Get Gratitude: 3 Simple Steps for Living

Posted by on Aug 5, 2011 in Personal Development | 16 comments

Gratitude comes in many forms and offers as many benefits. Living a grateful life means consciously interacting with your life and mindfully honoring the truths of your existence. Okay, so maybe you’re thinking that sounds a bit out there, but gratitude isn’t out there, it’s in here. It’s the practice of recognizing what’s good in life and embracing the joy that comes naturally with gratitude.

Living a grateful life makes it easier to have fun, easier to let go, and easier to enjoy life’s joyful surprises.

We all have struggles and legitimate complaints, and we have the option to change our lives for the better. Adopting an attitude of gratitude doesn’t mean you ignore problems, it means your gratefulness is greater than, or at least as big as, the problems in your life.

Being thankful allows you to keep problems in perspective, and to better manage stress. People will be drawn to your gratefulness and be more likely to help you achieve your goals. You’ll better enjoy your own company and your life.

Gratitude can change your life. It changed mine. Are you stuck in sarcasm, snark, judgment or complaints? It’s not always easy to let go of familiar and comfortable beliefs systems, but you can practice gratitude each day and replace behaviors that aren’t working for you with grateful behaviors that will improve your life.

1. Count your blessings.
Writing a gratitude list is a great exercise towards practicing an attitude of gratitude. You can even refer to your list in difficult times, and remind yourself of the things that are great in your life.

Start by jotting down 2 or more things you’re thankful for. A fun challenge is to make a list of things you love for each letter in a word, such as the word “thanks” or “happy” or “gratitude”.

You can even be grateful for the entire alphabet. Get friends or family to help you create and A-Z gratitude list and you’re guaranteed to get some laughs as you try to come up with gratefulness for the letter “x”.

When creating your gratitude list, consider listing all your favorite things. What is your favorite foods, music, experience? You can be grateful for joy, changed attitudes, progress, and peace of mind. You may also be grateful for friends and family, a safe and warm home, having enough money in your pocket to catch a movie, or the fun of getting caught in the rain.

Don’t forget to be grateful for you! What do you like about yourself? List those things, too.

give thanks

2. Say “thank you”.
Share your gratitude with others by telling your friends, family, boss and co-workers “thank you”. Share a quality you admire in another person, or show appreciation for someone else’s thoughtfulness, kindness or contributions.

It can be especially helpful to express gratitude to someone you don’t like. Tell your annoying co-worker thanks for a good effort on their part, or compliment them on handling a situation skillfully. If you’ve been at odds with someone, adding a little gratitude to the relationship can improve your attitude towards that person, and you may find they change for the better, too!

A special note on giving thanks in the workplace, it’s likely your boss doesn’t often hear these two beautiful words, “thank you”. Give your boss a little love, and let him/her know you appreciate the opportunities, training, guidance and experience you receive at work every day.

3. Practice gratitude in action.
Let your gratitude show in your actions by choosing to treat yourself and others with respect, honesty, kindness and care.

Leave space for someone to merge in traffic, smile at a stranger, or clean up your mess in the kitchen. Be grateful for the connections between you and the rest of the world, and let it show!

Treat yourself to a bubble bath, a bicycle ride, a nap, or whatever you enjoy doing. Show your gratitude for your life by treating you with care.

I love your comments! How do you practice gratitude in your life? What are you grateful for today?

I’m GRATEFUL for:
G gratitude, good food, giggles, googly eyes, giving
R rain, readiness, Rocky Mountains, readers (that’s you!)
A activity, animals, awareness, acceptance, attitudes, accountability
T thanks, tolerance, trust
E email, encouragement, experience, engagement, everything!
F friends, forgiveness, Fridays, furballs, fun
U understanding, universal truths, uniqueness, unity
L love, life, laughter, learning, LOLCats

Image courtesy of mtsofan

16 Comments

  1. Counting your blessings and having an attitude of gratitude are two of the best ways we can do to transform the dense energies in our body. These are also two of the easiest things we can do to heal ourselves, to help us unload the unnecessary emotional baggage we carry. This is because these two activities generate light-frequency energy which then transforms the heavy, dense energies in our body, which are the result of past emotional turmoil. Great post.

    • Thanks for your comment, Rosanna!

      I couldn’t agree more and my life is so much happier and more peaceful since I started actively practicing gratitude in my life every day. It’s so powerful.

      Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  2. Love your thoughts on counting the blessings. I need to do more of exactly that. I’m an avid journalist, and love journaling each night – and often that’s where I collect what I’m thankful for. I’ve been a little lenient on it all lately thought. I feel a little disconnected.

