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“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend” ~ Aesop
I love that quote, don’t you? It reminds me that when we open our hearts and minds to gratitude, it has the power to transform anything.
Of course we all know what gratitude is and like me, you were probably raised to express it in the form of saying ‘thank you’ when someone helped or did something nice for you. And, that’s a good start but how many of us were really taught to seek out and feel gratitude every day...
Creating a gratitude practice isn’t that difficult once you get started. And, over time it builds a strong foundation for daily life; one that encourages you to appreciate the small things, cultivate happiness and compassion and offer you a place of solace during difficult times.
It’s even been said that having a gratitude practice can strengthen our immune systems and help us sleep better...so what are you waiting for? Here are a few tips to help you start your gratitude practice today...
The most important tip I can offer is this; get started. Don’t wait for tomorrow, a monday or the right moon phase! Let’s do it now - slowly take a few deep breaths and think of three things that you’re grateful for. Start with anything...I’m safe in my home, the sun is shining, I have fresh water to drink and food on the table. If nothing comes to mind immediately then just wait a moment...the thoughts will come.
After you’ve thought of the first few things you might be ready to stop, that’s okay because it’s not a competition to see how many things you can think of! But, if you’ve opened the gates and gratitude is flowing then take a while longer to bask in it. Let your mind wander through everything that you feel grateful for today.
MAKE IT A HABIT
If focusing on the positive side of things is new to you, don’t worry. You’re retraining your mind and just like the body it can take time to feel comfortable with something new. Practice and consistency make all the difference. Start small and build up slowly. It’s helpful to build it into your daily routine; commit to thinking of three things to be grateful for as soon as you wake up in the morning or one of my favourites is to think of them while I enjoy a warm shower. Building your gratitude practice into your day helps you create consistency and that will make a world of difference.
It’s not essential that you write down everything that you’re grateful for but it can be helpful to acknowledge your blessings this way. It also supports the foundation of your gratitude practice. If you decide that journaling is for you, then please don’t let perfectionism cause you to delay. Yes, it’s nice to have a pretty gratitude journal but a piece of paper or notebook works just as well. To help you get started today, here’s my FREE 7 day gratitude journal - print a copy of it today..
Writing a gratitude journal can also be a positive source of inspiration. I love reading back over mine and it’s a great way to get your gratitude mindset back on track when you’re facing a challenging day.
EXPRESS YOUR GRATITUDE
Doesn’t it feel good when someone expresses their gratitude for something that you’ve done? Let’s share that feeling and bring joy to others by expressing our gratitude with them. I’m not talking about an overflowing expression of emotion; a simple message, phone call or thank you does just fine. Look for the little things in your day, your partner bringing you a cup of coffee while you work or a friend sending you a message of support even though they have their hands full themselves right now. Be sure to let them know how much you value their kindness.
In light of recent events, I’m sure that you’d agree that we all have an increased sense of gratitude for being able to step outside! Nature in all its wonder, is there for us everyday and so it’s a wonderful starting point for your gratitude practice. Being outdoors gives us the opportunity to feel gratitude for nature’s small gifts; a bird singing, the smell of crisp air or the warmth of the sun on our skin. These simple things that feature in our daily lives can so easily be taken for granted but if you take a moment to step outside or even open your windows, you’ll find an abundance of things to be grateful for.
The goal is to make gratitude your default setting...to teach your mind to see the blessings around you every day. When we can do this, we feel a boost to our self esteem, level of happiness and even an improvement in our relationships...life just feels better.
I hope that I've inspired you to start practicing gratitude in a more conscious way. It helps to mix and match a few of these tips to keep your gratitude practice fresh and interesting. Even if you’re sceptical about the benefits, I encourage you to try it for a week or two - remember to print off my simple 7 day gratitude journal and get started today.
AUTHOR: LEANNA DOOLIN
Co – Founder of holistic skincare brand, Pure Thoughts and advocate for women finding pause in their day to breathe deeply, give thanks and reconnect to what matters. Loves early mornings, dogs and books that you can’t put down.