5 ways to Practice Gratitude
A simple practice with a powerful result
And yet many of us don’t lean into gratitude enough. Often we can’t even find the capacity for gratitude or the space within us to offer up thanks… why is that? Well, it’s a known fact that human beings are hard wired for the negative. We automatically see, feel, comprehend, adhere to, gravitate towards and stick with FEAR based thinking.
It’s an evolutionary thing… when we stay in that space of fear well, we survive. Fear drives us to do everything in our power to stay ALIVE. Fear is what protects us. We need fear. We must be grateful for it, because it’s just trying to do it’s job. It wants to ‘have your back’.
This auto-pilot to FEAR predates the modern life we live in – the one where there isn’t much to FEAR on a daily basis. This fear is a programming that was birthed during times (thousands and thousands of years ago!) when we HAD to fear for our lives, constantly. So, what does this mean? Well, when sticking with the negative – remembering bad times, focusing on what didn’t go well, attaching to what is not good enough – we tend to ensure we don’t FORGET the problem/challenge/situation/person that caused that negativity. The result? Hopefully we won’t repeat it…therein lives the ‘survival’ mechanism kicking in.
But we don’t NEED to focus on the negatives in this way anymore. There aren’t any wild bears chasing after you these days… (or are there?!)
So, you can give yourself a break if you tend towards the negative and if dialling up your positive-o-meter is down right challenging for you. BUT… just because we, as human beings are hard wired for the negative, that doesn’t mean we can’t re-train our brains to think and respond differently. Right?!
Haven’t you already done that – trained your brain – countless times? How many new skills have you learnt over the years that perhaps weren’t your natural, default setting?
Gratitude as a way of thinking and feeling is possible.
It can become your new default setting. You can become hard wired for the positive. And truthfully, the practice of gratitude is so damn simple. It’s not a steep learning curve. The challenge is in being consistent. Sticking with training to ‘reprogram’ your mindset towards gratitude. Otherwise, it’s just about finding a way to lean into thankfulness that resonates with you.
So, to help. Here are 5 Ways to Practice Gratitude.
1) Happiness Jar
Get a big, bad ass jar. Get a pile of old paper (good chance to recycle envelopes, scrap paper etc) and cut them all to the same ‘post-it note’ size. Hole punch them and look some sturdy string through the pile of paper. Then loop all of that around the neck of the jar with a pen too.
Now, everyday make sure you and the members of your household take the time to write out at least on thing they are grateful for each day. Pop the date on it too. And chuck it into the jar.
Watch your jar grow with gratitude. And every now and then stick your hand in, pull one out and reconnect to that day and what you were thankful for.
2) Gratitude Journal
My favourite way to practice Gratitude. Flip open to a new fresh page in your journal and start penning whatever comes to mind that makes you feel happy, grateful, joyful. It can be simple things from your day – “I’m grateful for that killer parking spot that made my life SO much easier”. Or deeper, potent to give thanks to – “Thank you for love I feel from my husband every day”.
Do this daily. Before bed. Before you rise. Whenever.
3) Three things
To your partner. Your children. Your colleagues. Yourself. Anyone you want to… Ask them this question:
“What are THREE things you are grateful for today”
Listen with all your hear to their answers.
And respond with your own three things.
Relish the energy of gratitude that hangs in the air between you.
I do this frequently with my husband and it really adds a weighty, meaningful, ‘special’ pause to our day.
4) Little thank you notes
Dish up gratitude to others. And notice how it makes YOU feel.
Write short, sweet notes of thanks and leave them to be found by your significant other. Your barista. Maybe your cleaner too.
5) The BIG thank you wall.
Sticky it notes. Sharpie Pens.
Start jotting down (as they happen) moments of gratitude and stick them on a wall in your home/office. Perhaps start to work towards the shape of a heart? And each day, as you watch that wall grow, watch how your heart keeps SWELLING and overflowing with more gratitude. It’s an exponential growth thing, you know. The more you give thanks, the more you feel the love, the less fear you experience, the more grateful you become.
Giving thanks, feeling gratitude, giving over to grace. It’s the antidote to fear and the love remedy we all need.
Ok my sweets. Over to you – any other ways you like to practice gratitude? I’d love to hear your suggestions.
And before I leave you I’d like to say THANK YOU for being here with me today.
Love + light,