In our “always on” lifestyle, it’s easy to forget to be grateful. And yet, gratitude is such an important practice. It helps us reframe our perspective, express appreciation for those that have a positive influence in our life, and shift our focus to the things that “fill our bucket.” The beauty of the practice of gratitude is that it doesn’t take long for us to do. Yet so often it doesn’t happen…..
So, on this World Gratitude Day, I will first share some simple tips you can do to help instill the practice of gratitude in your daily life:
- Determine a set time to practice gratitude. Perhaps it’s first thing when you wake up or last thing before you go to bed. Perhaps it’s both. Maybe it’s before you eat, during a run or yoga class, or when you’re brushing your teeth. It doesn’t matter what time you pick, as long as it’s tied to a part of your daily routine.
- Pick a form of expression that sticks. I bought a notebook years ago that I called my “gratitude journal.” I had grand ideas of writing in it every night. It’s wonderful when I do, and it’s fun to look back and read it, but I found that I didn’t use it regularly. While the notebook is a great idea for some, I found for me I expressed gratitude more when I meditated and prayed in the morning and evening. If you prefer writing, consider the notebook idea, or if you use a paper planner/agenda, you could use that as your place to write it down.
- Share your gratitude with others. Gratitude is powerful when practiced on its own, but its power magnifies when you share it with others. If you are grateful for certain things others have done in your life, tell them. If you are grateful for something that happened to you, bring it up in a conversation with friends. Positivity is contagious, and while a “gratitude epidemic” is unlikely, it doesn’t hurt to spread it around a bit.
- Engage your family and work teams in the practice of gratitude. You can have a gratitude jar at your house and your family can drop notes in there when they are grateful for something. Then, over an occasional dinner, you can read the notes. At a monthly team meeting, you can ask your team to share something they are grateful for either in general or at work. This can not only help you practice gratitude, but can strengthen the bond among your family and teams.
- Recognize gratitude in others. When you notice someone else expressing gratitude, acknowledge it. Just like you can spread your positivity with others, let others spread theirs with you. In fact, don’t just recognize it, be grateful for it.
A post with gratitude wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t express some of it myself. Here are 5 things that I’m grateful for in my life:
- My two daughters. My life completely changed because of them. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t give thanks for having them in my life.
- My family. My parents, siblings, and extended family have loved me and my kids unconditionally in good times and bad. I’ve learned so much from them and they inspire me.
- My and my daughters’ health. Watching loved ones go through health challenges reminds me every day that our health is a gift. I’m especially reminded of that now as a close family member waits for a call from the transplant center that the organs he needs are available.
- My career. I’ve learned so much from my career that has helped me in all aspects of my life – including parenting and personal growth. I believe so strongly in the positive influence my career has had on my life that I wrote a book about it 😉
- The opportunities I’ve been given in life. While my life hasn’t always been easy or perfect, the reality is that I’ve had a lot of opportunities that others haven’t. My heart breaks for kids born in conflict zones around the world or in places where food and clean water are scarce. Every day there is a child or person in need around the world – including in our own country. I’m grateful that, even with the challenges I’ve faced, there have been opportunities that have come out of them.
Thank you for letting me practice gratitude with you. Now it’s your turn…what are you grateful for?