More and more research tell us that grateful people are happier. In a culture that seems determined to make us feel inadequate this practice can be challenging but this media assault on our self-worth makes it all the more important to practice. The good news is, it doesn't take a lot of time. In fact, with practice, you will find it becomes a part of your everyday routine. In the beginning a daily gratitude practice may be like taking vitamins - not something you think about all the time, but you do it because you know its good for you. When you practice gratitude daily you are planting the seeds of habit. Eventually the habit turns to a way of life and you will be more joyful and better equipped to manage negative emotions like fear, anxiety and stress. Here are a couple of ideas for starting a daily gratitude practice.
- Start a gratitude jar. Every day write 3 things you are grateful for on a small piece of paper and put them in a jar. At the end of each season read all of the notes you have written. This is a lovely practice to start as a family.
- Say 3 things that you are grateful for. First thing in the morning say (before you even get out of bed) this will plant the seeds of gratitude throughout your day. Say 3 things that you are grateful for before you go to bed to sprinkle your dreams with light.
- Listen to a guided meditation for gratitude. BONUS! Listening to guided mediations allows you to spend time in stillness. Stillness is so fleeting in this day and age. Allowing yourself time to be still is a beautiful way to nurture yourself - you get an extra hit of joy!
- Say thank you often. Thank you for the big stuff and thank you for the little stuff. It is as good to give as to receive. Notice how great you feel when you make another person feel great with a simple gesture of gratitude.
- Find opportunities to celebrate. Mark as many milestones on your calendar as you can and find a small way to celebrate them all.
It is said that habit is formed in 21 days. In Yogic tradition a 40-day Sadhana (daily spiritual practice used to achieve purpose in your life) is said to instil a practice in your heart. Set an intention to practice gratitude for 21 or 40 days and see what changes.
The strict Yogis will tell you that if you miss a day of Sadhana you must start back at one. I take a more compassionate approach. Life happens and the last thing we want is for you to feel guilt around your gratitude practice. If you miss a day forgive yourself and keep going.
Set a goal to practice one of these ideas. write it in the comment to strengthen your commitment.
With love and gratitude, Katlin