The power of a Gratitude Practice
Gratitude is one of those words that is used a lot in the wellbeing world, and for good reason.
While it can sometimes feel difficult to find appreciation for life’s obstacles, using gratitude as an empowering tool is not about bypassing the pain and the discomfort in hard events – but more about cultivating an attitude that shows even a glimmer of light in dark moments.
Why practice gratitude?
Gratitude practices are accumulative and when we learn to spend time focusing on the blessings we have received when things are running smoothly, it helps to rewire our thought patterns so that when we do experience hardships, finding appreciation is not as difficult to find.
Focusing on all that we have, instead of all that we don’t, is a powerful and transformative tool for many reasons. It helps us to embody a feeling of having enough, being enough, doing enough… even if there is still space to open up for more.
It is said that practising gratitude can help you feel more positive emotions, feel more alive, be more compassionate and kind and even sleep better!
Sometimes gratitude is about the little things in life; clean water, a hot shower, fresh food, a gentle walk in the sunshine. And sometimes gratitude is about the larger things, time with loved ones, a new friendship or an exciting new career shift.
There is no moment too small to express gratitude for. A glimmer of sunlight through a window, the view of a full moon in a clear sky, a smile from a passing stranger. The more we start to notice these things, the more our life becomes more enriched with them.
How to start a gratitude practice…
A beautiful way to begin practicing gratitude is by writing it down in a journal. This can be throughout the day to remind you of all the things you are grateful for, or by bookending your day with a list when you wake up and when you go to sleep.
Try not to write the same things everyday – the practice is made more powerful by being specific for the little things that we notice. You will undoubtedly find that the more you notice… the more you notice!
Start by writing three things you are grateful for. When that begins to feels easy, try writing down a list of all the things that have happened on that day that you can be grateful for.
It might not feel like anything is happening at first, and it can be tempting to let it slip, but stick with it. Over time you might start to notice that when challenges arise, you begin to see things in a different way, you might be able to see the blessings a little easier and you might feel a little more at peace in all areas of your life.
A few ideas to help you cultivate a more grateful mindset…
- Gratitude jar – each time you notice something write it on a piece of paper and pop it in a jar. When you need to be reminded of something positive, you can open the jar and view all of the wonderful things that have happened.
- Full Moon Gratitude practice – when the moon is at its fullest it is a lovely time to reflect on all the things you are grateful for.
- Thank people – take a moment to express gratitude to people you don’t know and people you do know – let them know your appreciation and see what a gift it can be to others.
- Try and make a note when something good happens – even on your phone, or in your diary – pop it down and you can be reminded of it when you need to be.
- Use a gratitude meditation – there are lots of beautiful meditations you can do to help connect with a grateful mindset. Have a look on the free app Insight Timer if you need inspiration. (https://insighttimer.com/)
- Share with others – create a gratitude accountability group of friends or family so you can help each other all cultivate more gratitude.
- Write a gratitude letter to someone who has made an impact on you.
- Be thankful for all the everyday things that often get taken for granted. Food, clothes, your body. Take time to notice the mundane and appreciate that as much as the larger things.
There is no time like the present to begin. Take a moment right now… and think of one thing you are grateful for.