I haven’t always been the type of person that is grateful for the things I have in my life. In fact, I’ve spent a lot of time comparing my life and all that I have to that of other people, whether I know them personally or are only exposed to their life through social media. In doing so, I’ve learned that comparison simply clouds all the good in my own life, and it creates the perfect storm for feeling inadequate and unworthy. Comparison also makes it easy to forget that no matter how bad you think you may have it, there will always be someone else who has it far worse than you.
Through time and practice, I’ve learned to appreciate all that is in my life right now- not 5 years from now- but right now. This has allowed me to clearly see the abundance in my own life, while creating feelings of genuine happiness because the truth is, my life is filled with wonderful things and for that I am truly grateful.
Here are four easy practices that have helped me cultivate an attitude of gratitude:
1. Keep a gratitude journal
Before going to bed each night, write down 3 things that you are thankful for from your day. It could be as simple as enjoying a quiet moment while sipping your morning drink of choice, or the touch of your small child’s hand within yours as you walk them to daycare or school before you head off to work. You may even feel thankful for the stranger that held the door for you while also offering up a smile. These moments may feel ordinary and routine, but they are beautiful moments that you can appreciate and feel thankful for.
2. Write thank you notes
We don’t express our gratitude for others as often as we should. Taking just a few moments to put pen to paper to show how thankful we are for another person or something they have done to help us in some way, big or small, can make the world of difference to that person’s day. Writing thank you notes can also be a therapeutic practice for yourself that elicits joy and peace, for you won’t miss out on opportunities to express how you feel.
3. Start your day with gratitude
Each morning, take just a few moments to spend some time quietly reflecting on what you are thankful for. This could be part of a seated meditation, but it could also simply be incorporated into your morning routine, where you take just a moment to say, either out loud or in your thoughts what you feel thankful for. This practice could even be done while still lying in bed, prior to getting up for the day. By starting your day with gratitude, I’m certain you will go about the rest of your day more aware of the beauty and love that surrounds you.
4. Give time to others
We are all busy, but no matter how busy you are, each of us can spend an hour once a month or better yet once a week giving our time to others- I’m pretty sure we spend more time scrolling through social media or binge-watching Netflix than this. There are multiple organizations that need the support of volunteers, so look for opportunities that are helping causes that you feel passionate about. Maybe for you that means helping the homeless within your community by providing meals to those in need. It could also be an organization that supports children or even animals. Volunteering our time to those less fortunate than us has the ability to provide us a new perspective on life. Often, when spending time with those that seem to have so little, you will notice that their ability to feel grateful is much greater than your own. You can take this observation into your own life, allowing you to feel thankful for all that you have rather than taking it for granted.
How do you incorporate gratitude into your life to help you appreciate all that you have right now?
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