If you are like millions of other people around the globe, you know that developing a daily practice of gratitude can be one of the easiest, healthiest and most happiness producing choices you can make. Learning how to practice gratitude and how to feel it are two different things. In fact, one leads to the other; the more you practice gratitude the more naturally you feel it, and that is when you start to enjoy the many benefits it brings.
Before we look at a handful of tips that can help you begin to learn how to practice gratitude, let’s just get clear about it: The deeper practice is not just to feel thankfulness only for the good things in life. Gratitude can be related to everything. The time you stubbed your toe in the middle of the night but realized you forgot to lock the front door, the shocking losses that life might bring but then at some point you see the silver lining, the unfortunate moments we all experience that somehow months or even years later bring in a miracle we never expected…these also can be seen as opportunities for which deep gratitude can lift us up.
How and why? It is actually simple to explain. Everything that has come your way – good or bad – has made you who you are right now. If you do not appreciate the person you are at this moment, it can difficult to learn how to practice gratitude in your daily life. How can you appreciate yourself and your life more?
Start by accepting that from this moment on, you must aim to develop an awareness of appreciation and gratitude for all that life brings us. As the great Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Looking around is not possible if you are too busy being unhappy, complaining and thinking the grass is greener about the less than perfect things in life. Once you overcome that, you can also use these tips to develop a sense of deep appreciation for life:
- Notice the small things – a delicious cup of coffee, someone holding the door for you, a smile from a friend. As one article advised, “The habit of being grateful starts with appreciating every good thing in life and recognizing that there is nothing too small for you to be thankful for.”
- Feel grateful for challenging opportunities that help you grow – As that same article noted, ” sometimes thinking about negative or difficult situations can help to really nail down what you have to be thankful for.”
- Be mindful – Take time everyday to say “thank you” out loud for at least one thing. A lovely view, missing your train, a delicious healthy meal, the roof over your head, what is working in your life, yourself, your family…start with one and soon it multiplies.
- Journal it – Another great way to discover how to practice gratitude is to keep a notebook about the things you are grateful for. If you want to write in a paragraph form, have at it! But a simple list of things such as:
- Beautiful sunny day today
- Woke up on time 🙂
- Its so great to be alive
- I love my kids(insert whoever you love most here)
At Matt O’Grady Coaching you can discover information on meditations, useful blog posts and even in depth life coaching that can help you to develop healthy daily practices and how to bring a greater sense of gratitude into your life every single day. Contact us for more.