I was first introduced to the idea of grateful living around 2014. I started following a YouTuber’s vlogs, in which she’d share about her journaling practices. Gratitude writing was one of them, and I started practicing it too.
It felt nice redirecting the mind to think of at least five unique things from my day that I was thankful for.
As I started doing this, I had to look for more and more unique ways to count my blessings. As a consequence, years into self-development, gratitude writing became a fundamental way of becoming a more optimistic person.
Even today, when I look back at those notebooks, I smile from ear to ear. Those were small but valuable moments which I would have forgotten about, had I not written about them. So not only did the practice help me in those moments, it left me something invaluable to look back at and be even more grateful for!
But why bother? And what is the point of gratitude? I hear you.
Ever since the 2000’s, the ‘gratitude’ philosophy has exploded. But what is grateful living? Is it even necessary? And how do you get your mind to appreciate the world, when sometimes it can feel like nothing is even going right?!
Gratitude is about having a positive psychology in a world where we’re constantly hustling. It’s about rewiring the mind to acknowledge ourselves, and those around us. It’s about taking out the time to see the good in things, even if at first that seems impossible.
The more you try it, the better you’ll become at it.
And when you feel better about your reality, you’ll love living more too. When you love living more, you give more to yourself, to others around you, and to your life. As a consequence, things become even better! It’s all an upward spiral of positivity, really.
But how do you put gratitude into practice? Let’s talk about it now.
How Can You Be More Grateful?
I want to share some practical and genuine tips with you, to talk you into living with more gratitude in everyday life. I hope they spark your creative side too!
Tip #1 – Start your day on a positive note.
When you set your feet on the ground, acknowledge the basics. And as you carry out your morning routine, keep counting everything as a blessing that’s been making your life better. Here are some examples to get you started.
I have a comfortable bed to sleep on (and an air conditioner/heater),
I sleep with food in my belly,
and I wake up to the opportunity to live another day.
Tip#2 – Check-in with yourself during the day, especially in the moments you’re feeling crappy.
What are somethings that have been going RIGHT today?
Ask yourself that question and let your energy swing from anger or helplessness back to hope and happiness. The answer doesn’t have to be significant.
It could be something as simple as getting a cold glass of water on a hot summer day when you desperately needed it. Or receiving a compliment from somebody, which made you smile!
If you haven’t already, try checking-in with yourself during a bath meditation.
Tip #3 – Identify the people and things that make your life easier, instead of harder.
We take a lot of things for granted, especially people. Start recognizing everything comfortable about your life, even in the situations that make you unhappy. Here are a few prompts to get you thinking.
– Who made your day better today?
– Does somebody drop you off at school/work everyday, to whom you forget to say thanks when you get out of the car? Or to wish ‘good morning’?
– Do you have a steady internet connection that lets you talk to that long-distance partner or friend you’re pissed off at?
Tip #4 – Don’t be shy to tell people they make you happy!
Feeling gratitude in your heart is just the first step. If you want to experience the true ripple effect of thankfulness, you have to put it into deeper practice.
Find ways to appreciate and compliment people, genuinely.
Not only will this break barriers in the most unstable of relationships, it will help you see people for their goodness, not just everything that’s wrong with them.
Tip #5 – Write about it.
At the end of your day, take out 5 minutes and write yourself an email about the 5 highlights of your day.
If you enjoy journalling or want to make this more intimate, this could actually make a great journal idea too. I’ve put together tons of prompts in my newsletter, which you can get access to as soon as you sign-up. It’s free!
Tip #6 – Return the favor.
Give other people the opportunity to feel your gratitude towards them, for what they did for you. But in your own style.
Sometimes, a small, handwritten note can go a long way, or buying someone a coffee. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just heartfelt.
Lately, as a part of my art therapy practice, I’ve been painting thank you notes for strangers and acquaintances. You can try it out too!
Tip #7 – Be the change you want to see.
You might not be in an environment that promotes gratitude, but it doesn’t mean you can’t create it.
If it’s at work, be the person that always drops a mail to the whole team to acknowledge them for their hard work (no matter what level you are at).
At home, be the person that resolves tough situations at home by seeing the good in both parties.
Tip #8 – Change your vocabulary.
If you want to think gratitude, speak of it.
Start using words like “blessed” and “grateful” in your day to day conversations, and not just as an Instagram hashtag!
Ultimately, gratitude is an attitude, and also a skill. It takes some retraining and inner reprogramming, but the more you practice it, the larger the ripple effect will be in your life.
Let me also take the opportunity to express my gratitude to you, for reading this and supporting my blog, in whatever capacity that you do. THANK YOU! 🙂
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