Practicing gratitude doesn’t always come easy, but I definitely notice that when I’m actively grateful, I’m happier. There are a lot of different ways to incorporate gratitude into your life, so that it becomes a part of your daily or weekly routine. Gratitude itself means being thankful for what you have, and making it enough. By living and practicing gratitude, you focus less on the things you don’t have. I hope these five ways of practicing gratitude allow you to live a happier life!
1. Have perspective.
So much of having gratitude is about reframing your thoughts. Think about when you’re sick, and how badly you wish you felt better. Once you are feeling better, I’m sure for a few days after you feel super thankful to be healthy. This is all about perspective. If you think about how lucky you are to have everything in your life, including health, family, financial stability, it can really put things in perspective and help you feel grateful.
One way I like to think about it is by changing the words or thoughts “I have to ” into “I get to.” I get to go to work. I get to wash the dishes because I have warm, running water in my house. I get to clean my bedroom, because I have a warm, comfortable space to sleep every night. By changing your thought patterns, you will become so grateful for all that you have already, and you’ll forget about the things you don’t have.
2. Write about it.
One great way to practice gratitude is by journaling about it. If you already keep a journal or have a steady journal practice, just start incorporating this into your journaling time. Every morning, I write down three things I’m grateful for and why. The why aspect is important because it allows you to feel the emotions of being grateful, and really visualize what you have in your life that you’re grateful for. Start by writing down three things, and once you get the hang of it you can work up to writing more each day. I think this is a great practice to do at night, but it can also help you set your mindset for the day by doing it in the morning.
There are also a lot of gratitude journaling prompts out there that might be nice to do daily or weekly. Choose a question or a prompt that interests you and elaborate on it! These prompts can be found by just doing a quick Google search, or looking on Pinterest. You can also by journals these days that have the prompts written in them already! I love this idea because it helps you think outside the box while you’re practicing gratitude, to really see all the great things in your life.
3. Make a Mood Board.
If you’re more of a visual person, then making a gratitude mood board might just be the best thing for you! I’ve never tried this idea but I love the concept of it, and I love making mood boards to visualize the future. Instead of pinning images of places you want to go and things you want to see, make a board filled with photos of all the people and things in your life that you’re grateful for!
I love how this kind of mood board can shift your perspective. Again, gratitude is all about making what you have be enough. I think especially in this year, with the pandemic and the limited freedom we all have right now, it’s a great reminder to be thankful for what we do have even when the world has been turned upside down. I’m going to make one and place it somewhere I will look at every day! Plus, I think this could double as a quarantine project.
4. Send a thank you letter.
Another great way to practice gratitude is by telling the people you’re grateful for what they mean to you. There’s really no better way to do this than a thank you card. You might be grateful to a friend for getting you out on a walk each week, or letting you vent about something that’s upsetting you. Whatever the reason, I think it’s really important to recognize your gratitude for someone else, and write them about it.
The idea of writing a letter is becoming in vogue again thanks to the pandemic, I think. I’ve always enjoyed penning thank you cards for gifts, special dinners, and other things. It’s such a great exercise of recognizing someone’s role in your life and your happiness, and they will appreciate receiving it. In turn, they will probably be grateful for you, for recognizing and acknowledging them! Which is something we all need a little more of this year.
5. Do something nice for someone you love.
Practicing gratitude can also look like doing something nice for someone you love. It doesn’t just have to be a mental thing or a written thing. I think a great way to show someone you appreciate them is by doing something nice for them. One of my love languages is giving gifts, and I usually end up gifting something to friends and family when I want them to know I really appreciate them.
This could also look like washing the dishes so your mom doesn’t have to, cleaning something up even if you didn’t make a mess. Sending someone a package if you know they’re struggling, or spending a holiday alone. You could bake something to drop off at a friend’s, or pick-up a coffee and drop it off at someone’s house. There are so many little things you can do within your week that will show someone else that you’re grateful for them. I think this is a beautiful way to practice gratitude.
What are your favorite ways of practicing gratitude? Share them with all of us in the comments below so that we can all live more grateful lives!
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Maggie is the blogger behind The Artful Everyday, a travel and lifestyle blog dedicated to living intentionally and finding beauty in the ordinary. She loves the idea that we get to escape our normal lives when we travel, and that it allows us to be more open to the world and its cultures. Maggie lived in Florence while studying abroad, then was an au pair in Rome last fall. She is very passionate about traveling in Europe, especially Italy, and living abroad. Maggie studied Interior Design at the University of Minnesota, but is currently pursuing a career in writing.