What are you grateful for?
Since I started a gratitude practice, I’ve experienced noticeably higher levels of clarity, ease and flow in my life.
Gratitude is cultivating a mindful appreciation for life gifts. A structure to focus on what is good.
Don’t let this seemingly simple concept fool you. Like many things in life, we know what we should do. So often the struggle is carving out the time and commitment to invest in ourselves.
Positive psychology is the practice of focusing on what is good and what is working, with less emphasis on negativity or past trauma.
And that’s exactly what this simple question calls you to do:
What are you thankful for in this very moment?
Why practice gratitude?
The purpose of gratitude is to build a positive pattern of thinking that rolls into behavioural change.
As you strengthen this muscle, you equip yourself with the skills to build a perspective on life that’s brighter, lighter, open and more serving to your needs. The more you practice this the more you strengthen your awareness of your thoughts, feelings and body cues.
I using the word 'practice' very intentionally because, like many healthy lifestyle practices (exercise, cooking, visiting family), it takes consistent attention.
With just a few moments of your time, and a dedicated notebook you can capture your consciousness, and start to piece together insights about yourself you’ve perhaps never taken the time to consider.
A gratitude ritual helps to uncover what you truly value, what relates to you in a more meaningful way.
Through the lense of gratitude (strongly correlated with love, compassion and acceptance) you start to foster overall positive thinking.
A daily gratitude practice can easily slide into your morning and evening routine if you account for just a few mins of your day and the act of putting pencil to paper...
To help you carve out this time in your day, download this printable, routine mapper -- put pen to paper with this visual tool to help organise your ‘me’ time.
How to practice gratitude
Think of this daily ritual as a tool to become more attuned to your subconscious.
Most days I start with gratitude. My favourite routine is to journal right after a 5-10 min meditation, while the sun is just starting to come up. I love being curled up with a cup of tea and blanket to start the day.
“What are 3 things I’m grateful for today?”
I’m more specific than I’m grateful for my family/job.
From experience, these types of entries get old quick. By jotting down a top line answer, I’m only dive top line into my awareness. I try to look for the finer details.
What about your home space do you love?
What is it about that person that makes me feel so supported and loved?
Allow yourself to be vulnerable and drop deeper into your awareness. This might be just one of the few times in your day you are at your highest level of honesty, love and compassion towards the people, things, projects in your life -- yourself.
And if you're really struggling at a particular time in your life. Challenge yourself with “what the bright side of my life despite this difficulty?"
3 more tips for practicing gratitude
Pull together a fresh journal that you can dedicate to this practice -- doesn't matter if you're mid way through June. Start now.
Growth isn't comfortable. I can almost guarantee you're not going to want to journal every day. You’re going to think.. "this isn't helping me" or "I don’t have time". Push past resistance, practice and keep going.
Don't judge yourself if you miss a day. Don’t stall your practice because of black and white thinking. If you miss a day, no problem -- try and learn how to best navigate your mornings so you can fit in it in. Consider, if this ritual still aligns with your values and supports you emotionally? Then realign yourself to your habit of waking, journaling then starting your day, or reverse for an evening routine.
DOWNLOADABLE ROUTINE MAPPER
Build a routine around giving gratitude, morning or evening. To foster consistency, it’s important to build a feel good routine (one that you look forward to and supports you even at in the most challenging times).
Take action -- don’t just read this and think ‘sounds good’ -- try it.