How To Start a Daily Gratitude Practice
Rather than one single day centered around gratitude, I want to invite you to make practicing gratitude a daily habit.
And what better way to implement your new habit than to practice, practice, practice. You can experience true abundance and contentment, in just a few minutes a day.
The keys to creating a daily practice, that is effortless, sustainable and part of your routine is to understand how to set yourself up for success.
Below are a few tips to implementing a your new daily gratitude practice, plus how to make it a daily habit and the benefits of doing so.
How-to Practice Gratitude Daily
- pause (wherever and whenever works for you making your practice a habit).
- acknowledge, say aloud or write down at least one thing you are grateful for (it can be something that happened to or for you that day or something in your life – a person, a pet, a thing. Anything! Nothing is too small).
- that is it.
Challenge yourself to list different things every single day. This will encourage your to learn how to flex your gratitude muscle.
Create an Environment for Your Daily Gratitude Practice:
Habits have a greater chance of “sticking” if you create a favorable environment to make it effortless and mindless. Doing the same thing at the same time or in the same place, helps it to become as second nature as brushing your teeth. Implement your daily gratitude practice at the dinner table by making it what you do just before you can take your first bite of food, or maybe at night, just before you fall to sleep, after you climb under the sheets, or in the morning just before you get out of bed, you can set up a gratitude jar in a prominent place in the house that you add a new note to every day, add a gratitude app to your phone, or leave a gratitude journal on your bed side.
By automating the practice based on other triggers and a specific environment, after a short time, you won’t even have to think, it just becomes a part of the flow of your everyday patterns. But, don’t be afraid to mix it up either, if your day is different or your environment changes, switch from an journal to an app while you travel, or simply just close your eyes, wherever you are and acknowledge what you are grateful for. It’s not about perfection, but simply about the practice.
Be Social with Your Gratitude Practice:
Share your new gratitude practice and encourage others to join you. Creating a new habit that involves other people, your community, family, friends, co-workers, virtual followers – this is a great way to connect, bond and commit to your new habit.
We all love the feeling of belonging and connection and it’s amazing to have something in common with the people we most respect and love. Our relationships with others plays a huge role in our happiness. Consider sharing your gratitude practice on social media, to encourage other to join you. Maybe include others by occasionally using your daily opportunity for gratitude to write a letter of gratitude to someone you are thankful for. Include your parner in your practice. A recent study 1http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23731434 found that after receiving gratitude, participants noticed that their partner was more responsive to their needs and was overall more satisfied with their relationship.
As always, leading by example and being a positive role model to the people around you, can be incredibly powerful. If you have children, consider including them in this daily practice, I bet their answers will move you and you can take pride in knowing that you are setting them up with a positive practice that they will continue to carry with them throughout life.
If you wish to join me in a 14 Day Gratitude Challenge, beginning today I will be sharing my daily gratitude practice in my Instagram Stories and encouraging you all to do the same. Use the hashtag #getgrateful14 and tag me @tastyyummies and I will be reposting a few of my favorites – every single day for the 14 days!
Track Your Gratitude Practice:
If you are like most people, tracking offers incentive, reward and accountability. By using a physical journal, a digital app or simply a mark on a calendar that it’s “done” – to log your daily gratitude, you create a simple way to measure if you did your new habit. Your journal, your app or a calendar that you marked off, over time becomes a record of your habit and as you create a “streak”, part of the incentive is the pride you feel looking at what you’ve accomplished and you become less likely to let your new habit fall to the wayside.
Those are all simply friendly suggestions to help you to implement your daily gratitude practice as a sustainable long-term habit that you will maintain , If you’ve got your habit-formation on lock, if you want to fly by the seat of your pants and practice your gratitude whenever and wherever you feel like it, or you just love being a rebel and doing things your way – that all works, too! Feel free to use these suggestions, if you’d like, but they are not required by any means to implementing a daily gratitude practice.
Why a Gratitude Practice Works:
Practicing gratitude offers us the opportunity to slow down, notes and reflect upon the things we are thankful for.
A daily gratitude practice works because it slowly changes the way we perceive situations by adjusting what we focus on. Research 2http://emmons.faculty.ucdavis.edu/ shows that people who maintain a regular gratitude practice or simply consciously focus on cultivating gratitude in daily life, experience a much greater quality of emotional well-being and physical health than those who do not. Gratitude can improve our relationships and our self esteem, in encourages empathy and compassion and so much more!
image #1 and #3 from unsplash.com