Gratitude is an antidote to negative emotions, a neutralizer of envy, hostility, worry, and irritation. It is savoring; it is not taking things for granted; it is present-oriented.
November is here.
But, between the latest wave of retail deals and the constant buzz of eleventh-hour political campaign ads, it’s easy to lose our bearings.
To forget what’s right in front of us. What matters most to us.
A simple antidote?
The benefits of gratitude are powerful, with the potential to cause a positive ripple effect on your emotional wellness.
Quite simply, gratitude is the practice of reflecting on your life and naming what makes you feel grateful.
With time and consistency, it becomes a habit before you even realize it.
Sound good to you?
Read on for 10 simple ways you can practice gratitude in your everyday life:
1. Start (and/or end) the day with a grateful heart.
Taking a few moments when you wake up to identify something you’re thankful for can shape the entire course of your day. And by book-ending your day with a moment of gratitude before bed, you’ll drift off to sleep in a more peaceful frame of mind.
2. Put your appreciation in writing.
A handwritten note. A thoughtfully-worded email. (Even a carefully considered Yelp review or customer service survey response!) By committing your thanks to print, you have the ability to solidify your gratitude in a real and tangible way.
3. Keep a gratitude journal or jar.
This idea isn’t new, but it’s become a trend in recent years… which means there are many products, apps, and other options to help you get started. (This journal and this jar are client favorites… but you can easily make your own!)
4. Be quick to thank.
As meaningful as a phone call or actual written letter can be, the busyness of life can make it hard to express our thanks in a timely manner… and it sometimes stops us from saying thank you at all! A good rule of thumb is to reach out and give even a humble thanks in the moment (e.g., a brief text sent in the moment can still have an impact) before the feeling leaves you.
5. Share thanks around the table.
Taking time to go around the breakfast or dinner table and take turns naming things to be grateful for isn’t just a wonderful way to teach kids a valuable self-care strategy… it’s also a convenient way to spend quality time together as a family.
6. Embrace the difficult.
So, giving thanks is a piece of cake for you? Challenge yourself to practice gratitude in the face of pain, loss, or disappointment, and watch your emotional wellness soar to new levels.
7. Pay attention.
Life moves quickly. And in a culture that demands so much of our attention all at once, it’s a radical act to simply sit and focus on one person, place, or thing, and feel grateful.
8. Replace “I’m sorry” with “thank you”.
By framing your apology (e.g., “Sorry I let you down”) as a thank you (e.g., “Thank you for giving me a second chance to earn your trust”) even mistakes become an opportunity to offer a gift of gratitude.
9. Share your time and talents.
Are you gifted with a special skill or ability? Do you have an extra hour in your day? Pay forward the gifts you’ve been given by sharing them with others. You might just kickstart a domino-effect of gratitude!
10. Deepen your compliments.
Acknowledging someone’s cool hairstyle, sneakers, or manicure may flatter them in the moment. But, by digging a bit deeper and describing something you appreciate in detail, you’re telling them, “I see you, I’m grateful for you, and I want you to know it.”
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Ready to learn new ways to practice gratitude?