By Rachel Choppin
"Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance." Eckhart Tolle
It is easy to get wrapped up in the stress and quick pace of everyday life, especially this year with all the additional worries of the pandemic, politics, economy, and racial tensions. If you don't take a minute to stop, reflect, and appreciate what you have, your life might feel empty and full of worries. Practicing gratitude can help give you control and clarity to your life and remind you - even when times are tough - that you have more than you think to be thankful for.
There are so many benefits of integrating the practice of gratitude into your daily routine. It can reduce stress, make us happier, feel connected to others, and help us reach our goals. By making gratitude a habit, you can change your thinking and outlook on life.
Here are 6 simple ways to practice gratitude every day.
1) Keep a gratitude journal
Start your day with a gratitude journal. Keep it by your bed and take a couple of minutes to jot down what you are grateful for. You can decide how long or short you want your list or entry to be and how much detail you want to go into. Try and do this exercise for a month, and see if you notice a difference in your mood and how you process your day.
Start your day with a guided gratitude meditation. Find a serene place to mediate and a comfortable posture that allows you to be attentive and relaxed. Focus on what you are thankful for. It's important to understand that your gratitude doesn't have to come only from good things (great family and friends, etc.) in your life - it can also come from things that are going well (i.e.. your big project at work is complete and was well received by your boss). Gratitude meditation can help you take pleasure in the little things in life while learning and recognizing the important lessons you've learned in your life.
Watch this Gratitude Meditation Series to get started.
For many people, a great way to increase their gratitude is by giving back to their community through volunteering. Not only can volunteering help give perspective to your life and make you more grateful for what you have, but it can help counteract the effects of stress, anxiety, and even depression. Helping others helps you!
4) Take a walk outside. Enjoy nature!
Who doesn't feel better gazing up (keep your eyes closed!) at the sun on a bright day? One of the easiest ways to practice gratitude is by getting outside. Take a walk in your neighborhood or a hike on your local trail. Look up at the sky, notice the leaves on the ground or the sounds of nature. Be mindful and grateful for the life and miracles that surround you.
5) Show gratitude to your loved ones.
It can be easy to take your loved ones for granted. Next time you see a family member or friend do something kind for yourself or others, be sure to show your gratitude. You can say 'thank you,' write a Thank You note, or simply hug them. Showing gratitude can help strengthen your relationships with others and leave you feeling more connected.
6) Implement a daily bedtime practice of thinking of what you're grateful for.
Ending your day with gratitude is just as powerful as starting with it. As part of your bedtime routine, think, write down, or say out loud three good things that happened to you throughout the day and see how you feel. You'll be surprised how many good things can happen in a day - both big and small.
Rather than focusing on what you perceive are the negatives in your life, develop a focus on gratitude and positivity. It is easy to get into a pattern of self-pity, but with these tips, you can start to cultivate gratitude and change your way of thinking. Take a few moments of every day to focus on all you do have and see how you feel!