The word gratitude is thrown around SOOOO much nowadays. But how to you bring being thankful into your life in a way that makes sense for you? Saying thank you is a lot different to being grateful on a deeper level. Using gratitude in your life on a daily basis is about shifting your mindset. It’s about deepening your connection to your own life and really appreciating your time here on earth. It’s about turning a ‘why has this happened to ME mindset’ (victim mindset) into a ‘WHY has this happened to me mindset’ (growth mindset). Some people believe that if they possess more things or had better luck in life, they would have more ‘things’ to be grateful for. However, the number of things that you accumulate will not affect your attitude, mindset and overall perspective. Gratitude is an attitude that can easily be cultivated, no matter your current situation. Here are five ways you can cultivate gratitude to live a happier life.
Start a Gratitude Journal
Take a few moments every day to jot down five things that you are grateful for in your life. I do this. Believe me it doesn’t have to be every day in a robotic sense, it’s when you have the time to do it, waking up in the morning and thinking about things you can be grateful for is a great way to shift your mindset for the rest of the day. The things you write in your journal can range from being thankful for just waking up in the morning, feeling rested to getting to work on time, having a spoon to eat with, money to pay your Netflix bill, a hug from your kids, the opportunity to be able to learn something new. It’s totally your gratitude moment. Anything can enter the journal, you just have to appreciate its existence in your life. Spend this time feeling how incredibly blessed you are and allow that feeling to propel you toward greatness for the rest of the day. And it helps choosing a book that really feels beautiful and special to you just for your gratitude notes.
Stop and Smell the Flowers
Change the way you think about your day, give yourself ten seconds to literally stop and smell the flowers you come across. Actively try to catch yourself before you get overwhelmed with any negative thoughts or feelings. Take a walk and feel grateful for everything around you, like the fresh air given by the trees around you, the scents in the air, the texture of the grass between your toes. This simple activity can give you the opportunity to remove yourself physically, connect with your senses and view a stressful situation with a new perspective.
Find Something Positive in the Negative
Before you get upset about what seems to be a difficult situation you can’t remove yourself from, take a second to shift that negative thought pattern into one that has positive influence. If you’re stuck in what seems like never-ending traffic, look on it as a chance to meditate or get into a calmer state before getting home. How can you use the time for something else? How can you create learning, growth or strength from the situation you’re in? How can being in this situation have a positive influence on your day and life? Go searching for the positive when at first glance you believe there is none.
Go a Day Without Complaining
OK so when you are first starting out with gratitude you may be in a habit of victimizing yourself and blaming everyone and everything else for the shittiness of your own life. Heres a thought – challenge yourself. Attempt to go as long as possible without complaining about a simple thing. When you hear yourself complaining start again. Work yourself up to an entire day, then go for two days. It might sound impossible to you right now but that’s just you complaining. See? Actually challenge yourself to set a new pattern in your life. Work at it to find one good thing among the dozens of negative influences that might be affecting you throughout the day. Allow yourself and your life to be transformed by this new attitude.
Give a Genuine Compliment
Share your kindness and authentic thoughts of appreciation with someone around you, whether it’s a friend or a stranger. Not only will this spread the love to another person, but it will also uplift you and push you to focus on the good, and allow you to build an even stronger relationship with yourself and others. Don’t fake it, compliments can be felt. Search for a trait, something about their appearance, the way they do something, how they’ve helped you, something you envy because you want it in your life. Whatever it is you genuinely like, tell them. Compliments are few and far between, genuine ones especially. Start this trend in your life and watch how the compliments start to come back to you. Searching for the best in people will shift how you start to see the community around you and the world as a whole.
By integrating some of these exercises of gratitude into your daily life, you will learn what will ultimately allow you to continue to be thankful. Each day will begin to creep out from under those gloomy clouds and into the sunshiney light. Through these simple steps you are reprogramming your brain and thought processes to search for the good, to see all situations with light and to not dwell on the harder times. It’s never completely rainbows and butterflies but training your brain to see how the darkness can help you and to want to choose a happier life will ultimately shift your entire perspective on this thing we call life.
Happy wandering xx
PS – Did you know there’s a cool collection of unique items I create in my shop?