It’s November and everyone’s talking about giving thanks and publicly displaying what they’re grateful for. Developing this strong sense of gratitude and learning how to cultivate this behavior takes much more practice than giving thanks on November 24th. For me gratitude takes many forms. Some days I am so overwhelmed by the abundance of life that the feeling of gratitude takes front and center. Other days when nothing is going right and it’s one challenge after the next with no mercy, gratitude is nothing but a small speck in a rear view mirror.
Gratitude is an active practice.
So how do you practice gratitude so it guides you through those great days as well as those challenging days? Here’s some ideas of actions you can take and things to practice daily to strengthen your sense of gratitude. It’s like a muscle. The more you practice and use it, the stronger it gets.
1. It starts with awareness. Notice your day-to-day world and see it through a gratitude lens. There’s so much amazing goodness we take for granted. It only takes a moment of being present to notice it.
2. Gratitude journal. If you’re the writing type, it could be a great way to start your day and set the tone or a great way to end your day with reflection… be amazed or use it to be lesson for tomorrow.
3. Flip your perspective. When you’re having a bad day, is it because you’re only focusing on the “bad” part or are you making it more dramatic than it is? Can you see something positive about your situation and take a reality check? Or ask yourself what lesson can be learned here?
4. Gratitude and humility go hand in hand. How do you view yourself and others?
5. Go a day without complaining, whining or gossiping. With this extra mental space cleared up in your mind, can you fill it with gratitude inducing thoughts?
6. Tell someone you love that you love them. Look them in the eye and tell them. Hug them for more than 10 seconds. Tell them how much you appreciate them. Pay them a genuine compliment… feel what that feels like and allow your heart to swell up with gratitude.
7. Volunteer your time. Find a cause you believe in and give your heart out to them.
8. Mentor someone or find a mentor for yourself. Everyone needs support. When we feel supported our outlook on situations and of life look more positive and solutions become possible. All this trickles into that feeling to gratitude.
9. Have a meaningful conversation with someone. Not a text message or an email or a phone call. A face to face, not in a hurry to go anywhere type coffee date. Let the other person share and listen with an active ear.
10. Allow yourself to receive a compliment. Don’t brush it off or deny it. Let it soak in because when you receive a compliment, you are returning a gift to the complimenter. Smile and say thank you.
Practicing gratitude helps us put situations into perspective, makes us happier, strengthens relationships, reduces stress and helps us realize the amount of abundance around us and teaches us so many valuable lessons.
How do you practice gratitude?
Here’s a diffuser blend to help get you in the gratitude mood… or at least into the holiday spirit.