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If you are anything like me, sometimes we get so wrapped up in schedules, to-do’s, and moving forward to ever stop and think about things we are grateful for. And that can quickly lead to a cycle of exhaustion and negative emotions. What if I could help you break that unhappy streak in just a few easy steps? You’re in? That’s the spirit! Let’s get to it.
WRITE IT DOWN
First, you need to remind yourself of things to be thankful for. Make a list of 3 things you are grateful for each day. Your list can include people too! This will certainly get easier to do as you practice. Just start small at first. This list of three things shouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes each day to jot down. Keep a notebook on your nightstand, or on your desk – any place where you are already going as a part of your daily routine. Use that notebook to hold all of your daily gratitude lists and be sure to look back on it often!
If you need a cute notebook, I suggest these adorable mini-notebooks from Emily Ley. Small enough to keep in your planner or purse. Cute enough to be an item on your gratitude list.
Whenever I am having a rough day, it helps to have a notebook full of little reminders about the things that bring me joy. So even if the only thing you are grateful today is having a cup of coffee, write it down! Counting your blessings will have a huge impact on your daily outlook. Get excited to become a more positive version of yourself with this one little exercise!
SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS
The next step is to say it out loud! Tell people what you are grateful for (bonus points if you are grateful to the person you are sharing with). Speech is a huge part of solidifying a habit or state of mind. If you keep repeating something, it is much more likely to stick. I would also bet, that as you start sharing what you are grateful for with others, they will start thinking about what they are grateful for as well. Or they may even just be intrigued by your newfound positivity and wonder what is making you different these days.
You might even use this as an opportunity to encourage others by telling them that they are on your grateful list. I am sure it will mean so much to hear you say that they are having an impact on you.
If you share your grateful list with others, it is sure to have a ripple effect. Who knows how far your practice of gratitude will spread?!
Once you have built a foundation of gratitude, take it (maybe) a bit out of your comfort zone. Volunteer or give back. Doing acts of service for others can make you much more appreciative when they are done for you. Find something that you are passionate and sign up for a volunteer shift. Take someone dinner while they are going through a tough time. Take time out to celebrate a small milestone with a friend. Giving of yourself, via time or resources, is one of the best ways to strengthen your capacity for gratitude. The next time someone goes out of their way to help you, you will be able to remember how it felt when you stretched yourself for others. And you will be all the more deeply grateful for their act of kindness to you.
Don’t know where to start?
Pay for someone in line behind you at Starbucks. Go to the nursing home nearest you and ask the front desk to point you in the direction of someone who needs a visitor. Volunteer at the food bank or clothing donation center.
These small acts of kindness will also make you more grateful for the things you have in your life. So often we let our problems overwhelm us till they feel so enormous that they block out all of the good things in our lives. But most of the time, if we look at the world around us, our problems start to seem much smaller. I once heard a pastor say “The majority of the people in this world would kill to have the problems that you have.” I remind myself of that every time I start to feel like my problems are so big that I have nothing to be grateful for. It changes my perspective 100% and I am able to fill up a whole page of blessings in my notebook.
Let’s start RIGHT NOW! Share three things that you are grateful for in the comments below. I can’t wait to read them! I’ll start.
I am grateful for:
- Sunshine (allows for daily walks outside!)
- My puppy Sadie (puppy cuddles are pretty great)
- An encouraging text a friend sent me today – always a day maker!
Your turn! Let me know your list below!
Get Your Foundations of Gratitude Checklist!
Strengthen your Gratitude Muscles! Use this weekly tracker as a guide while you build up your habit of daily gratitude!