If you've been following me for awhile, you are well aware of how important the practice of gratitude is to me. I firmly believe that it is crucial to everyday happiness-- and the physical and mental benefits of practicing gratitude have long been backed by science.
As I mentioned yesterday in my Instagram, there has been a lot going on in my personal life that has been taking a toll on me. Doing my best to be true to my feelings and to live authentically, I'm not skimming over these negative feelings and am making space for them.
But in order to keep from letting myself sink into the negativity and stress of it all, I have been making a conscious effort to perpetuate the good. What I mean by this, is that I'm actively choosing to foster positive emotions and perspective as much as possible to help balance out the stuff weighing me down. Happiness is a choice, after all.
What this has looked like in my life lately, is practicing gratitude in small moments, everyday.
People tend to think these practices have to be some huge commitment. And that can be daunting... which usually results in procrastination and then never ending up doing it.
So without further ado, here we go!
4 Ways to Practice Gratitude, RIGHT NOW
1. Count your blessings, not your grievances.
It's so easy to get caught up in the daily minutia, then complain/whine about it. Let's be honest, no one enjoys being around that. While it might feel nice initially to commiserate with co-workers or friends and complain about the things annoying you, sometimes it simply magnifies the gravity of what you're bothered by and makes things a bigger deal than it needs to be.
Absolutely everyone can find something to be grateful for.
No matter how little and insignificant something may seem, add it to your pile of blessings to count. Are you safe? Warm? Food available to you? Employed? An able, healthy body? A place to call home? Have faith that you believe in? Friends and family that love you and support you? Yeah, you're pretty blessed.
2. Keep perspective: Remember the scale of your issues.
When I was younger and went crying to my momma about something I was upset about, she would usually respond with, "Be thankful you're problems aren't worse."
That used to drive me crazy and make me feel like my mother was trying to tell me that my feelings and struggles weren't important. Now I feel quite differently about this.
While that might initially seem like an insensitive response, I now understand what she means. Everyone has their struggles and hurts that should all be respected and not diminished, but it's important to remember to keep perspective.
There are people fighting to survive around the world, families living in terror zones and fearing for their lives everyday. There are families unimaginably hurting over sickness and loss. Your spilling coffee all over your expensive shirt, that guy rear-ending you, and your boss yelling at you doesn't feel quite as bad now, does it?
3. Say it out loud.
No, really. Speaking convictions and promises are known to have more staying power than silent thoughts.
Take a deep breath. Close your eyes. Say, "Today, I am grateful for ____________."
Let those spoken words resonate.
4. Place your hand over your heart. Feel that?
That deep thumping. Steady rhythm.
You're alive. What a gift that is; one that people everywhere are fighting to keep and not take for granted.
Have something you want to accomplish? Love and affirmation to tell someone? Want to say some words of appreciation for loved ones? Want to chase your passions?
Welcome to your life, today is another day. Another chance. Don't waste it!