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.
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