The most important part of gratitude is the PRACTICE of it. I've found that it's an active practice, and most crucially so when you least feel like giving thanks.
The more you allow yourself to start being grateful for what may initially seem like insignificant things, the more happiness you allow yourself to feel. Those are the moments you will remember and recall as cherished memories.
There is always something to be thankful for, no matter how tough or awful the day may be- as long as you choose to do so.
Lately, there have been quite a few things going on that have been making life feel tougher than usual- lots of changes, turning points, and the navigation of next steps in all aspects of my life. With all this uncertainty and many factors that are beyond my control, I have been making practicing gratitude a daily habit.
As with creating all habits, it's important to choose the details of how you plan to put a plan into action. I haven't been journaling much lately, so I didn't think that writing it down would be a habit that stuck for me right now. My boyfriend and I make it a point to say goodnight on the phone every night, so in recent phone calls right before hanging up, I've been asking him to say 3 things he's grateful for that day. Then he asks me the same.
So, I wanted to share this gratitude challenge to all of you guys!
Every night, or at the end of the day, say 3 things you are grateful for that day.
- The things can be specific or general! Specific and even seemingly insignificant like, "I'm thankful for it being one of those days where the subways arrived just as I reached them, so my commute was stress-free today" OR general, like "I'm thankful for the support system of my family and friends."
- Say them out loud! Either by yourself, or with a partner-- words spoken aloud tend to have more staying power.
Some of my favorite small moments that tend to be reoccurring ones I give thanks for:
- Appreciate the magic that is coffee. It saves many a Monday morning.
- If you have an extra minute, take the time to savor your food- don't gobble it down in a hangry moment.
- Hug a loved one and tell them you love them.
- When you're really dreading going to the gym, appreciate the fact that you have an able body to use and workout with.
- Soak up that beautiful sunset and marvel in the beauty of our world.
- Be grateful for your friends and family. Savor every minute of time with them- we don't get nearly enough time with people as much as we'd like.
- Then my ultimate favorite:
When life just feels overwhelming and chaotic, breathe:
Focus on slowing your breath down.
Stand up, stay still and close your eyes.
Wiggle your fingers, shake your head, point your toes.
Place your hand over your heart and feel it beating.
Be grateful for the extraordinary gift of life and for who you are.