How to Practice Gratitude

  1. Keep a daily record of what you are grateful for

Create a daily calendar that you update each year with one thing for which you are grateful.  Each year adds another layer of thankfulness and allows you to savour your past.

  1. Mark anniversaries with milestones & predictions

On your wedding or work anniversary, your birthday or any other momentous occasions — start a new tradition.  Write a letter celebrating the highlights of your year and your predictions for the next year.  Seal the letter and open it together on your next anniversary.

  1. Share gratitude at the dinner table

If you’re gathering a mix of people with different beliefs, sharing one “gratitude” from that day or week is a beautiful way to connect before you share a meal.

  1. Be thankful for your trials and tribulations

Instead of regretting your mistakes or remaining caught up in the ways you were wronged; take a moment to think about what the challenges have taught you.  What can you be grateful for?  What lessons have you learned?  What do you now know about yourself?  How have the hardships served you?

  1. Thank the people you encounter everyday

Show some gratitude for the human beings who make your life run smoothly. Without them, would you be able to do what you do?

  1. Write a thank you letter

Sit down and write a handwritten note of thanks for the difference someone has made in your life.

  1. Share your weekly or monthly highlights with friends, rather than the not so happy things

It’s about sharing the positive experiences that matter to you so that you can celebrate them together.

  1. Appreciate the everyday, routine things people do for you

Sometimes we get so used to our partner, our mum or our kids doing the things they’ve always done — making breakfast, taking the rubbish out, dressing themselves in the morning — that we forget to appreciate these small gestures.

  1. Appreciate a higher power

Next time you are outside, instead of checking your phone or rushing to get back to your real life — enjoy the moment.  Raise your face to the sky and give thanks to God/ higher power that has created sunshine, sunny beaches, forests full of pine trees, autumn leaves or gently rushing streams.

  1. Turn everything into a gift. Instead of your normal morning coffee, think of that cup as the gift of coffee. The gift of laughter. The gift of a smile.
  2. Focus on something you’re looking forward to and be grateful.
  3. Enjoy the little things. With a small task you do today, such as washing your hands or texting a friend, ask yourself how your life would be without it.
  4. Look in the mirror and say, “I appreciate you,” or, “I’m thankful for you.”
  5. Reach out to an author whose book has changed your life and share your gratitude in an email or letter.
  6. Share a positive post on social media about a friend, company or product you truly love.
  7. Donate your time or money to an organization or charity you believe in.
  8. Keep a gratitude journal of all things that you are thankful for.
  9. Infrequently, imagine some part of your life being worse than it actually is.
  10.  Pray! -Prayer is an especially powerful technique for cultivating gratitude because, as a ritualized system, it offers the exact words to say, specific items to be grateful for, and a person or entity to be grateful towards.
  11. Remember the Bad– visualize something bad that actually has happened, but that you overcame. Remembering the pain and difficulty with which we arrived at the present helps us to feel grateful.

Don’t focus on unresolved bad – on choices not made or regrets left festering, but instead on challenges conquered and positives that could have been negative.

What better way to appreciate our current spouse, job, or living situation than to remember some of the terrible relationships, jobs, and cockroaches we’ve had to deal with and overcome in the past?

  1. Gratitude Visualization– Picture in your mind someone for whom you are grateful. Now verbalize out loud or in your mind a few specific reasons for why you are grateful for them.
  2. Practice mindfulness– when eating food, listening to your favourite song. Just use your five senses.
  3. Notice the beauty in nature each day.
  4. Nurture the friendships you have, good friends don’t come along every day.
  5. Smile more often.
  6. Watch inspiring videos that will remind you of the good in the world.
  7. Include an act of kindness in your life each day.
  8. Avoid negative media and movies with destructive content.
  9. Call your Mum more often.
  10. Cook meals with love, think of the people you will feed.
  11. Volunteer for organizations that help others.
  12. Don’t gossip or speak badly about anyone.
  13. Spend quality time with your kids.
  14. When you think a negative thought, try to see the positive side in the situation.
  15. Commit to one day a week when you won’t complain about anything.
  16. Live mindfully, not worrying about the past or future.
  17. Call your grandparents and tell them you love them.
  18. Embrace challenges and turn them into opportunities to grow.
  19. Send love to your enemies or people you dislike.
  20. Be thankful when you learn something new.
  21. See the growth opportunity in your mistakes.
  22. Make a gratitude collage, cut out pictures of all the things that you are grateful for.
  23. Focus on your strengths.
  24. Give the gift of time
  25. Share your wisdom and knowledge freely with others

 

There are multiple ways to practice the strategy of gratitude and it would be wise to choose what works best for you.  When the strategy loses its freshness or meaningfulness, don’t hesitate to make a change in how, when, and how often you express yourself.