The exercise of gratitude as an instrument for happiness has been known for years. Continuing studies support gratitude’s effectiveness, suggesting that a positive, thankful attitude contributes to greater success in work, better health, peak performance in sports (and business), a higher sense of well-being, and a faster rate of recovery from surgery.
But while we may acknowledge gratitude’s many benefits, it still be challenging to implement a gratitude practice. Humans have a strong negativity bias after all. We are skilled at noticing what is broken, undone or lacking in our lives. Gratitude needs to become more than just a Thanksgiving dinner sharing! But learning to embrace and see gratitude is HARD!
That’s why practicing gratitude makes so much sense, By practicing giving thanks for all we have, instead of complaining about what we lack, we allow ourselves the chance to see all of life as an opportunity and see hope and the future. Our planning becomes optimistic and forward-thinking. Problems don’t vanish but they become part of the journey that is life.
Remember gratitude isn’t blind optimism where negative things in life are whitewashed or disregarded. Thankfulness lets us decide where we put our focus and attention. Gratitude balances us and gives us hope.
There are many things to be grateful for: colourful autumn leaves, mobility, running water, animal friends, human friends who listen and really hear us, chocolate, fresh eggs, warm jackets, great podcasts, videos and books, the ability to read, nature. What’s on your list?
Some Ways to Practice Gratitude
• Keep a gratitude journal in which you list things for which you are thankful. You can make daily, weekly or monthly lists. Greater frequency may be better for creating a new habit, but just keeping that journal where you can see it will remind you to think in a grateful way.
• Pause and notice the little things around you to appreciate.
• Create a gratitude collage by drawing or pasting pictures.
• Share gratitude around the dinner table
• Work it into your nighttime or wake up routine.
• When you want to complain, make a gratitude list instead. You may be amazed by how much better you feel.
• Notice how gratitude is impacting your life. Write about it, paint or draw about it, sing about it, express thanks for gratitude.
If it’s still a struggle for you consider joining the Gratitude Project 2.0 – a daily reminder at randomized times will arrive in your mailbox for 365 days to encourage you to reflect and notice the things you can appreciate. As you begin, an inner shift often happens, and you will start to see things to be thankful for. That sense of fulfillment is gratitude at work.
Even if it isn’t a struggle you are welcome to join us and enjoy a more reflective gratitude practice. Between the Canadian Thanksgiving and Christmas, the program is a whopping $10! A gift from me to you! Because? Because I am thankful you are in my life!!