    When I take that time though, to write down those things I’m grateful for in that day (or even through prayer) I really find that my life takes a dramatic change for positive.

    Gratitude is powerful…so thank you for sharing the power with others.
    Christian

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Christian!

      I’ve found the more I practice making gratitude lists, the easier it comes to me throughout the day. I can usually tell if I’m being lenient because I don’t feel as great as I do when I’m actively grateful.

      I hope your journey to thankfulness improves your life as much as I have been fortunate to improve mine.

      Have a grateful day!
      Chrysta

  3. Hi Chrysta, Your A-Z gratitude list is priceless! What a fun way to make sure you add to your gratitude list every day! Thank you for sharing it.

    • Gladys, I’m so thrilled to introduce you to A-Z gratitude lists. They are such a joy! I have the most fun doing them in a group where we get to share gratitude with each other. Gratitude is such a powerful practice!

      Be grateful,
      Chrysta

  4. Like Janet, I absolutely LOVE this topic Chrysta. I start my day every single day stating what I’m grateful for. I don’t necessarily go down the alphabet but girl, I have a LOT to be thankful for.

    I also always tell people thank you and that started with me as a child. My Dad was a salesman and he worked out of the house. We always answered the phone so we learned manners and to respect others very early in life. I thank my Mom constantly for instilling those values in me.

    You also have to watch out because I’m a big card person too. If I have your address, expect to receive something from me. I never forget a birthday or anniversary either. When you are feeling down, I’ll lift you up with a card. Just that special something I think we all appreciate at times.

    As in some of my previous posts where I’ve made the comment that I don’t beat people up when they do things wrong online because they just might not know better. So to me I’m showing them respect and kindness that maybe by me reaching out to them and helping, they will do better. Or maybe I’m just very naive…

    Like Lance, we also use to play that game in the car. There were three of us so Mom had to keep us busy some way but it definitely kept our attention. Back then though, I think we were too young to appreciate the things we had in life at that time.

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful topic with us Chrysta. As I’m very grateful to have you among my blogging buddies and so blessed that I found your blog. So see, I continue to have so much to be thankful for in my life.

    Have a beautiful day my friend.

    Adrienne

    • I am pleased, and not at all surprised, to hear you are an actively grateful person- what a lovely way to enjoy life!

      I see many perfectly nice people who are stuck in a rut of focusing on everything that’s wrong instead of everything that’s right. From my perspective these individuals don’t seem to get very far towards their goals and that has everything to do with a lack of gratitude. We get what we give to others, and we attract people like us into our life. I truly hope people who are stuck in ungratefulness can look at successful, energetic and inspiring bloggers like you and see that great things come with gratitude!

      Saying “thank you” is another important factor in success. I have witness another ungrateful attitude and that’s not thanking people for doing what someone else thinks they should, i.e. “I’m not going to thank them for doing their job.” Courtesy and gratitude never go out of style, and in my experience saying “thank you” goes a long way towards building great relationships and motivating people to do great work.

      Adrienne, I, too, and grateful for your friendship! Thank you for your comments, and your blog posts, and your wonderful and engaging energy!

  5. Hi Chrysta,
    I am grateful for having come across your blog today. Your post reinforces for me the power of living in gratitude everyday. I also agree with what Janet shared about Oprah’s thoughts. The more that we are grateful for, the more blessings will come into our lives.

    I love the idea of creating an A-Z gratitude list. It sounds so much fun and I’m excited to start my own.

    Thank you for sharing this. Have a nice day! :)

    • Thanks for your comment, Theresa! I’m so happy my article inspired you today.

      The A-Z gratitude list is really quite fun and challenging! I hope you have fun creating your own. I’d love to hear how it went for you.

      Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  6. Hi Chrysta,
    As I read your first suggestion, I’m reminded of a game our family sometimes plays when we’re on longer car rides – finding things that start with each letter of the alphabet. And this steps it up – to make it things we’re grateful for (I think this could be a fun car ride game, too!!) (thank you!!)

    And – #3: I’ve really started to do this. And the thing is – when I do this I just feel more at peace with life in general. And that’s a pretty great feeling. And your listing that here today – it’s a wonderful awareness tool for me – to stay focused on simple things that can make a big difference.

    So great being here – and letting your words reach into my soul…thank YOU for sharing in this space.

