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Gratitude is a gift, of course to others when we say thank you, but most importantly to ourselves. By being grateful and expressing our gratitude regularly, we can create positive energy both within ourselves and to those around us.
Appreciating the things, people, places and opportunities in our lives allows us to be content with what we have, and more than content, thankful. It encourages more abundance and good things to come in when we acknowledge and recognise the things we already have.
Creating a gratitude practice is a great way to bring joy, contentment and even a sense of peace into your life on a regular basis. Whether it’s a daily or weekly habit, you can really improve your mood by regularly saying thank you for the things you have in your life and maybe even saying it to the people in your world. Here are five ways you can start a gratitude practice today.
Writing is a proven way to take our thoughts and organise them. The actual act of handwriting is therapeutic and can even create more neural pathways which help the ideas we write down to stay with us longer. So writing down what you are grateful for each day, or week can help to improve your outlook and look at things in your world more positively.
Starting with a list of five, write on the page “I am grateful for …”
The more specific, the better. Really get into the details of why you’re grateful for that thing, person, place, experience or activity. What made it good? How does it add value to your life? What are the benefits? Why would you like more of it?
You can also try a different journaling exercise which is to write a thank you letter to someone. You don’t have to ever send it, but you can write it in your journal and really express why you're grateful for them and what they mean to you. This is such an uplifting experience and although they may never see it, it will still be so beneficial to your relationship and help you to hold that person in a special place in your heart and mind.
Make a list of thanks
Pick a time of the day that works for you, it could be first thing in the morning or right before bed. Make a list, on paper or on a note on your phone, of three things that you are thankful for from that day. You could be thankful to a friend for being there for you, or thankful that you had enough food to eat or thankful that you got all your work done. Whatever it is, and however you choose to write It, this regular habit of recognising what was good about the day and saying “thanks” for those things can lift your mood.”
Have an accountability buddy
You can reach out to a friend or loved one to include in your gratitude practice. This could be a daily activity or even weekly, where you get together and share what you are grateful for. This could be in person, online, over the phone or sharing your gratitude lists in a text message.
Set a day and time that works for you both and stick to it. You’ll find that having someone else to share it with will help you stay on track and it will also create anticipatory joy as you await the time you get to share what you're thankful for with your buddy. The more consistent you can both be, the better you’ll both feel as your practice strengthens
Make a gratitude playlist
You might find that music is the way you like to express yourself and there are some songs that really lift you up and make you happy. Finding songs that represent what you are grateful for and what you want to say thank you about could really help to get you into that regular gratitude practice.
It might be that you like to include songs that have “thank you” in the title or in the lyrics. Find the songs that really speak to you and help you feel warm, relaxed and positive about your life. You can play this list whenever you want to increase your gratitude and say a big old “thanks” to the universe.
For some people writing lists or sharing out loud what they are thankful more might not feel right. Meditation and being still can also be a wonderful time to practice gratitude. You can find a nice spot where you can have quiet and stillness for a short time. Set a timer if that helps you, usually 10 minutes is a good amount of time. Breathe in and out and focus on the breath to calm your mind and slow your thoughts. Once you are relaxed and comfortable, bring to mind the people, activities and even places you are grateful for. Think about how these things make you feel and send out a “thank you” to the universe. Try to focus on one to three things during your meditation and really indulge in thinking about what makes you so thankful for having that thing in your life.
Again, this can be a daily practice or perhaps something you do once a week to look back and reflect. Make it work for you. Gratitude is about creating positive feelings and we don’t want this to feel like a chore.
You can choose to practice gratitude in any manner of creative ways. Gratitude inspires compassion and encourages us to give. It’s a gift to ourselves and those around us. We hope you can find a way to include more gratitude in your everyday.