Simple Ways to Practice Gratitude
In the self-help word, gratitude is one of the big buzzwords that’s been garnering attention in recent years. It’s been incorporated into more than one model of psychotherapy, and people are often told that learning to be more grateful for what they have can lower stress and reduce anxiety. All of that is true, but the art of gratitude isn’t mastered overnight. In fact, if it’s done wrong, people can wind up feeling worse than when they started. Trying to be grateful shouldn’t make you feel guilty, and it’s okay to still feel sad, angry or anything else. The point of adopting a gratitude practice is to bring your attention more to the present and remind yourself of the good things around you even when life is tough.
Start a Journal
You can buy a nice leather-bound journal or simply use the notes app on your phone to jot down your thoughts before you forget. What matters most is that you commit a few minutes each day to writing down things you’re grateful for. The list will be easier to write some days than others, but that’s okay. Your journaling time is a chance to decompress and focus solely on your thoughts.
In the most troubling times, it can be hard to think of even one thing you’re grateful for. When you feel stuck, ask yourself questions. Here are some to get you started:
- What’s something I did lately that I really enjoyed?
- What responsibilities did I take care of today?
- Who do I like talking to the most?
- What’s something yummy I ate recently?
- What’s my favorite room in my house?
It may seem overly simple, but that’s the point. A gratitude practice is simple, and it helps you learn to appreciate the little things better.
Consider Your Goals
What do you want to do with your life? Maybe you dream of going back to school and earning a degree or starting your own business. You can take out private student loans to pursue an education, and it’s easy enough to learn the basics of launching your own startup. As adults, dreams can become sources of inspiration or burdens. It’s important to refresh our minds and repeatedly incite wonder and excitement over our ambitions. All the struggles can weigh you down and make you feel like it’s not even worth it to try. Gratitude can help you reflect on the progress you’ve made so far, even if it’s just checking out a few websites or brainstorming ideas.
Set a reminder in your phone, or put some sticky notes in your car or on your desk that remind you to take a deep breath and be grateful for it. These small moments can have the greatest impact on a developing practice. Gratitude starts with you, and it takes internal change, not external circumstances. Take a look at your own perspective and how it may hinder you. Then, give yourself plenty of encouragement to be more grateful throughout the day.