Gratitude is an essential part of what makes us human. It’s powerful because it helps you focus on the good rather than the bad; on the present moment rather than the past or the future.
It feels like the concept of gratitude has been gaining a lot of attention in the past few years, with many scientific research papers proving that a daily practice can increase happiness levels.
I started my gratitude practice when I was feeling low and depleted a few years ago. I had a seemingly successful job, I was given the opportunity to work overseas, I was living in a nice apartment with a swimming pool. What’s there to complain about, right? The truth is that the stress from work was clouding all the beautiful moments that I was lucky to be experiencing, leading me to negativity spirals and sadness.
Around that time, I read a blog article about gratitude and decided to try a few things that have helped me keep a positive mindset and are now an essential part of my daily routine.
There’s plenty of ideas out there, but these are the ones that really worked for me. Let’s start with the easy ones first and then the ones that require a little extra effort (but are totally worth it):
“Thank you, more please”
Everyone has the ability to experience thankfulness, even the most negative and skeptical person will have moments of “oh I’m so lucky”, “I don’t want this to end”, “I’m having the best time”. At that right moment when you feel inundated with that warm feeling inside, say to yourself “Thank you, more please”. The “thank you” is a way to acknowledge gratitude for that moment while the “more please” is a way to manifest and attract more of that into your life. Remember they say “be careful what you wish for?” – use that to your advantage!
Create a photo album of happy moments on your phone
This one is for all the digital darlings out there. I know that Facebook and Instagram can be used to showcase happy memories with friends, travel and everyday life. However, the social factor can sometimes hinder our ability to document some other intimate or seemingly insignificant moments that we can be grateful for. What I do is I keep a special folder on my phone where I collect all the photos of moments and things that bring me joy. Every time I go back and look at the album, I instantly remember how blessed I am.
Write Thank You notes
We all know how good it feels to be thanked for the things we do. Getting that sincere “thank you” a friend or colleague is often enough to lift us up for the whole day! Go beyond a simple thank you and write a note or email to a friend, family member or colleague. Tell them how you feel about them and how much you appreciate them. If you are not very comfortable with words, give a little gift. This simple act will not only make them happy, but will give you as well a bump of energy and joy.
Keep a gratitude journal
This one requires more time and commitment, but is also the most rewarding one, in my opinion. There’s different formats and ways to write a gratitude journal, but what I do is write 3 things I’m grateful for, every evening. It can be moments from that day or some self-reflections that come to mind that day. It can be one word or one story. The key is not to impose rules and pour out what’s on your mind. It find it very therapeutic and a great way to keep mementos of my life. Some popular journaling options: The Five Minute Journal, Good Days Start with Gratitude.
Do you practice gratitude? What ways have helped you the most? I’d love to know.