Gratitude: Feel It, Practice It, Live It

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We are approaching that time of year where many people start to think about gratitude more and may even start implementing some sort of practice with it in their daily lives, at least for a while, as the holiday season draws near. However, gratitude is something that should be felt, practiced, and lived every day of the year, not just when a holiday is approaching or when something extraordinary or unexpected happens. Having a grateful heart and placing gratitude in the center of daily life is so important to experiencing more joy, love, and abundance in your everyday world…

Why It’s So Important

For me, gratitude is really at the center of my life, and since making it so over the last several years, a lot has shifted in my life, both internally and externally. Gratitude helps us be more present and focus on the here and now…what do we already have, in this moment, that we can be grateful for? Instead of thinking about a thing or an experience we want to have in the future, we can use gratitude as a tool to bring us back to the present and enjoy what we already have and are experiencing in the moment. And the present is really the only place where life can truly be lived and experienced. 

Gratitude is also important to practice daily because, when we are in that space, we are coming from a place of having enough and recognizing the abundance that already is ours. This raises our frequency and the energy we are sending out to the universe is one that is going to cause greater joy, love, and abundance to come into our lives, as what we send out is what we also receive. If in contrast, we are operating from a place of lack and scarcity, not showing gratitude for what we have in the moment, that is what we are  sending out to the universe, which blocks the flow of abundance in our lives and keeps us stuck in a perpetual cycle of discontentment, unless we change our outlook and begin practicing gratitude. 

How to Practice Gratitude, Daily 

The best way to know if this works is by practicing it yourself…don’t just take my word for it! Here are some of my favorite ways to practice gratitude and incorporate doing so into everyday life: 

  • Journal: Spend a few moments every day writing down what you are grateful for… I typically like to choose three different things each day, and I feel this is best done in the morning, as it’s a great way to start your day and train your brain to start focusing on all there is to be grateful for at the start of each day. Don’t over complicate this! Keep it simple. As I said above, we shouldn’t be grateful only when something extraordinary or unexpected happens (although those are also great times), but we should be grateful every day for simple, seemingly ordinary things and occurrences…such as a beautiful sunrise, a hot cup of coffee or tea, or waking up next to a loved one. Faithfully doing this every day will open up not only your mind, but also your heart, and it will become quite obvious just how much you have to be grateful for each day!

 

  • Start a “Gratitude Jar”: This is something we started implementing in our home at the beginning of 2017. We have a glass Mason jar that sits on one of our kitchen counters, and I have several small blank pieces of different colored paper cut up to write down little notes of gratitude. I don’t necessarily write something to put in the jar each day, but this is something I do when something more striking occurs, something I really want to remember (so this is nice to do in addition to journaling each morning, as it doesn’t have to be done daily). My husband and I like to write things here and there as they happen, and put a date on the note, and then at the end of the year on New Year’s Eve, we sit down together and take turns each pulling one out and reading them aloud until we have gone through all of them. So not only is this a great way to practice gratitude all throughout the year, but it’s also something that may turn into a ritual or tradition for your family and a wonderful way to practice gratitude together!

 

  • Give to Others: Personally, I have found that giving to others is one of my favorite ways to practice gratitude! By giving to others, we are recognizing that not only do we have enough (a reason to be grateful in and of itself), but we have more than enough, so much so that we are able to offer something to someone else without it being detrimental to us. What’s especially amazing is that there are so many ways to do this. You can give time, possibly through volunteering or giving of yourself to help someone in need, whether in your own family or in your greater community, or you can give your money, or you can give gifts, something thoughtful and from the heart is especailly nice. You can even donate goods or services from work that you do. Be creative with this and never pass up an opportunity to give to someone else. There are endless ways to do this…but just always be sure it comes from the heart! 

These are my favorites…but there are so many ways to practice gratitude. Take some time to sit and feel what resonates with you as how to best practice gratitude in your own life. Over time, the more and more you practice in your daily life, the more you begin doing it without even thinking about it and it will seamlessly integrate into how you live and who you are. And don’t be surprised if it causes some significant shifts in your life for the better! 

 

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” -Melody Beattie

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