    • Lance,

      I am grateful for your comment- thank you! The A-Z gratitude list is like a game, and just as fun, too. My husband and I played it one night and we were laughing as our gratitude list was sillier and sillier with everything from french fries to pie. I did it once with a teen group I work with and the teens had amazing contributions to the game. The teens had so much fun we went through the alphabet once and then the teens wanted to immediately do it again. Everyone in the room had a huge smile on their face at the end of the meeting.

      Putting gratitude to action is so powerful for me. It’s amazing how a simple smile from a stranger can interrupt a bad mood and help me realize I’m focusing on something that isn’t important to my life and well-being. I’ve been making a conscious effort to be mindful of this and I’ve been feeling such peace and happiness- it’s great!

      I am thrilled my post touched you, and grateful to share gratitude with you.

      Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  7. Hi Chrysta,

    I came over here on recommendation from the lovely Janet Calaway!

    Your post is a delight! :)

    Chrysta, I make it my daily aim to live on the edge of appreciation which really means aiming to be appreciative of everything and everyone all the time.

    I have kept a gratitude journal for close on 15 years. If I missed writing in there it would feel like not cleaning my teeth!!

    I love your alphabet games too. I do a gratitude walk most days. I like to make it as much fun as I can, so while I’m walking I may name everything I can sense that I’m thankful for, so it may be the blue sky, sound of the birds etc.

    Some days I also use an A-Z game usually naming qualities I have for which I am thankful so; A- Adventurous, B- Brave C- Conscious D- Determined. I try and think of different words each time and when a letter is really a challenge, I just move on to the next one since there will always be a next time. I’ll definitely add some of your suggestions to my activity. Thank you.

    One thing I’ll add here Chrysta, is that when one understands that absolutely everything and everyone comes into our lives to teach us something, then one can also say thank you for that and those which on the surface does not always appear to be very thank-worthy. It is astounding how transforming it is to be especially thankful for that which may otherwise have become resentment leading to blocked energy and self suffering.

    Thank you for your uplifting post and allowing me to express my thoughts here.

    ~Marcus

    • Namaste, Marcus! Thank you for your lovely comment!

      I, too, make a gratitude list in thought and action every day. I enjoy a daily walk and love to focus on expanding my senses to fully experience the beauty that surrounds me. A regular practice of gratitude has improved my quality of life until I’m nearly bursting with enthusiasm and joy. :)

      While it can be challenging to find gratitude in life events we did not expect or desire, I have found opportunity in those situations. At first I may struggle and feel impatient, frustrated and angry that things didn’t go the way I wanted them too, however I eventually take a step back and open myself to possibilities, and find every situation provides great capacity for learning, understanding, progress and the release of peaceful acceptance.

      Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  8. Chrysta, aloha. To say that I absolutely love this, would be an understatement. Just like you, your post is magnificent. WOW! Because of what you wrote, I am excited and feel fantastic. Thank you for making a great day even better with your lessons in appreciation and gratitude.

    Chyrsta, I love your challenge of using each letter of a word or the alphabet to express gratitude. In fact, after I finish commenting and tweeting this post, I am going to take the link back to mine to include it as a P.S. to some of the Replies I already sent. What a brilliant idea, Chrysta, to show appreciation; a terrific teaching tool for children.

    By any measure, Oprah Winfrey would be considered a huge success. She believes in the power of gratitude and express it often. Here is what she says:

    “What you focus on expands, and when you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it. Opportunities, relationships, even money flowed my way when I learned to be grateful no matter what happened in my life.”

    Oprah’s thought is much the same as Eileen Caddy of whom I am a big fan. Here is Eileen on the power of gratitude:

    “Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings joy and laughter into your life and into the lives of all those around you.”

    Crysta, I am so grateful you are a part of my life. You have enriched it by sharing so generously of your thoughts, feelings, reactions and lessons. My gratitude ABCs:

    A-Appreciate
    B-Beautiful
    C-Chrysta

    Best wishes to you, incredible lady, for a fantastic weekend. Until next week, aloha. Janet

    • Janet, you are truly a kindred spirit!

      I am thrilled my post was inspiring to you, and even gave you new ideas to express gratitude. The A-Z gratitude list is really fun to do- especially with help from family or friends. Children, especially, have great insights into an A-Z gratitude list- they are more in touch with joy!

      I absolutely adore the quotes on gratitude from Oprah and Eileen Caddy. I couldn’t have said it better myself. The more I live a positive and purposeful life, the more positivity and purpose comes back to me. What a blessing! I often list “gratitude” as something I’m grateful for as it has brought so many wonderful joys to my life.

      May you enjoy a beautiful and grateful day, my friend!

      Chrysta

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