'The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate'. Oprah Winfrey was on to something when she said these words. Did you know it’s not possible to be disappointed or negative, and to be truly grateful at the same time? Gratitude helps you fall in love with the life you already have.
Gratitude comes from the Latin word ‘gratus’ which means ‘thankful, pleasing’. Essentially gratitude means feeling thankful and appreciative for what is currently in your life. There is so much power, and peace in looking for the small little joys.
Gratitude is also a simple tool to implement; it is free, quick and you don't need anything to get started.
Gratitude is a true catalyst for happiness.
If you train your mind to focus on what you are grateful for, you keep your mind looking for the positives. Some of the great benefits of gratitude are:
- Gratitude makes us happier
- Gratitude is an instant mood booster
- Gratitude improves your sleep
- Gratitude increases your self-confidence
- Gratitude removes negativity from your life
- Gratitude creates better relationships
- Gratitude reduces stress
- Gratitude improves overall well-being
- Gratitude helps you move through the negative times easier
Focusing on experiencing gratitude more often will help you move through tough days faster and easier. And even on the hard days there is always something to be grateful for (trust me on this!).
So how do you practice gratitude?
You can actually get started right now. Take 5 minutes. Stop, relax your shoulders, and breathe. Now, think about what you currently have in your life right now that is making your life good and you are thankful for. It doesn't need to be anything 'big' or fancy. It can be something very simple. Maybe it’s just that you have legs that can take you from one room to another around the house, maybe it’s that you have eyes to see your beautiful children, maybe it’s your hot cup of tea or an early night. It could be the sunrise, a bed to sleep in, children that love you.
It's can be simple. Doing daily gratitudes has been so life changing for me throughout the recent years and especially during these lockdown times.
Focusing on all the good things that currently are, really helps you to sit with a positive mind. And the best thing about it, like any habit, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. This means that you will naturally start to focus on the good things instead of the harder things, more often.
For a more structured approach, here are a few ideas of how to practice gratitude; give them a try and see what works best for you.
- 3 daily gratitudes – write down three things each morning as soon as you wake up, that you are grateful for. These could be things that have happened, that you are happy about, they could be people you are thankful for or ‘things’ that you are thankful for in your life. Simply start by writing “I am grateful for……’
- Say gratitudes outloud - if writing isn't your thing, say your gratitudes out loud, in the shower is a great place to do this. The action of being in the shower reminds me so I never forget, and there is always the time to do it.
- Keep a gratitude journal – write down all your positive thoughts. Use this journal as a way to express your happiness and a place to refer back to if needed, on a day when you aren’t feeling great and need a reminder of all the good things in your life.
- Help someone out – giving back to others helps you appreciate what you have in your life and the
- The act of giving helps to improve your well-being.
- Tell a loved one what you love about them – similar to when we are writing in our journal, sharing with someone what you love about them, helps you focus on positive thoughts. It could be your mum, your partner, a friend, a stranger or your kids.
- Say thank you – thank people wherever and whenever you can
- Be thankful when you learn something new - how lucky are we to constantly be learning and growing
- Look for the positive in any situation. I know it isn’t always easy to see but believe me it’s there. And the more you do it, the easier it gets.
- Share one thing you are grateful for from the day with your kids and get them to share too.
Take care of yourself, turn off social media and the news if you need to, and focus on the beautiful things in your life.