I have been thinking about this post for over a month now. Truth be told, I’ve started maybe 5 or 6 drafts already. But nothing felt quite right. Yes, I want to talk about money and mindset and how being grateful can help you have a better relationship with your finances. But it is more than that. 2020 has been a rough year for so many. Plans have been canceled or postponed. We’ve had to change our methods of working, learning, shopping, and even gathering with family. And if I’m being honest, it’s been hard. Through it all, I have found myself working hard to be thankful. In my mind, gratitude is like any other skill, it has to be practiced. So, I thought I’d talk a bit about how I practice gratitude and the effect it has been having on my life.
Making a List
When I was younger, I thought gratitude journaling was a dumb and useless exercise. Oh, how wrong I was! In the last couple of years, to keep myself more focused and to manage my time, I’ve used a variety of different planners. But they all had one thing in common, a gratitude list. One planner had me write out three things each morning that sparked thanksgiving in me. The directions said it could be anything. But that as I wrote down each of my three things, I needed to really think about them and allow myself to be truly grateful.
This was transformative for me. Each morning before I started work, I would list out my three things. And I would sit in my feeling of gratitude for a few minutes. With this simple exercise I found myself more focused on the things that I have. But over time, I wasn’t just noticing them when I was making my list. I was also noticing them throughout the day. Little by little, my mindset started to shift. I saw the blessings all around me. I’ll be honest, it’s not a perfect system, but it has helped me start to change my mindset and has become a big part of how I practice gratitude.
If you’d like to try gratitude journaling, I’ve made a free downloadable gratitude journal page. It’s set up daily for you to list three things you are grateful for. I encourage you to download it and see if it can help you start to shift your mindset too!
It always makes me feel great when someone lets me know how much they appreciate something I’ve done for them. In the last several months I have made more of an effort to acknowledge what others have done for me. Whether it is someone giving me my coffee at a drive through or my dad or my husband doing something kind for me – I am making a bigger effort to voice my appreciation.
I’ve even started to write thank you notes again. A friend brings me a meal or sends me something in the mail, and I put pen to paper to say how much I appreciate them. Writing thank you notes feels old school, but in the best possible way. I love taking a few minutes to connect with someone else and let them know how much I am thankful for them and how they’ve touched my life. I’ve found when I let someone know how much I appreciate them, it not only lifts me up, but it improves their mood too. And that seems like something we could all use a bit more of these days!
Sometimes, I find it hardest to be grateful when I am bogged down with the day to day of life. To get back to myself and start feeling grateful, I get outside. Even something as simple as taking a walk can help me refocus and find things to be thankful for. Being outside and seeing all the wonders of the natural world can help refocus and remind us of all that we have. It can also give us a chance to reset. On hard days these resets can help us find the good and getting out for walks or runs has really become a big part of how I practice gratitude.
Practicing gratitude can help keep you feeling good. It can also help you shift your mindset to see the blessings that are all around you. In life, we often see what we look for. If you look for problems that’s what you’ll find. But if you focus on the things that you already have and appreciate them, you will find that you have so much to be thankful for. In this holiday season that can be filled with so much chaos, taking a moment to really think about what you are thankful for can have a big impact. And it isn’t just our mindset that gratitude can improve. According to the article Why Gratitude is Good, it can help our physical, psychological, and social wellbeing.
Practicing gratitude still doesn’t come naturally to me. There are definitely still days where I see what I lack or how things could be better much clearer than I see the blessings. But I do find myself looking for things to appreciate and savoring the small moments more. And for now, I’m counting it as a win. I’m hoping over time practicing gratitude will become second nature!
What about you, how do you practice gratitude in your daily life?
If you are looking for other things you can do to relax during this crazy season of life, check out my post 5 Free Things to Do for Yourself During Quarantine.