Giving gratitude consciously and intentionally is a practice I️ cultivate daily.
The benefits of gratitude are well documented, from living longer to having greater satisfaction at work.
Mostly, it feels good. It takes us out of feeling sorry for ourselves and opens us to a greater appreciation for all we DO have.
The trick is to write things down every day. Whether you use a journal, a Moleskin notebook or tap into an app (lots to choose from, Google “gratitude app” and pick one you like), the power is in pausing to think, feel and jot down 3-5 things you are grateful for.
I’ve upped my gratitude game this year. One of the things that has helped is creating categories for when I get stuck.
Here are some suggestions to help you build or stretch a gratitude practice:
Appreciate your favorite food, a cold glass of water or your cozy sweatshirt.
Pause to notice the things around you. Behind each object are people’s thoughts, ideas, and actions. Choose to appreciate something in your life that is beautifully designed, reliable or incredibly comfortable.
Have gratitude for your bedside light, coffee maker or the electric toothbrush that you love. Send a silent thanks to all the people who helped bring these items to you.
Let’s give it up for people who blazed a trail before us! Did you know women weren’t allowed to run marathons competitively until the late 1960s? The first woman to run the Boston Marathon, Bobbi Gibb did it unofficially, hiding in her brother’s shorts and baggy sweatshirt.
Who else’s shoulders are you standing on that you want to say thanks to… your grandparents or ancestors? A special teacher? A favorite author?
People in Your Past
Think about people you love but don’t see often enough, a best friend from college who lives in Portland, Oregon (or Maine). Maybe someone you’ve lost touch with but still hold in your heart. What is it you are so grateful to them for? Write thanks of what their friendship means to you.
Pause and find some gratitude in your heart for the things that challenge you. Maybe it’s a person who pushed your buttons recently or a situation that is keeping you up at night. Can you be grateful for what this is teaching you?
Try this: underneath being bothered is something important to you. If they were rude or dismissive, what is the opposite of that? You want to be heard and valued. Ding, ding, ding. Thank them for helping you see that.
When I am grateful for something that is challenging, it helps me soften. When I do, I can have more compassion for both the other person and myself.
That can help me sleep better at night, something else to be grateful for.
May this practice snowball for you, with one thought of gratitude leading to another.
I’ll end with this, I am grateful to you… for reading this all the way through.
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