The more grateful you are, the more present you become, the more joy you bring into your life – Robert Holden
The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines gratitude as ‘the feeling of being grateful and wanting to express your thanks’. As each day passes by, it seems there is less and less to be grateful for. Our days are packed with schedules so busy we can’t find the time for ourselves. We’re so rushed off our feet complaining about family pressure that we can’t pause to appreciate the fact that we have families to take care of and that we have the ability to take care of them. Or that work is so stressful forgetting to appreciate the fact that we have a place of work or business to go to every day. With the end of 2019 in view, we now have an extra thing to add to our worry list: the fact that we couldn’t meet our goals for the year, and the impending hustle and bustle of the festive season that we can’t wait to be over and done with.
Life gets in the way, so much so that we live it without enjoying it. We seem to be in such a constant state of looking for tomorrow that we forget to be thankful for the benefit of all that’s contained in today. Practicing gratitude is something that makes us notice just how much we have to be thankful for. Even science has shown that when we practice gratitude, we see a positive impact on our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. One of the easiest ways to develop a positive mindset is by intentionally practicing the art of gratitude.
So how do you practice gratitude?
- Gratitude Journaling – Most of you may already be familiar with keeping a diary or writing in a journal, which means this will be easy for you. Get a journal and use it only for writing down things you are grateful for, no matter how crazy those things may seem. Every day, write down 3 -5 things that you are grateful for, and try as much as possible not to repeat something you’ve written the previous day.
- Write Thank You notes – This could be on Sticky Notes, WhatsApp statuses, Facebook statuses, or private DMs. Just pick a few people each day and tell them thank you for whatever reason. Not only will you get a boost out of it, but you are also injecting some happiness into another person’s life.
- Take a slow walk in a calm environment – Pick a day and go walking in a calm environment. Look at nature around you – trees, birds, water (if you’re by the beach) – and just be grateful for everything that you see. There are a few things that are more inspiring than witnessing nature in all its glory.
- Ditch the negativity – Make a conscious effort to stay away from things that drain you and increase your desire to complain. Unfollow some people, get off some group chats if you notice that they spend time on breeding negativity. Be intentional about surrounding your ears and eyes with things that are inspiring, motivating, and uplifting.
- Give – You have much more to give than you can imagine. Volunteer your time or donate your money to worthy causes as a way of expressing gratitude, and be the reason someone is grateful.
Being grateful and showing it is an art that should be cultivated for a more fulfilling, purposeful, well-lived life, so start investing in it today!