In my last blog post, I discussed five reasons why cultivating gratitude is an essential part of living a happier, healthier, and more mindful life. In this post, I share four simple practices that can help you feel more grateful. Although it may seem difficult to see the light when things are dark, practicing gratitude doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, practicing gratitude is something that many people come to look forward to once they begin to incorporate it into their everyday life. If you’re looking for some simple ways to cultivate gratitude, here are four small practices that can make a big difference. For more tips on how to find your soul joy, sign up for my seven-step course, The Journey to Joy, today.
Simple Ways to Practice Gratitude
Keep a Gratitude Journal
Journaling is a great way to get to know yourself, which can lead to more patience, self-confidence, and an overall sense of inner peace. If journaling every day seems like a daunting task, then you might want to keep a gratitude journal as a simple, quick way to count your blessings. Maintaining a gratitude journal doesn’t have to be difficult; all you have to do is list things that you are thankful for, whether it’s your cell phone, which helps connect you with your friends, or the groceries that keep you nourished. You don’t even have to write in full sentences — bullet point lists are perfectly fine.
The time of day that you write in your gratitude journal is up to you. Many people like to write in their gratitude journal at night, as it can produce a sense of calm that helps them fall asleep. You might even want to keep your gratitude journal on your nightstand, so that you remember to attend to it. Another benefit of keeping your gratitude journal by your bed is that it will be one of the first things you see when you wake up in the morning, which will get your day started on a positive note. If you forget to write in your gratitude journal for a night or two, don’t be hard on yourself! Keeping a gratitude journal should feel like a joy, not a burden. Simply pick up the practice when you remember.
Send a Gratitude Letter
Life gets hectic for everyone, and it can be hard to take time to keep in touch with distant loved ones. In today’s tech-crazy world, many people have come to fear telephone calls. Thankfully, showing our loved ones we’re thinking of them doesn’t have to mean picking up the phone. Good old-fashioned snail mail is a great way to show someone you care without having to worry about their immediate reaction. A great way to make yourself and those you love feel better is to send them a gratitude letter.
What is a gratitude letter? A gratitude letter is simply a thank you letter for someone who has changed your life for the better. This may be a friend, a relative, a coworker, a teacher, or anyone else who has had a positive impact on your development as a human being. When you sit down to write a gratitude letter, you take time out of your busy life to reflect on who you are and where you came from, and remember what matters most. Don’t worry about perfect spelling or grammar — it’s the sentiment that counts. Express to the recipient how they helped make you the person you are today, and that even though you may be far away or haven’t talked to them in years, you still feel thankful for their impact. I promise that this will feel great for both of you.
Volunteering is a great way to remember our blessings, and use them to benefit others.
When we volunteer, we see those in less fortunate positions than ourselves, and feel grateful for the small things that sustain us. Volunteering doesn’t have to be difficult. If you have a busy schedule, you can simply set aside one day every month to volunteer at a soup kitchen, animal shelter, or other social service. If your schedule is more lax, you may want to volunteer every week. This will soon become something you look forward to, as you see the smiling faces of those who are benefiting from your service.
Stop and Smell the Roses
We live in a culture that emphasizes productivity, multitasking, and staying as busy as possible. While it’s important to stay on top of your responsibilities, it’s perhaps even more important to set time aside to recognize and feel grateful for the small things that surround us. Set aside a few minutes each day to remember something positive that someone did for you, or to look at something nourishing in your environment, whether that be the plant on your desk, the food on your table, or the flowers in your backyard. I know that this is easier said than done when times feel especially dark, but there are always small details to notice and appreciate in life. Check out my blog post 15 Small Joys in Life for some simple, everyday examples.
I hope that this post has helped you recognize why it’s important to incorporate gratitude in your life, and given you some practical ideas of how to do so. For more tips on how to live a life full of soul joy, sign up for my seven-step course, The Journey to Joy, today.