| Aug 16, 2013
Last blog I talked about the benefits of gratitude – this week I am going to help you fit gratitude into your daily life so that you can start benefitting from this miracle drug – and the bonus is that it doesn’t cost a cent or even really take up much of your time.
Much of practicing gratitude comes down to changing the way we think, speak and view others and events in our lives. Here are a few ways you can start re-wiring your thoughts and actions and start the happy hormone cascade that is released when we are truly living a life of gratitude.
1. Find something you look forward to
When you wake up in the morning, take some time to think about your day ahead and find at least one thing to look forward to – it may be seeing your best friend at lunch time, having your first coffee of the day, the feeling of your child’s arms around your neck at the end of the day, finishing a successful work project. It doesn’t have to be big – just something small to get you through the day
2. Take photographs
This is my favourite one as I am a visual person and thanks to the advent of smart phones, most of us always have a camera with us. Add some special effects with a program like Instagram and you will have captured your feeling for a lifetime. When I did my 30-Day Gratitude Challenge, I took a photo a day, found a gratitude quote to go with it and personalized my thought for the day. I posted it on Facebook, which kept me accountable to those who started following it. This was probably too time consuming to do on a regular basis (about 45minutes being the perfectionist that I am to find the “perfect” quote), but it got me into that way of thinking. Nowadays, I still snap away and post, but not with the quote.
Keep a gratitude journal or scrapbook. You could include your photos from above, or just find 2 things to be grateful for at the end of the day. If it is hard to thing of 2 things, maybe just note down what went well for you during the day and why it went well. Try to go to sleep counting your blessings, not your woes – you will be guaranteed to have a better sleep.
4. Say “Thank You”
Communication has become stilted in our busy lives, reduced at times to a “like” on Facebook or a 140-character text. We all like to be validated and by saying “thank you“ to others, it is giving them acknowledgment that you have noticed their actions and appreciate them. Even better still, writing someone a quick thank you notecard or letter and reading it direct to them will leave that delight in a form they can read over and over.
5. Choose the words you use
The words we use matter so much more than we realize. In our conversations with others we need to THINK before we speak as our words set the tone for our actions and influence how others feel. How many times have you spoken harshly to someone only to regret it later? This little acronym works well for the topic
T – is it true? H – is it helpful? I – is it inspiring N – is it necessary K – is it kind?
6. Try a Random Act of Kindness – Pay it Forward
Random Acts of Kindness are the most FANTASTIC way to practice gratitude. Instead of focusing on your own life, think of something to do that will make someone else’s day a little bit brighter, easier, happier. Nothing beats that warm fuzzy feeling you get from paying it forward – the moment when you feel like you have made a difference, even if it is in the tiniest way. There are many many ideas on this topic – probably worthy of another blog but it can be as simple as helping someone battling with their shopping trolley; paying for an extra coffee for the person behind you; writing a positive comment on a blog (hint!), volunteering in some capacity; letting someone into traffic; mowing your neighbours’ lawn; handing out single flowers at a bus stop – I think you get the idea.
7. Stop Complaining
This is an extensive topic, which I will cover next week, but suffice it to say that complaining tends to feed our negative thoughts and actions. Obviously, there are times when we need to assert ourselves, but generally many of us winge for no good reason. Start observing yourself during the course of a day and try to nip that unnecessary gripe in the bud because complaint kills gratitude.
I look forward to seeing you back here next time when I am going to challenge to you a 21-day complaint free mission – start practicing this week!