Three years ago, I was constantly pouring over self-help books, looking for what I thought was the get happy quick answer! Looking back, I know that not all books will be able to help you solve your problems. Guide you, yes. Fix everything for you? No. It has to come from you.
What did help me, was when I came across the gratitude practice. I realized that I have to be appreciative of what I have NOW, rather than focusing on what I don’t have. I was constantly fretting about what I didn’t have in my life, and overlooking all of the great things I do have.
I was healthy, I was living in a beautiful mountain city, the few friends that I did have at this time were amazing, and I was able to focus on myself completely because I was single. Before practicing gratitude, I would not have looked at any of those things that way – quite the opposite actually.
How Can You Start Practicing Gratitude?
When I first started, I decided that I wanted to start small, I wanted to make sure that I actually stuck to it! No matter if you’re wanting to start small or go all in, these tips are great in helping you start your gratitude journey.
1. Start a Gratitude Journal
This was the very first thing I did. I bought a little pocket journal and decided that every night before I went to bed, I would write 5 things I am grateful for, for that day. No matter the type of day I had, no matter the size of what I was grateful for – I was committing.
2. Take Note of Your Surroundings
Whether you’ve lived in the same city your entire life, or are currently globetrotting it is so important to appreciate your surroundings. How lucky are you to live where you do! How beautiful are the flowers in the spring? The snow-covered trees? The old buildings in your downtown area, or the mountains outlining your city. Take note of what’s around you – go for a drive and bask in the beauty.
3. Positive Affirmations
Every morning while I’m either getting ready for work, or on my commute I listen to positive affirmations. They clear my head and put me in the perfect mindset for my day. My personal preference is to listen to them, but you could also write them out, record yourself saying them, or have a go-to mantra on repeat in your mind. Whatever works best for you!
4. Create a Collage
If you’re the type of person who doesn’t really enjoy journaling, another great way to practice gratitude is to create a collage. You could add photos of the people you love, your pets/animals that make you smile, and the list can literally go on forever! Whatever it is in your life that you are thankful for, add it to your collage. Once it’s finished, hang it in a spot that you’ll be able to see all throughout your day.
5. Turn Your Thoughts Around
To this day, I am still working hard at controlling my thoughts. It’s human nature to have negative thoughts – but you have the power to control those negative thoughts and turn them around as soon as you notice them popping up. If you’re annoyed because you’re stuck in traffic, instead think “I’m so grateful that I am able to drive myself to work in my own vehicle.” The great thing about this tip is that you can implement it with the tiniest of thoughts, which will lead to your more prominent thoughts.
The Importance of Gratitude
Once I started applying these tips to my life a couple of years ago, I noticed a drastic change in my mood which then rolled over into other aspects of my life. I was happier with work, I was meeting new people who were on my level of gratitude, and I was feeling more confident in myself.
I really hope that you’re able to apply one of these tips to your life because it really is life-changing. Your outlook on life will get so much brighter, and you will become so much happier.
About the Author
My name is Janelle, and I am a first-time mommy to be. My passions are writing, personal development/self-care, my fur baby, and being outside either at the beach or on top of a mountain! You can check me out over at my blog, www.overflowingteacup.com
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