Gratitude Practices for Today & Beyond
When the holidays come around, the focus shifts on gratitude. It seems like it’s the only time of year that we remember to be grateful. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We don’t have to be grateful just because of the time off. Or the presents. Though, those are great reasons to be grateful.
Gratitude can extend to all areas of our lives regardless of the time of year. We can be grateful no matter what’s going on in our lives. And believe it or not, gratitude is good for our health.
It can help combat stress and depression. It can even help reduce pain. Gratitude is so powerful it can actually rewire the brain for the better.
Starting a gratitude practice during the holiday season is a fantastic way to start. And keeping it going throughout the new year and beyond is life-changing. Pick at least one practice in our list below to keep up with daily and watch your life change for the better.
Keep A Gratitude Journal
You don’t need a fancy journal, but something that you’ll be able to come back to each day. When you wake up in the morning, think of three things that you’re grateful for. It can be the sun shining through your window. It can be your health. Your warm bed. Your family. Your senses.
If this is difficult to do upon waking up, you can also do it at the end of the day. Reflect on what happened that made you grateful for the day. Was it a good lunch? A kind word? Did you learn something new? Write it down in your journal.
Or, you can keep your journal with you throughout the day. That way, when something happens that you’re grateful for, you’ll be able to write it down.
When you fill up your journal, you can look back at all the wonderful things that happened throughout the year. And if you’re feeling uninspired, sometimes it helps to look back on your previous entries.
You may find it difficult at first, but like any other practice, once you start it’ll be easier as you go along.
Write A Thank You Note
Believe it or not, Thank You Notes were more common than they are now. It’s good etiquette to write a thank you note to someone. Whether it’s for a gift, or thanking someone for hosting a party, the art of gratitude has become a little lost these days.
Even if the practice seems a little old school, the results are threefold. One, you’re thanking someone for whatever they did for you. Two, you make someone’s day by acknowledging and appreciating their efforts. And three, people tend to like you better.
Think about it. You’ll definitely stand out to someone for taking a little bit of time to write a note. It’s a small gesture that goes a long way. Think about every thank you note you have ever received and how it made you feel.
We take for granted the help we receive from others.
Get a stack of Thank You notes and practice sending them. Even if they’re for small acts. Thank your parents for dinner. Thank your teachers for a meaningful lesson. Thank your classmate for lending you a pencil. It might seem silly to you, but it can mean the world to someone else.
Stay Mindfully Present
It’s easy to tune out the world around you. But take time in your day to stay present and appreciate the world around you. Maybe you appreciate an amazing tree outside your window. Or perhaps it’s the aesthetics of a room around you.
There are so many little things around us that we take for granted on a daily basis. Even if it feels silly, look around you and find one thing to appreciate. Is it a piece of art? Maybe it’s the device you’re using to read this.
Maybe it’s the people you’re surrounded by. Your friends. Or classmates. Or colleagues. Once you practice finding things to be grateful for, it’ll become second nature to find more.
If you’re new to practicing gratitude, schedule a reminder in the day to sit and appreciate what’s around you. It could be once a day, or every couple hours. Whatever works best for you. Then notice how it makes you feel.
There will come a point where you won’t need the reminder. It’ll come naturally. That’s why mindfulness is also referred to as a practice.
No matter what’s going on or how you feel, there’s never a bad time to practice gratitude. Even if you’re having a bad day, a gratitude practice can turn it all around.
Do you have a gratitude practice in your life? Did you notice positive changes that came with it? We’d love to hear from you in our comments.