Simple Ways To Add Gratitude To Your Life
The benefits of gratitude are endless. Science tells us that practicing gratitude can benefit virtually every aspect of our lives-physical, mental, emotional, and social. So why don’t we all prioritize gratitude all the time? Well, because life. Sometimes we get wrapped up in the mundane aspects of day to day life and go through our days on autopilot-competing one task just to begin another. Other times, life throws really tough challenges our way that make it hard to find the good when we just want to feel sad or angry. We are all human and there are a million different things that can stand in the way of gratitude. Here are some simple ways to incorporate more gratitude into your life.
1. Start a gratitude journal.
It’s great to think about the things you are grateful for, but there is a power in writing them down. Spend an intentional 5 minutes per day writing specific things that you are thankful for. Avoid broad items like “family” or “health”. The more specific you get, the more you train your brain to seek out the good in your every day life. Write your gratitude in a journal, notebook, the notes feature of your phone-just get the words down.
Not sure where to start? Try my Power of Gratitude ebook for daily journaling and challenges.
2. Share your gratitude with your people.
It is easy to take our relationships with others for granted. The more comfortable we are with someone, the easier it is to forget to let them know why you appreciate them. Take time to tell someone specifically why you are thankful for them. Other ways to share your gratitude are to send a card when it isn’t a special occasion, drop by with a coffee or make their favorite dessert. Send a thoughtful text or even better-call them and tell them. Take something off of their plate-stop by with dinner, mow their grass, or run an errand for them.
3. Share your gratitude for good service.
We are generally quick to complain when we don’t get the service we expect. Maybe the wait is too long, maybe they got the order wrong even when you told them NO PICKLE eight times. What if we were even quicker to express gratitude when we receive good service? As you go about your day to day life-the grocery store, the post office, a drive thru, or a doctor’s office- look for opportunities to express gratitude for excellent service. Let the person know, tell their boss, or give them a great review online. Think about the establishments that make your life easier. Drop off a thank you card, buy their lunch, or put together a basket of candy to show your appreciation for what they do.
4. Serve others.
One of the best ways to generate gratitude is to find ways to serve others. This gets us “outside of ourselves” and can put our problems into perspective by reminding us what is truly important. Think of a cause that you feel drawn to and find a way to give back. Volunteer at a food bank, spend time with the elderly at a nursing home, start a coat drive or volunteer to clean up litter. The more you focus on serving others, the more gratitude will find its way to you.
5. Spend time outside.
When life gets busy and overwhelming, it is important to take time to connect and put life into perspective. One of the best ways to do this is to get outside. . Notice your surroundings and eliminate distractions. Take a walk, read under the shade of a tree, hike, swim, ride bikes, watch the sunrise. Nothing makes our problems feel smaller than looking at the stars or the ocean and realizing how vast the world really is.
6. Reframe the negative.
It is so much easier to focus on the things we want to improve or the things that go wrong. Sometimes, it takes a little work to dig deep and find gratitude. Learning to reframe negatives helps train your brain to find purpose and appreciation for things that we may have categorized as negative. When you catch yourself complaining (out loud or to yourself), try to reframe your complaint. Traffic is at a standstill? Instead of getting frustrated and impatient, use this time as an opportunity to listen to your favorite song or to focus on your daily gratitude. Toys everywhere? It means your children are living a joyful childhood. (This doesn’t mean you can’t use this as an opportunity to teach them to pick up after themselves-you should, for your own sanity).
7. Make a thankful album.
Since you probably have your phone with you most of the time, why not put it to purposeful use? Create an album on your phone and fill it with photos of things that you are grateful for. It could be photos of people, places you have traveled, or something as simple as a heads up penny on the sidewalk. Occasionally, take time to browse through your album and reflect on all of the things-big and small-that you are thankful for.
To explore the topic of gratitude more in depth, check out The Power of Gratitude Course atkristin-may-s-school.teachable.com/p/the-power-of-gratitude
Include your kids in daily gratitude with this journal. It is a kid friendly and engaging way to instill the practice gratitude from childhood.