Do you practice gratitude each day?
You probably do in some way – I think many people, even if they’re unaware, do express gratitude daily. It might simply be with recognizing the sunshine, enjoying a hug from a loved one, or taking a peaceful walk after work.
We appreciate these things in our souls, even if the words ‘Thank you’ aren’t uttered aloud or written in a journal.
That’s a great start – appreciating daily things, but it’s really meaningful to go deeper, and I have four suggestions for you.
Write in a blank journal or your planner
This was my first attempt at being intentional with gratitude, and it worked beautifully. What I liked about it was that it served a secondary purpose – it created a chronicle of my life. I still have my very first gratitude journal, and it’s a riot to read through, especially as my kids were much younger. I see silly things they did, or reminders of sweet things they said.
This is simple to do – just buy a blank journal (even a plain, old college wire-bound notebook will do fine), and then write down three things each day before bed. Think back from when you awoke to as you’re laying in bed, and be as creative as you can with what you choose.
Before your feet touch the floor in the morning
This is far better than a warm shower or hot cup of coffee! Too many people jump out of bed and rush into their day. Either they wake easily refreshed or they’ve hit the snooze button too many times and are in a panic. What I strongly suggest is that you slooooooow down. You can do a few things: tune in with your body and breath, slowly stretch while still in bed, write down any memories from dreams you had, think about your upcoming day and intend what you want to happen by seeing it unfold in your mind, and even journal a bit from beneath the sheets!
But no matter how you choose to slow down your first waking moments – be sure to include gratitude. All it takes is thinking or speaking out loud three (or more) things you’re grateful for. Easy peasy.
Practice out loud with your family or friends
I love this one especially if you do it with your significant other and/or your kids. It’s a really cool way to bond in a positive way. It’s also a wonderful thing to model to kids – being appreciative and finding the good stuff in life.
All you do is speak your gratitude aloud to each other. That’s it. And, trust me, it feeeeels great… such a nice way to end the day with the people most important to you.
(my personal fave) Be guided with a book/journal that’s designed to help you practice gratitude at a deeper level and in unique ways
Of course I have a little bias to this last one :) I believe gratitude can be much more than a nice thing to add to your day. Gratitude is transforming and healing.
Years ago, while stuck in some dark days, I started using gratitude to feel more deep joy and fulfillment. I was surprised at how much I began healing and unblocking myself from pain. It was an amazing process.
What did it was pushing myself out of the typical gratitude thoughts. I like to joke that I learned to ‘Thank Outside the Box‘! In my book, The Healing Gift of Gratitude, I provide readers with unique ways to think about being grateful – unexpected things… even things that might cause you to scratch your head for a moment. There are also very common expressions of gratitude – like, record who you’re grateful for, but then I encourage you to take it a bit farther by expressing your gratitude to each person.
It’s a fun journey, too, as it’s meant to be a simple, year-long book to savor. You read a small note each week that will encourage (and sometimes stretch) you, then you write about your appreciation for seven days.
Someone approached me just the other day and said, “Shannon, I got your book, and I love it! You’re really making me think, and it’s working… I am happier already!” Like music to my ears :)
Buy a copy here! Then be sure to shoot me an email to let me know what you think… I love hearing from you.