Gratitude has been a real focus of mine for the last six months or so.
Before that I wasn’t walking around with zero gratitude and hating on everything and everyone, I just didn’t notice a lot that I was, in fact, grateful for. It’s like all of this amazingness around me was sort of invisible. Also, I had a tendency to be a tad bit judgy (let’s admit, we can all be a little judgy).
As I started to take my gratitude practice more seriously, I seriously feel less serious (happier!) and far less judgemental. Seem like something you’re into?
Try these 3 easy ways to step into gratitude.
1. Start or end each day thinking about 3 things that you’re grateful for.
Don’t wait until you’re awarded a few extra minutes, which may never come, make it part of your routine, like brushing your teeth.
But don’t just think about it, write it down. Different things every day. Sound hard? I have to admit there are moments that it is. But what’s strange is that when it’s most hard isn’t when life is hardest. Gratitude seems to come easier then. But if it is hard, do like I do. I switch between my cosy bed (things I’m grateful for), the beautiful weather (the natural world that I’m grateful for), or a family member (relationships that I’m grateful for). Sometimes, if I’m feeling wild, I consider pre-emptive gratitude. That’s when I think about something I desire and sit for a moment to experience what that feels like in my body to receive it, as if it has already happened.
2. Send someone a gratitude message
Admit it—you are thankful for people in your life. This is a good thing! We’re often taught that to love, admire, and celebrate other people puts us out of power, but that’s simply untrue. Telling someone that you’re grateful for something they did, qualities they have, or just who they are, actually benefits both of you. You’re encouraging someone else, building them up and also deepening your relationship. Don’t pressure yourself on this one. It doesn’t have to be a long letter or a big confession, a simple text of thanks, a small gift (perhaps a cup of tea or picking up the tab), or a phone call for no reason other than to say thanks.
3. Choose a gratitude sign
Do you believe in signs? Do I believe in signs? The jury’s still out on this one, but I’m not talking about zodiac signs or a sign from the universe, that’s a whole other conversation.
Over the holidays I did a 7 day gratitude meditation series on the Calm app. One of the days it talked about choosing something that you’ll use a gratitude sign, so that every time you see it you think of something you’re grateful for.
I loved this idea. I chose my sign to be birds. Now whenever I see a bird on my daily dog walk or while driving, I pause what I’m doing (while keeping my eyes on the road, obviously) and think about something and feel the gratitude within my body. Sometimes this feels so good that I think of one or two more things.
Do you have a gratitude sign? If not, pick one and commit to starting this practice.
Here’s the thing about gratitude—it’s a trick, but a good one. Your brain can stop getting caught in its anxious loop (if your brain is anything like mine and most everyone else’s—this happens), will begin to be calmer, and, over time, it’ll just sort of be grateful on its own. There are real health and happiness benefits with gratitude. And it’s not hard to do. There’s so much to be grateful for, am I right?
Let’s get at that!
Do you have your own gratitude practice? Feel free to share it! The more, the merrier.
Until next time, enjoy your wild ride to calm.