Adopting a grateful and authentic mentality has become an incredibly hot topic over the last few years. While I’m thrilled that the benefits of authentic, grateful living have been so widely communicated as of late, I do want to drive home that the benefits of practicing gratitude are not a passing fad. The benefits are real and I want to help you discover them for yourself. :) The art of practicing gratitude needs to take place in your everyday life, towards others as well as towards yourself. To help you explore ways to practice gratitude on a daily basis, I’m sharing my top six ways to incorporate the practice, starting today:
1. Pencil It In
There’s a lot to be said for putting something onto paper, whether it be pencil or ink. To help you begin practicing gratitude every single day, I encourage you to purchase a wall calendar (or print one) and commit to writing three reasons you are grateful every single day. Write your reasons directly onto the calendar, whether it be in the morning before you begin your day or before you go to sleep at night.
2. Picture Everything as a Present
Instead of seeing your morning cup of coffee as your cup of coffee, picture it as a gift. You are so lucky to be in your home filled with warmth enjoying a delicious drink to start the day. Instead of criticizing your clothes dryer for taking so long, see the fact that you are even able to dry your clothes at your leisure as a gift! More people go without the daily luxuries than the many people who enjoy them, yet we forget to be grateful for them.
3. Praise Others in an Authentic, Meaningful Way
When’s the last time you took a moment to truly appreciate the actions of someone else? Taking time, even a minute, out of your day to look to someone in your life and praise him or her will make you a happier person. Committing to identifying the strengths in others and praising those individuals will strengthen your relationships and allow you to appreciate yourself on a stronger, higher level as well.
4. Set (Attainable) Goals and Achieve Them
When you feel like you’re pushing forward in an endless cycle, life can get discouraging. Goals and benchmarks are hugely important in living a well-balanced, fulfilling life. Set attainable goals for yourself and work towards them in everything you do. Perhaps your goal is to visit with your mother at least twice a month. Maybe your goal is to provide thanks to at least one co-worker daily. Whatever you decide, ensure that everything you do throughout your day or week or month is helping to fulfill your goal. When you accomplish your goal, allow yourself to be grateful for the work you’ve put in and for the commitment you were able to keep.
5. Spend Five Minutes in Silence
Spend five minutes in total silence and give yourself a moment to experience being alive. Give thanks to your lungs for giving you the gift of breath. Give thanks to your heart for giving you the gift of life. Give thanks to your brain for giving you the gift of memories, imagination and dreams. When you take time to look inside of yourself and allow yourself to be grateful for what you have on the most basic of levels, your outlook on life can drastically improve.
6. Donate Your Time (or Money) to a Cause You Believe In
We don’t have to be the rich to give back. If you have an afternoon to spare, consider donating your time to a cause you believe in and that is in need of your help. If you love animals, consider calling your local animal shelter and asking how you can help. If you live near a senior’s center, consider donating your time to read to residents who go long stretches without family visits. You have the ability to not only change your life, but to change the lives of others for better too.
To your authenticity,