Being Thankful Every Day
This time of year we focus on being thankful. Grace, gratitude, I am thankful for...we force ourselves to be thankful. But what if you practice thankfulness each and every day?
Instead of a once year review, what if it was a once a day remembrance of just how good life is?
The Benefits of Being Grateful More than Once a Year
Practicing gratitude on a daily basis has so many benefits. And unlike a gym membership, a gourmet dinner or a massage, it's free. People who practice gratitude are happier, more resilient, enjoy deeper and more real relationships, have greater self-esteem and better physical and mental health. Sure you could read the studies, but there's a faster, simpler way to practice gratitude.
Say Thank You
Say thank you to someone - and mean it. Whether it's your spouse because they put away the dishes or pick up a towel, or your kids because they take a plate to the sink, say thank you. Thank the barista and the shop clerk, and the waiter.
You can also send thank you or gratitude notes. A pen and notecard are great but sure is an email and a text. It can be a general note, such as I'm so glad you're my friend to something more specific, such as "I'm so glad you're my friend because you always..."
Don't forget to try to send a thank you to teachers, nurses or other people you come into contact. You will make their day and you'll feel great.
Write it Down
Keep a gratitude journal. It doesn't have to be a journal. It can be a notepad by the side of your bed or a scrap paper on your desk. Every day, write down 3-4 things you're thankful for or good things that happened that day. This can include mentioning people you value, personal attributes, gifts, and benefits bestowed on your path.
Acknowledge the bad
Importantly, life is not always a bed of roses. Don’t try to block out difficult or sad times from your gratitude journey. By acknowledging the past and being thankful for working towards making your life better, you create a perfect space for gratefulness.
Create a gratitude board
Put up a new bulletin board and start to pin things up on that you are grateful for. For instance, thank you cards and letters, tickets to a show or play that made you feel good, poems, quotes or piece of artwork. It can be anything you recognize as an expression of love and gratitude. You
Create a habit
To get the most benefit, it is important to try to practice gratitude daily. This is easy to forget when life gets busy. Try to make gratitude a habit and incorporate it into your everyday routine. Leave reminders for yourself in places you know you will see them. For example, in the fridge or on your bedside table. You don’t need to overdo it either. Taking time to let your mind linger for a few minutes over a positive experience that day also makes a difference. Or write your own gratitude vow promising to count your blessings every day.
Do it together
Practicing gratitude doesn’t have to be a solitary experience. Sharing it with others can strengthen connections and be a great way to remind you to do it. Make it part of your dinnertime ritual when you are together with partners, children, family, and friends. Take the time to talk and share your experiences of good things that happened to you that day. You can share anything, so if someone held a door open for you or your boss acknowledged your good work, or a stranger smiled at you on the train, these are all positive experiences. In the beginning, praise anything that's shared - you don't want to shut anyone down - especially any skeptical teenagers who might be dining with you.
Even if they aren't taking it seriously or sharing, if you keep asking, they start to think of things to be thankful for - and just maybe, they'll share it with you.
Be the Example
Want to encourage everyone around you to be more grateful. Well, you're the guinea pig, the test case, the unflagging leader. If you put up a gratitude board int the kitchen, you might not get anyone to add anything to it - at first - but before you know it, you might just see something hanging there.
Ok, pop quiz -- right now, right this moment, name three things you are thankful for today.