"If we don't feel grateful with what we already have, what makes us think we will be happy with more?" ~The Hearty Soul
How often do we pause to feel thankful for all of the blessings in our lives? How often do we spend too much of our days focusing on what’s wrong or missing from our lives rather than what's right? How often do we take for granted all of our wishes and dreams that have already been fulfilled?
More often than not, we look to the things outside of ourselves to feel good. New clothes. A nice car. Money. Fame. Praise. While all of these things are great and can bring us happiness at a surface level, can they truly bring us the joy we seek deep in our hearts? By focusing on what we don't have, we miss out on truly appreciating and enjoying our blessings in the moment.
It’s easy to get caught up in the busy, day-to-day pace of life and to forget just how blessed we truly are. But it’s only when we stop to feel grateful for all that is beautiful in our lives, that our lives can truly transform. The more grateful we are, the more we have to be grateful for.
In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Studies have shown that people who take time to practice gratitude experience more positive emotions, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems. Simply keeping a gratitude journal can significantly increase overall well-being and satisfaction.
So how can we implement gratitude in our lives? How can we make being consciously grateful a daily practice? By starting small and allowing ourselves to grow with time :)
Here are some tips and tricks to help get you started!
- Start Small. Start small by stating out loud or writing down 3 things that you are grateful for at the end of each day. It can be for something larger in your life (e.g., friends, family, work, etc.) or for something that occurred that day. Once you are able to do this for a few weeks, you’ll find your gratitude will grow deeper, and you’ll become more aware of the little things that make life beautiful (e.g., a stranger’s kindness, the sun shining down on your face, a bright smile from a loved one, the little things in life). Tip: Think of your 3 things when you first wake up in the morning to help start your day on a positive, joyous note :)
- Be Grateful for the Moments that Make Your Heart Smile. Take the time to slow down and fully soak in the energy during moments that make your heart smile, moments that make you feel truly happy and blessed to be alive. Pause and close your eyes for a moment of gratitude.
- Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. Life is too short to get caught up in the petty day-to-day things. Don’t let something small take you away from everything big. Focus on the positives and what went right in the day and watch how quickly the rest fades away. What you focus on grows!
- Let Go of What You Can't Control. Life has a funny way of working itself out. If you’re in a tough situation that you can’t change or control, try your best to accept it and let it go. Trust and know that things will fall into the right place in the right time.
- Thank Those Around You. Let your loved ones know how much you appreciate their presence in your life and all that they do for you. Make a point to tell them how you grateful you feel consciously in the moment. Watch as the contagious energy overflows and ripples throughout their lives too.
- Thank Yourself. We must be able to thank and love ourselves before we can truly give that to another. Don’t forget to take some much needed you time to thank your body, heart, mind, and soul for all that they do for you and for all that you do for those around you. Thank your own Light!
- Spread the Love. The more we give and share, the more there is to go around. Find one way to Spread Love each and every day, no matter how your day is going. Sometimes by giving others something to be thankful for, we find more gratitude and love within ourselves ;)
- Create a Gratitude Jar. Whenever something happens that you feel grateful for, write it down on a piece of paper and toss it into a jar. Watch how this jar overflows with time. If you're having a tough day or finding it difficult to see all the good in your life, take out slips from the jar and remind yourself of all that you have to be thankful for.
- Recognize the Miracles that Surround You. Every day is a miracle. Our being here on this Earth is a miracle. The beating of our hearts, the sunrise, waking up and getting home safely every day is a miracle. By pausing throughout the day to recognize and take in the magic around us, we realize just how blessed we truly are.
How do you practice gratitude? What makes you feel grateful? Share your comments below!