Lately, I’ve been thinking more about the need to find ways to practice gratitude every day. It’s so easy to fall in a cycle of complaining, worrying, and feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes, you do need to sit with those feelings and acknowledge them. But sometimes, you also need to be ready to pick yourself up and move forward.
So, why is it necessary to find ways to practice gratitude?
Basically, our brains are wired in a way that we have to work to see the upside. But, we can re-train ourselves. This TEDx Talk dives into that and is definitely worth taking the 10 minutes to watch.
How do you actually incorporate gratitude practices into your daily life?
I’ve found three simple ways to practice gratitude that require little time, but can have a big impact.
1. Write down 5 to 10 things you’re grateful for each day
This came up in the TEDx Talk and there’s plenty of research on it as well. But basically, this reminds you that there are good things in your life. If you’re having a really bad day, you can always re-read past entries.
If you’re a weirdo like me and have random journals that you always think are ‘too pretty’ to write in, this could be the perfect time to finally use them.
2. At dinner, ask yourself (and others) what was good about today
I think I initially heard about this idea from a podcast, but when I came across it again on James Clear’s blog (HERE), I felt like it was a sign to actually start doing it. Since then, I found myself looking forward to starting this conversation with my husband and making mental notes throughout the day of things to share.
(Speaking of James Clear, you NEED to read his book Atomic Habits. I read it in March and I genuinely think it’ll be the best book I’ll read in 2020. )
3. Challenge yourself to a ‘no complain’ day
Obviously, this is easier said than done, but there’s something about becoming more aware of how much we all complain every day. While having a vent session seems like a good way to let off steam, very rarely have I felt better afterward. If anything, I become more fired up about whatever the issue is. I find this ‘no compain’ challenge forces me to find positive things to say about a tough situation, which can help with shifting my mindset. If you get good at having a ‘no complain’ day, you can always aim for a full week, a full month, etc. I’ll be honest, I’m not quite there yet.
What are your favorite ways to practice gratitude? I’m always looking for tried-and-true ideas!