With the holidays coming up, I thought that this was the perfect time to talk about gratitude. It is so easy to slip into a negative space and think about everything we DON’T have. We’re busting our asses 40 hours a week, side hustling, plotting, and planning, only to have to pay so much in student loans, high rents, childcare, and medical costs. No wonder it takes so much effort to see the bright side of things. Rather than getting all complainy, let’s challenge ourselves to appreciate everything that we have.
Gratitude is the expression of appreciation for everything that you have and all that we receive. It is strongly and consistently associated with increased life satisfaction and happiness. We have one day a year where we go around the table and discuss what we are thankful for. But what if we made this a regular practice?
Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, enjoy experiences, improve their health, manage challenges, and build meaningful relationships, just to name a few. The benefits are practically endless. People who practice gratitude are happier and experience more love and enthusiasm. They are better able to cope with negative feelings like frustration, disappointment, and anger.
Grateful people experience more joy, love, and enthusiasm, and they enjoy protection from destructive emotions like envy, greed, and bitterness. Gratitude also reduces the risk of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders, and it helps people managing those challenges to heal and find closure. Practicing gratitude is one of those miracle practices that completely shifts your mindset.
It’s no secret in my circle – I’m not a fan of constant complaining. I struggle with wasting our most valuable resource – time -by bitching and moaning rather than focusing on a solution or in what ways we can grow from the experience. I love a good vent session, but then it’s time to move on. I put together a list of ways to experience and practice gratitude. Some are pretty obvious and typical, but others allow you to take a conscious step outside of yourself in the moment which is the most empowering way to promote change and growth within
- Wish everyone around you a good morning.
- Notice and appreciate the beauty in nature each day.
- Make a conscious choice not to gossip or badmouth anyone.
- When you have a negative thought or find yourself about to complain, consciously stop yourself and shift to try to see the positive side in the situation.
- Commit to one day a week when you won’t complain about anything.
- If someone does something kind for you – pay it forward.
- Say thank you for the little things and the big things your loved ones do for you, things you might typically take for granted.
- Embrace your challenges and turn them into opportunities to learn and grow.
- Send love to people who you don’t get along with.
- Be thankful when you learn something new.
- Appreciate the growth opportunity in your mistakes.
- Keep a gratitude journal. Jot down all that you’re grateful for every day.
Every night, I recite the following (out loud and to no one in particular) to express my gratitude for the beautiful life that I live:
“I am so grateful for this incredible life that I get to live. I am in awe of the beauty of the world around me. Today, I am grateful for –
- The roof over my head.
- The food in my belly.
- The family that loves me unconditionally and supports me endlessly.
- My fiancé who supports me, understands me, makes me laugh uncontrollably, and loves me fiercely.
- Every person who I crossed paths with today – whether they assisted me, challenged me, or didn’t even notice me.
- My job that allows me to continue to be there for people when they need it the most and mentor others trying to make a difference.
- My niece and nephew who make my heart feel like it is going to overflow with love and happiness.”