Your subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between reality or what you are creating. Doing this every day will reprogram your brain to be naturally more grateful.
- Keep a gratitude journal. Keep a journal by your bedside. Write ten things you are thankful for each day before falling asleep. Not only is this a positive way to look back on your progress, but it will also set you up for a restful night.
- Say the words. The more you practice gratitude, the more you will find yourself being prompted to say, “thank you” to a stranger, acknowledge someone when seeing them in an act of kindness, or compliment someone doing their job. Not only does expressing your gratitude for someone make their day better, but it does wonders for increasing your own levels of gratitude and happiness long term.
- Do what you love. Being grateful can make you happy, but being happy can also make you grateful. When you do things that bring you joy, your mood will elevate, your relationships will thrive, and you will be more kind to yourself and others.
- Get outside to go inside. Go for a walk and pay attention to the nature around you. Spending time in a “green” space will benefit you spiritually, emotionally and physically. It also reminds you to be grateful for the simple pleasures in nature that are priceless.
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller