You’re probably thinking “how can being grateful change your life”, what a load of rubbish! I don’t blame you, when I was first given the book “the secret” as a gift early last year, I thought the exact same. But after finishing the book, and after further reading and research, I can honestly say my life has changed for the better. Whether that’s because I’m practising what I’ve learnt, or sheer coincidence, but I firmly believe that what you put out into the universe, you get back.
Before, I would let the smallest things get to me, and feel negative about certain situations. I’ve learnt to look at the bigger picture and be thankful for what I already have, instead of focusing on what I don’t.
Gratitude is simply giving thanks, and the benefits to practicing gratitude are endless. Those who take time to notice and reflect upon the things they’re thankful for are generally much more positive people who experience less stress, which in turn makes them feel more alive, sleep better, as well as expressing more compassion and kindness.
I’ve noticed the biggest difference in my attitude at work since practicing gratitude throughout the day. My productivity has increased, as well as my ability to bounce back from stress. Appreciation keeps me focused on what’s already good in my life, instead of constantly searching for better.
Here are a few ways you can incorporate gratitude into your daily life:
Keep a journal
It doesn’t matter if it’s on a piece of paper, an old notepad or on your phone, jot down 3-5 things that you’re thankful for each day. Even more if you wish!
These can be things as simple as “I’m healthy” or as big as a promotion at work. Remind yourself of these things throughout your day, especially when you find yourself in a difficult or negative situation.
Try and include things about yourself too. In an age where we’re constantly criticising ourselves and picking out the negatives, it’s refreshing to identify the things we like about ourselves. It doesn’t mean you’re egocentric, you’re just being kind to yourself. The more you appreciate yourself, the happier you’ll be, and that happiness will radiate to others around you too!
“if you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” – Roald Dahl
Say thank you more!
This sounds like a silly comment to make, but simply thanking someone goes a long, long way. I don’t mean waiting until someone has done something for you, just merely telling your partner or friend that you’re thankful they’re in your life will really make a difference.
I read somewhere that the words thank you are said so commonly used now (and rightly so too), that sometimes we don’t make the connection between the words and what they really mean. This is why taking the time to thank the people in our lives is so important.
I can promise you will notice the difference in your relationships too by doing this regularly.
Change your thought process
People often assume that if someone is giving thanks, it’s because their life is easy and that they have nothing to be negative about. This is not the case at all. Those who practice gratitude understand that it’s how you think about a situation that makes it easier or more difficult.
Play the gratitude game
I picked this up from my friend Ellise, who plays it each dinnertime with her family. We now do it every time we sit down for a meal, and it changes the entire energy of the group! Go around the table and each say the worst part of your day (or week, month, year, whenever), then go around again and each say your best part. Although you’re mentioning a negative, it then gets everyone thinking about the positive and realising what is most important.
Ellise even did it at my Sister’s wedding, I walked past her table during the dinner and heard her saying to the group “right, now everyone say their best part”! I ended up joining in!
The beauty of meditation is that it can be practised pretty much anywhere. On the train into work, in a quiet room during your lunch break or in the comfort of your bed.
I use the app ‘Calm’, which teaches you the basics of mindfulness. Meditation has taught me to be present in the moment. I regularly have a million things running through my mind at once, which makes it tough to focus on having gratitude. Meditating allows me to take time to really focus on myself, my breathing and just being in the present moment. It allows me to appreciate the simple things, such as the fact I’m even breathing!