Start A Gratitude Practice With These 3 Tips
It’s that time of year that always reminds us to give thanks and express gratitude. Hopefully, Thanksgiving Day isn’t the only day of the year that you reflect on your blessings and share with friends and family. Ideally, it’s something you should be doing everyday!
Why, you ask? Because gratitude is an easy, quick, and free way to shift towards abundance and really start to welcome more of the good stuff into your life, and the more good stuff there is, the less room for the bad. It’s as simple as that.
Whenever you turn your conscious attention towards something, it begins to feel as if there’s more of whatever you’re tuned into. This psychological phenomenon is one of the simple reasons that gratitude is so crucial for living a life of abundance. If you can begin to start consciously noticing all the wonderful things in your life, more wonderful things will be there to meet your attention (unfortunately, the opposite is also true, which is why a consistent gratitude practise is so important).
A simple example of this is when you hear a new artist/band for the first time. This happened for me with Billie Eilish. I saw a video of a choreographed dance to a song of hers I’d never heard before pop up on my YouTube home page and then suddenly, she was everywhere. I was seeing her on IG, hearing her on the radio, etc. Because of the conscious attention I gave to her music when I watched that Youtube video, I opened myself up to receiving more Billie Eilish in my life!
Great, so we’ve established how gratitude works to attract abundance into your life. Now it’s time to make sure you’re using gratitude to its fullest potential. Here are three ways to use gratitude to live your best and #blessed life.
1. Get Specific, Maximize Blessings
“I’m grateful for my life” is not good enough. To see real changes in your life, you’ll have to try harder than that! The more specific you get when it comes to expressing your gratitude, the more things you”ll actually find in your life to be grateful for. Think of it this way: if you could only take the things that you expressed gratitude for today into tomorrow with you, what would you miss?
Ideally, you should have a daily practise for gratitude where you can get creative. Think of five new things a day that you’re grateful for. This is easier the more specific you get. For example, “I’m grateful for my best friend for being such an amazing listener when I need to vent.” Or “I’m grateful for my memory foam pillow-top mattress, and the super deep sleeps I have on it!” Alternatively, you can try a weekly day of gratitude, where you make an effort to identify all your blessings throughout the day. Combining your gratitude day and Self-care Sunday is something we can definitely get behind.
2. Get Grateful… For Gratitude?!
Guess what? You get to have a gratitude practise, you don’t “have” to have one. Be grateful for the process, don’t let it become a chore! Our minds don’t respond well to things that we’re obligated to do. When you simply shift the mindset surrounding gratitude, the whole practise changes for the better.
So, how do you keep it a privilege rather than an obligation? Switch it up! You can use different gratitude-journal-style prompts everyday, add in a single day per week of unadulterated gratitude (as mentioned above), you can share your gratitude with a different person every week, etc… The possibilities are endless. Challenge yourself and do what you can to keep your gratitude practise exciting.
3. The Art of Reframing
Listen. You don’t need to be happy-go-lucky all the time. Recognizing moments that make you angry, annoyed, frustrated, defeated, sad, etc. is something to be grateful for in and of itself because when you’re able to effectively identify the emotion you’re feeling, you realize the distance between that unpleasant feeling and yourself. But, just because you’ve identified that you’re feeling resentful or frustrated, doesn’t mean the feeling automatically goes away, and that’s okay.
Let’s take an example: your boyfriend always leaves his dishes for you to do which makes you feel frustrated and resentful. Now that you’ve identified the emotions you’re feeling and distanced yourself from them, you can add in yet another space – a wedge, if you will – between your emotions and yourself/your wellbeing. This is the practise of reframing, which is the use of gratitude to find a positive outcome to any given situation.
In this example you could reframe it like so: “Boyfriend has left his dishes for me to do. Again. I’m feeling so frustrated (I recognize my frustration and am able to calm myself in spite of it). I will have a calm conversation with boyfriend about what he does and how it makes me feel, rather than fighting as we normally would. I’m grateful I’ve just avoided another fight. Maybe we can even get ice cream after. I love ice cream.”
This is obviously a bit of a joke, but reframing truly is a useful way to get out of your negative emotions and attract positivity and light into your life. Honestly, it’s hard work but if you can get good at it, I believe you can do anything!! Because guess what? It’s at this point in our journey of gratitude where being grateful moves beyond just being a warm fuzzy feeling and turns into action that can be felt by and reciprocated by others.
A final note on gratitude
Being grateful for what you have right now and recognizing everything in your current reality as “enough” doesn’t mean that you’re letting any and all goals for the future go out the window. On the contrary, research actually shows that people with gratitude practises are more successful at reaching their goals than others. When your life is lit up by gratitude, the excitement you feel for even the most mundane moments and things gives you energy that propels you towards your goals. If that isn’t a good enough reason to implement a gratitude practise into your daily life, I don’t know what is!
Do you have a gratitude practise? Tell us how you incorporate gratitude into your life in the comments below!