Actively Practicing Gratitude
How to Begin a Daily Gratitude Practice for a More Positive Life
I’ll admit, whenever someone recommended starting a gratitude journal, I would smile, nod, and not do it – I was convinced that it wasn’t my jam. I was convinced that I was a grateful person because I said thank you at the appropriate times and frequently acknowledged the key blessings in my life – friends, family, and my faith. However, I read one of Brene’ Brown’s books (a researcher on vulnerability and shame), and her take on gratitude made me rethink my thoughts on gratitude journals and being grateful in general. She said being grateful doesn’t mean you have to be happy all the time (say it louder for the people in the back!), but in her studies she found those who ACTIVELY practice gratitude tend to live more joyful lives.
I sat there and I pondered this. What does the word actively mean? Since she didn’t give a definition for this, I decided to create my own practice of actively practicing gratitude and hopefully you find them helpful to use in your own lives as well.
- Branching away from the staples – family and friends. While there is no doubt these are wonderful humans, why? Did they support you in some way? Did they bring you a cup of your favorite coffee? Did they make you laugh for some reason?
- Look for things out of the ordinary. Did you have a really yummy lunch? Did you see a beautiful sunset/sunrise? Did you get to go to Target all by yourself and take your time roaming the aisle?
- Write these moments down in a journal, planner, or the notes section of your phone. This doesn’t have to be all at one time. This process can be throughout the day. In fact, it will help you look for reasons to be grateful throughout each 24-hour period rather than all at once.
- Give yourself grace! There will be days you will have to dig deep to see the joy from the day – we’re human right? Some days it will seem like you could write a book and some days it may be one single bullet point and that’s okay!
I’ll say it again – being grateful doesn’t mean you have to be happy all the time, but having an attitude of gratitude is one of the many simple ways to improve both your physical and mental health, and all it takes is a pen and some paper.
Happy writing my friends!