This time of year goes so fast. The cold, the lights, the pies, the cooking, the shopping…it’s something that many of us look forward to all year and then it comes and goes in a flash. It is easy to forget why we celebrate the holidays that are wrapped up into this season if we don’t take a few minutes to stop and remember. Now don’t get me wrong, I am all about the shopping, the sales, the piles of food, and the sweets galore, but I also believe it is important to ground ourselves in the idea of gratitude so that we don’t lose sight of why we gather and celebrate.
Not only is practicing gratitude scientifically proven to improve physical and psychological health, but it has also been shown to enhance the self-esteem and relationship potential of the grateful. We can all live a purposefully grateful life by adding small practices into our daily routine. Here are some ideas to get you started on celebrating the things you are grateful for and spreading that message to others.
Bringing Gratitude Into Your Daily Routine
One way to practice the art of being grateful is to take a minute at the end of everyday to record the ten things you are grateful for that day. Any small notebook or journal will do. This is a list of things big and small, things like the short line at the grocery store or the green light that you got when you were late to work. We don’t get new jobs everyday or buy new cars everyday, we have to celebrate the small things, the great little moments that make up our lives. So keep track of that great conversation you got to have with your friend at work, the awesome salad you made for yourself at lunch, or how proud you were of yourself for running an extra half-mile, and jot those down in your gratitude journal.
Whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, social networks are a great place to share what you are grateful for. Being public about your gratitude can help others to pause and think about their gratefulness as well. The caution here is the humble brag…remember to post what you are truly grateful for, and not just to show off or brag about the material things you have. A truly grateful heart will inspire others to find the joy in their lives as well.
Five Minutes of Gratitude
Chances are you spend some time in the shower, traffic, right before bed trying to go to sleep, or in the morning in bed trying to wake up. These precious minutes are a great time to practice gratitude. Not only does it quiet your mind of other things that may be causing anxiety, worry, or stress, but it puts your heart in a positive position. If you are just waking up, this is a great frame for your day. If you are just going to sleep, this can set you up for a peaceful rest. During traffic jams, this helps ease the grip on the steering wheel. Take advantage of those moments when your physical body is busy but your mind has time to dote on things it is thankful for.
A Gratitude Conversation
Probably the most obvious and most overlooked way to practice gratitude is to just have a conversation about it. Whether it’s while cooking dinner, grocery shopping, on the phone to your mom, folding laundry, or just during a daily check-in with your partner, a quick discussion about what you are grateful for that day can center your minds and hearts on positivity. This also brings us back to the idea of sharing gratitude and how this can really enhance other people’s moods and outlooks as well. Share how grateful you are that there is landry to fold, food to cook, and that your partner is there to do it with you.
However you choose to practice gratitude, I highly encourage that you do. Notice how you start to look at things differently. Notice how your moods change, how you look at small moments with curiosity and positivity. Notice how sharing your gratitude changes those around you.