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Gratitude is probably one of the strongest driving factors in happiness and progress. Gratitude allows us to look outside of ourselves and towards the people, places, and opportunities that have blessed out lives and made so much possible. How can we better be thankful every day?
Now I’ll be the first to say that my life isn’t perfect, but I’ll also be the first to admit that no one has a perfect life, and we’re all trying to do the best we know to do with what we have. This doesn’t mean that what little we feel we have isn’t worthy of being grateful for.
I think if we could all learn to make gratitude a habit, then we would be able to coach ourselves into practicing having a happy attitude. Then if we continue to push ourselves to be grateful it will become a habit, and that habit will help us progress with little to no extra effort.
I think that gratitude ties in directly to our ability to succeed in our endeavors. This includes gratitude in everything we do, see, experience, learn, and even more.
So how do we learn to make gratitude a habit? That’s easy. We build a habit of gratitude, just like we would build any other habit and implement daily practices that remind us.
One of the first practices we should implement to apply gratitude is a thank you journal. Buy yourself a journal specifically for showing your gratitude. Write in your journal everyday, and try to include 5 NEW things every day that you are thankful for.
When I started practicing this is was really difficult. The first couple weeks are easy because you can name of the regular things you think about being thankful for, but eventually you feel like you’re running out of things, and yet you STILL have to come up with more stuff. You start having days where you’re writing. “I’m thankful for mangoes. And thankful for pomegranates. I’m thankful for nectarines. And grateful for pineapples. I’m thankful for avocados.” Then you’re thinking well, what the heck. Is that all I can come up with?
But eventually you come out of the little “there is no more to be thankful for” situation and you reach a point where you realize there is really so much too be grateful for that you don’t think of as “things to be grateful for.”
If you’re religious then this can kind of be like your morning prayer. If you aren’t religious then it is simply an opportunity to thank “The Universe” for things specifically relating to yesterday and the day you have ahead of you. This will start your day off well and put you in a good mood to remember to be grateful for the rest of the day.
This can be a moment that you kneel next to your bed, or it can be what you think about in the shower in the morning. Just remember to make it part of your routine and not simply to say, “I will be grateful in the morning.” There has to be some way for you to remember to be grateful. For some it is the kneeling, for others it is the act of jumping in the shower in the morning.
This is exactly the same as the morning “thank you” except it is done at night. You are focusing on the things that happened that day that made you grateful as well as the blessings that you would like to see in the next day. Your routine and can be the same, such as kneeling down for a simple thank you session, or they can be something you do when you go to brush your teeth before bed.
This can help you be in a grateful, happy mood for bed so that you can sleep with peaceful thoughts and open up room for yourself to be inspired in actions to make in your life to give you success in your endeavors.
This is something you should honestly practice every time you put food in your mouth. Apply gratitude! Yes, every meal counts, but even the snacks or sweet candy gifts that you may receive from friends throughout the day should be taken into account as well.
One way I have heard that helps some people remember to be thankful for their food is to sprinkle “Grateful Dust” on their food. You would sprinkle this almost like you are putting one last garnish on your food or giving it a little extra salt to taste, but it’s an invisible dust that simply represents the thankful feeling you have that it is food you have been blessed with.
This is an object you keep in you pocket throughout your day. When you pick it up before you leave for work, or leave to drop off the kids at school then you remember that feeling of gratitude, and at the end of the day when it goes back on your dresser or nightstand you can remember that feeling once again.
Sometimes this is harder to make a habit, especially for mothers that stay home all day, but the idea can be the same even if it simply goes into you pocket when you get dressed in the morning, and comes back out when you get into pajamas at bedtime.
Hang a board somewhere in your house where you will see it regularly, which means at least a few times a day. Pin up on the board pictures of all of the things you are grateful for: things you have, things you would like, and things you want to continue to be blessed with. Then post a big obvious “Thank You” at the top of the board. This way, every time you walk past this board or notice it, you will remember to be thankful for all of the things on it.
Get out your wallet and print out a fake $100 bill. Write THANK YOU across the front of the bill with a sharpie that you can see clearly. Now every time you get out your wallet to pay for something you will remember to be grateful for the money you have been blessed with that helps you stay alive and provide for your family.
You could also do the same thing with a real dollar bill, but I find that having a larger dollar bill in my wallet makes me feel more blessed and like I have been blessed with plenty to spare.
Post a phrase on your bathroom mirror that says “Thank you for my good health.” Notice the little sign every time you are in the bathroom. This can apply to your fitness levels, dietary habits, and general wellness including being free of disease, cancer, or sickness. Or feeling well despite the sickness.
Practicing this every day will help remind you of how important it is to have a functioning body that allows you to do almost everything you could hope to do.
At your work desk or on your work computer post a “Thank you for my job” or “Thank you for my accomplishments” note to help remind you that you have been blessed with an opportunity to earn an income for your family, as well as work a job you love. (And if you don’t love it, then maybe this will help you either find ways to love it, or find ways to snatch up a new more profitable, and more fulfilling job!)
On the back of your front door, post a note that reads, “”Thank you for my home.” If you aren’t at your front door very often, then consider posting the note on your garage door. Either way this will help you remember how thankful you are for having a roof over your head and shelter from the outside world.
Sometimes our homes are not as extravagant as we would have hoped for, but the point is to remember that we have a home. Our homes can always be improved with a move, or hard work and a little sweat.
Yet another note you could leave for yourself is a small note in your car. You could leave it on the steering wheel or on the sun visor. So that you can always remember the blessing your vehicle is, and how it is capable of getting you to and from point A and point B in a safe and timely manner. Again, your car might be a piece of crap, but if it runs then it is worth all of the gratitude you can give.
There are many ways to find to be grateful in the world but one of the simplest ways to do so is to give yourself reminders and make it an ongoing habit in your life. Remember, remember. That is the point of writing out all of these reminders for yourself: to keep your habits in check. Eventually the reminders won’t matter much because you’ve reached a lifestyle of simply being grateful in all things you’ve been blessed with, or could be blessed with. Learn to work in these habits using my “Digital Planner.”
What are ways you have found to be grateful in your everyday life?
Let us know below!
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