Learning how to practice gratitude every day can be powerfully transformational.
Practicing gratitude cultivates healing in our hearts and our bodies.
A grateful heart brings fullness of joy and helps us live a rich and more authentic life. A grateful heart helps to bring balance and wholeness into our lives. And get this!-fear and anger cannot dwell in the same place as gratitude. Truth!
That said-I believe everyone should learn how to practice gratitude every day! Are you ready?
Practicing gratitude is just that, it’s a practice.
Practicing gratitude is just that, a practice. The more we practice, the more it becomes like second nature.
Like muscle memory, I believe we can develop “heart memory,” too.
I first learned about the power of practicing gratitude daily and how to practice gratitude every day via the Oprah Winfrey Show.
Like many of you- I watched The Oprah Winfrey Show every afternoon M-F without fail.
I remember the day like it was yesterday.
It was a hot day, and I was somewhat frazzled. I was folding laundry. On this particular day, Oprah promoted the book Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. I was inspired!
I got my hands on a copy of the book asap, and I have to say!- This book was transformational! Later, I grabbed a copy of The simple abundance.
This book taught me so many incredible life lessons and how to practice gratitude with a grateful heart. Life-changing.
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The Meaning of Gratitude: Gratitude Definition
Before we can practice gratitude in our lives, it’s important to understand exactly what gratitude or being grateful is.
By the most straightforward definitions, gratitude is the quality of being thankful, readiness to show appreciation for, and returning kindness.
It seems simple enough. Then why do we humans seem to struggle with being thankful?
Why is it hard to be thankful?
There are many benefits to being grateful.
But the truth is that some people have more grateful dispositions than others. For some of us, gratitude just doesn’t come as easy.
That’s why we need to practice gratitude.
Research suggests that these differences may be rooted in our brains, genes, and even our personalities.
But if you’re having trouble feeling grateful, don’t worry! —there are things you can do to bring more gratitude into your life.
How to Practice Gratitude Every Day:
1. Start & Maintain a Gratitude Journal
There are tons & tons of gratitude journals on the market these days.
A few gratitude journals are great because they have extra features, like insightful prompts and inspiring quotes. But you can use any journal you like.
How to start a gratitude journal:
Here’s what I do:
- I have my gratitude journal on my bedside table with my favorite pen at the ready.
- I try to write in my journal every day. (When I miss a day or two or three…no worries! I just pick up where I left off-this is a shame-free zone!)
- Sometimes first thing in the morning and sometimes at bedtime. There are even days I write in it twice- morning AND night. Those are good days!
- I write 3-5 things for which I am grateful. Some days it’s easy, and I could write a long list, But there are those days when it’s hard.
2. Be on the lookout for things to be thankful for!
Practicing gratitude is just that—a practice.
When we want to be good at anything, it takes practice. And gratitude is no different.
So, like any good habit, we’ve got to train ourselves to have a watchful eye for both the big blessings and the tender little mercies.
Miracles are everywhere all the time!
Here are a few examples from some of my journal entries:
- Brenda is cancer-free!
- We are building a new house!
- Jordan is engaged!
- We’re going to be Grandparents!
The Tender Mercies (The Little Things)
- A butterfly landed on my hand today!
- Lucy learned how to use the doggie door!
- Ben & Jerry’s.
3. Say thanks.
Want to know one of the easiest ways to practice gratitude every day? Just say Thanks. Simple, right?
When someone does something nice for you, say “Thank you.” When you notice someone (even a stranger) being kind or doing a great job- Say “thank you.”
Being authentically thankful is powerful. Being validated and appreciated-equally powerful. When you take time out to say thanks, everyone wins.
Put it in writing.
A handwritten thank you card or letter will brighten anyone’s day! I know I love receiving handwritten cards and letters! (although it doesn’t happen much these days. But, sadly, it is a dying art.
When you love someone, are thankful to have them in your life, appreciate something they have done for you, or maybe you want to tell them they are the”bee’s knees,” as my Grandma used to say- then take the time and write them a note.
Receiving a handwritten thank you will make their day, AND it will put a spring in your step too!
- Buy pretty thank you cards and postage stamps and have them at the ready.
- Stock up on colorful sticky notes. Put them in lunchboxes, on the bathroom mirror, on the fridge, in the car, etc.
- When you think of someone, you could and should thank- do what Nike says and just do it. If you can’t do it right then, make a note in your calendar so you don’t forget.
- Set a timer on your phone to remind you a few times a month to send thank you notes. It’s easy to let time slip away.
4. Focus on being grateful for what you’ve got
Gratitude is a choice.
Gratitude is a muscle that needs to be built. We have to choose to excerside our gratitude muscles.
One thing that helps me with this step is mindfulness. To me, mindfulness means thinking about what we are thinking about. So I try to do just that.
Intentionally think about things that are good in your life.
Fill up your head with positive thoughts. That way- there is less room for negative thoughts.
5. Keep a gratitude jar.
I love this one! We have a large gratitude Jar that I bought years ago via Oprah’s Favorite things. It’s beautiful and comes with lovely little notecards to write on.
At first, I brought the gratitude jar out during the Thanksgiving season, but now it’s a staple in our home.
You don’t have to have a fancy gratitude jar (although they are nice!) Instead, you can craft your own out of a mason jar or a recycled Spegetthi sauce or pickle jar.
Have paper and pen at the ready whenever you think of something. You are grateful, and take 30 seconds to jot it down and put it in your jar.
Sometimes when I catch myself being a Debbie Downer or I’m stuck in negative self-talk, I go to my gratitude jar and read until I feel better. In doing so-I usually end up adding one to the jar in the process, which is a win-win.
6. Create Gratitude affirmations
Affirmations are positive statements that can help you challenge and overcome self-sabotaging and negative thoughts.
When you repeat them often and believe in them, you can make positive changes in your life.
Put Positive Affirmations Everywhere!
When you come across a positive quote or affirmation, write it down on a sticky note and stick it somewhere that you will see it often.
In your car, closet, laundry room, refrigerator, bathroom mirror- You get the idea.
I have a sticky note wall of positive affirmations and inspirational quotes in my office that I love. So when I’m tired, discouraged, sad, or need a minute…I can glance up and pull from my affirmations.
7. Collect Gratitude Quotes
I love a good quote, don’t you? Another way to help to cultivate an attidue of gratitude is to collect gratitude quotes along with your gratitude affirmations.
Here’s one of my favorite gratitude quotes:
It’s a funny thing about life, once you begin to take note of the things you are grateful for, you begin to lose sight of the things that you lack.”Germany Kent
Related article: How to start a self-care routine
Some final thoughts on how to practice gratitude every day
In closing, I truly believe with everything in me that a thankful heart prepares the way for every good thing on earth and in heaven.
When we practice gratitude, life is better. And with that, I will leave this right here.
If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it w ill be enough.
Until next time,