In the past month, I have added more gratefulness in my life through a simple practice. Every morning, I wrote what three things I was grateful for, not in bullet points, but in full sentences. I would write, “I’m grateful for X because of Y.”
This morning I flipped through my journal and noticed that the things that I’m grateful for were not random. Instead, I seem to have themes. I’m using these themes to help me refine my main goals for the year.
If you have been following this blog, you will notice that I haven’t set my main goals for the year as yet. This year is not the year to get going at the races for me. It is one of introspection first, deep and real introspection, because when I do set those goals, I know I will own them.
While I have a gratitude list for the past year, the daily practice of gratitude is helping me to really decide on which goals are most meaningful to me right now.
You too can develop a practice of gratitude and use your musings to guide you to a better understanding of yourself in this phase and season of your life. Here are 20 ways in which you can add more gratefulness to your life. Some of these are from M. J. Ryan’s “Attitudes of Gratitude.”
- Create a routine to practise gratitude every day. Think of one thing that you do each and every day. This could be brushing your teeth or sleeping. Decide on how you will record your moments of gratitude. You could use a journal, a voice recorder, your phone, your tablet, or your laptop. As soon as you finish that thing you do daily, record three things that you are grateful for.
- When you have more time, go beyond three items for your gratitude practice. Try naming 10 things you are grateful for.
- Some days you may want to name a person or relationship, an inanimate object, something in nature, and an aspect of your body.
- Put a post-it note or a reminder on your phone to prompt you to give gratitude.
- Focus on what is right in your life instead of what is wrong.
- Express gratitude to your own self when you make decisions that will improve your life.
- Some decisions are really hard decisions. Express gratitude for that decision in multiple ways. Be grateful to yourself, to anyone who helped, and to the things that helped you to get there.
- When people frustrate you, try to find three things about them you are grateful for.
- When you feel a twinge or a pang of jealousy, focus on things that you have that other people don’t. Then focus on what you are yearning for and record them. Return to those momentary yearnings a week later and see if these are things you still desire.
- Appreciate your body. Recognize how it has served you each and every day for, say, the past week or two.
- Keep a gratitude rock or pen or any small item in your pocket. Whenever you feel it, think of something you are grateful for.
- Look for the hidden blessings in each challenge. Consider how you have grown.
- Imaging this day is the first and last day of your life. How would you treasure it?
- Every time someone does something for you, make sure you say thank you.
- When you get up in the morning, face the sun and give your gratitude with open arms.
- If you have a beaded bracelet, touch each bead and give gratitude for each bead. You can do this with any object with many parts. Touch each part and give your gratitude.
- Take a deck of cards. Shuffle it. Withdraw one card. If it has a number then think of that number of things that you are grateful for. If it is a face card, then replace in the deck and repeatedly withdraw until you get a number.
- For every item you toss into the bin, give your thanks for how that item has served you.
- As you get ready, give thanks for each item that you adorn your body with.
- Get all your digital devices together and give gratitude to each of them.