Hey there! So this is part 2 of my previous post that I promised you. :)Hopefully you’ll find something in this post that speaks to you, maybe encourages you to think differently, or simply nudges you in the direction you’ve already felt inspired to go! I love it when that happens. If you’re searching for a way to help manage your stress, frustration, self-esteem, or to just feel happier in general… Gratitude is an amazing gateway.
So how can we practice and implement this beautiful thing called GRATITUDE? When I think of the word gratitude I always think “deep appreciation”… but sometimes it can be hard to know what that looks like. That’s always one of my first thoughts…what does the ACTION look like? Something that I love to do when I want a better understanding of a word is I go to Google. (Can you believe it??) I of course look at the definition, but what I love even more than that are the synonyms. For gratitude, you’ll find synonyms like “recognition and acknowledgement”.
I don’t know about you but those words help me to have a more clear vision in my mind of what gratitude could potentially look like. So I decided I was going to start being more intentional at recognizing and acknowledging specific moments, people, experiences, and blessings that occurred on a day to day basis.
Many people do this through prayer. And I am definitely one of them. It’s something I’ve done my whole life and it’s a powerful practice that I cherish and keeps me feeling connected to God and more grateful in general. But there are 3 additional things I decided to make a part of my life in order to take on a deeper understanding of gratitude…through recognition and acknowledgment. You may already do these 3 things and if you do, you know what a difference they make!
- Keep a “Daily Gratitude” journal. I once thought that was just something cute you do when you’re 14. Oh how I wish I would have understood that it’s so much more than that. It’s truly one of the most healthy and inspired practices that we can do throughout our life. I’ve often heard lots of influencers, like Rachel Hollis, who preach it and encourage it but it’s just one of those things you don’t fully understand until you start doing it. At least that’s how it was for me. The way I like to use my journal is I take some time every night, and I write down 10 things that I noticed or experienced that day which I feel grateful for. If you do this every day, you’ll start to see that it keeps your brain aware of the good that’s going on around you. It changes your perception by helping you to constantly look for and recognize meaningful moments, experiences and people. Which is really fun! It can be something as simple as the beautiful weather, running into a friend that day, your child doing something that made you proud, or receiving kind words from a stranger. When you focus on finding things to be grateful for…you will in fact find them. And more than anything… you’ll FEEL it. And that feeling/perspective can help carry you through the hard times as well.
2. Write GRATITUDE notes. I first learned the power of this when I served a mission for my church in Barcelona. I lived there for a year and a half and I would truly love to know just how many gratitude notes and thank you notes my companions and I wrote to each other, and wrote to other people we served or taught in Spain. We wrote them because of what we felt in our hearts and we wanted to express it. It made us happy doing it. I learned that expressing your gratitude helps you just as much as the person receiving it. I’ve tried hard to keep every note and card I’ve ever been given. Because the words on them are powerful and remind me of the importance of expressing our feelings through writing. One of my favorite notes that I still have from one of my mission companions simply says, “Thank you for making my bed for me today. I love you.” I can’t explain exactly why that little note still means so much to me, but it does. So, the next time someone serves you in any way, take the time to write them a Thank You note. Or better yet- make it a habit! I’m working on making it a habit again in my life.
3. Intentional Thoughts of Gratitude! Like other emotions, gratitude is created in our minds. And it can be difficult to feel grateful if we aren’t being conscious of the thoughts going through our heads every day. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s been studied and proven that the thoughts we have actually create our feelings. So if that’s true (and I believe it is) then that means that we can choose to intentionally focus on grateful thoughts and it will literally generate the feeling of gratitude in our bodies! I like to do this the most when I’m in the shower, or driving in my car, or doing dishes, or journaling. Any place where I have some time to be in a more meditative state of mind. It is powerful. It has a way helping me find healing, and happiness. It has a way of opening up my mind to all the things I have to be grateful for… and helps me hold on to the good, to the positive, and to the continual blessings that pour out upon me and my family.
So there ya go! These are the ways I love to practice gratitude in my life. 🙂 I would love to hear some of the ways you try to make gratitude a lifestyle too! And if you haven’t ever tried any intentional gratitude practices before then I encourage you to do it! It will bless your life and enrich your spirit. That I can promise you!
“GRATITUDE CHANGES EVERYTHING”