What is gratitude? And how do we bring it into our lives?
Gratitude helps us realize what we have in our lives to be grateful for. If we can create awareness of what we are grateful for in our lives, we can stop feeding the need to always want more. Gratitude, overall, also makes us happier. It can help us see our lives in perspective, reduce stress, improve our relationships, and improve our health. When we can focus on the good, positive things in life, it is less likely that we will complain or be depressed.
Here are a few things I do to actively bring gratitude into my life.
1. Gratitude Jar – Create a gratitude jar. You can use any type of jar. I choose to use a mason jar. Leave the jar somewhere in your house where you will see it on a regular basis. I keep mine in the kitchen. Every time you notice the jar, take a moment and write something on a piece of paper that you are grateful for. Anytime you are feeling down, you can pull a few of the papers out and read them to yourself out loud.
2. Gratitude list – Write a list of 5 things you are grateful for in the morning or at night before bed.
3. Create a Daily Affirmation – Write a personal, empowering statement that resonates with you. Say this affirmation to your yourself in the mirror every morning. Mine is, “I am limitless. I love, laugh, and learn without limits. I have the power within me to have a big life and a big love without limits today”.
4. Send a Card to Someone You Appreciate – Handwritten notes are a forgotten, lost art. Help bring them back. A handwritten card can brighten someone’s day.
5. Call a Friend You Appreciate and Tell Them
6. Call Someone You Know is Struggling – Call them and be there during their time of need. Let them vent and share their struggles. Listen without interrupting. Make sure to ask them what they need and don’t ask ‘if’ they need something. Everyone needs help when they are struggling. Make it easy for them to ask for help.
7. Pay It Forward – Do something nice for a stranger. Examples – Buy a coffee for the person behind you in line or give up your seat on the subway. Acts of random kindness create a sense of gratitude within.
8. Self Acknowledgement – Celebrate your small successes. I have to remind myself of this on a regular basis. It’s so easy to forget to be proud of daily wins. We are trained to focus on the next goal. Next time you accomplish a goal, celebrate it!
9. Give an Unexpected Compliment – It sounds small, but it can change someone’s entire day. Follow a few rules:
- Make sure you are being genuine.
- Don’t give back-handed compliments.
- Be as specific as possible.
- Accept compliments with a smile when given back to you.
10. Giving Yourself Permission to Sit in Your Angst – Give yourself 15 minutes to honor the way you are feeling before giving yourself the opportunity to move past it.
11. Create A Vision Board for 2018 – I love creating an annual vision board. I look at it every day as my morning routine. I stretch, drink warm lemon water, and look at my vision board. It starts my day in an inspiring way.
12. Bring Yourself Back into the Present – Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. All we have is today.
13. Give Someone a Hug – Neuroscientist David Linden thinks that of the five senses, touch is the most overlooked, and perhaps the most important for promoting psychological health. Physical touch is so important to each and every one of us.
14. Share a Meal with a Friend – Prep a picnic, do a cooking day, or go to a favorite restaurant that you love with a good friend.
15. Send Your Gratitude List to a Friend – Sharing your list to others can be empowering and create accountability. If you are feeling down, they can remind you of all the things you are grateful for.
16. Put on Music and Walk Around the City – While walking, recognize 10 things you appreciate in your surroundings.