Updated: Nov 15, 2021
Let's take gratitude back to the basics, because let's face it y'all, sometimes we need to. Before I began my personal gratitude practice, it was usually the first thing out the window when calamity hit. Back in my early 20's that switch could be flipped quite frequently between gratitude and disappointment. It would also be an understatement to say I, "Lacked awareness."
My perspective on the world, and my place in it looked very different during my 20's-30's than it does today. The main adjustment? My relationship with gratitude.
Studies have shown that incorporating a practice of gratitude into your daily routine (what some call an "attitude of gratitude"), tend to live with less stress and happier dispositions.
So how can we incorporate this more into our lives, if we don't already? And if you feel like you're good on the gratitude front, I want to hear what you do to spark gratitude in your life.
So how did I turn this into a practice? It began when I started paying attention to how gratitude made me feel. Seriously, that's the thing about it- the minute you start to think about what you're grateful for - you instantly feel a little better. You have hope, feel connected, and the flame in your heart gets a little bigger.
Developing a gratitude practice is personal work. What worked for me may not work with you. We're all unique AF, kick ass little stars, and no two of us should have the same gratitude practice BUT you may find some of these things helpful to consider. Finding your own style of gratitude is part of all of this. This is why building your awareness becomes critical because you'll have greater insight when developing your practice. SO back to what I do...
I started small. Saying, "Thank you." and making eye contact with those serving me at the grocery store, coffee house, gas station, etc. Come to think of it, this may have been something I always did, but I didn't put intension behind it until later in life. It's important to me to hold that eye contact for a beat and just take in the humanity for a second. After this practice began I quickly added eye contact with the "Thank you," and then I'd say the servers name if they were wearing it or they said it. I have now become, the woman you don't want to walk around with unless you're up for engaging with others.
Another gratitude exercise I do is to make my bed each morning... I know... eye roll, but it's true for me! Here's why I think it works for me... when I'm rushing out the door I have to actively SLOW DOWN to make my bed. It's my morning pause, which I fill with gratitude as I fold the sheets and put the pillows in place. That is how I begin my day and it has made a difference in how I show up in the world.
I also make a point to thank people for their time. One of the biggest gifts I can receive these days is a person's time. When I am gifted that, I am deeply grateful. I sit with moments I've had with those closest to my heart, and I include myself. I wrap each memory with gratitude for the wisdom I gain from all of it. Valuing the time people give me with gratitude also always humbles me. It's a way for me to not only stay grateful but to also remain grounded.
Gratitude is now something that runs through my veins. It lives in my heart beat when I'm in alignment with my core values. That alone is enough of a motivation for me to pay attention to how I show up within myself and the world. My practice really came from a place where I thought the world could definitely use more gratitude so I just started putting out there. And now I'm the lady who walks down the street exuding gratitude saying, "Hello" and, "Have a good walk!" to everybody.
My gratitude practice has radically shifted the way I move through the world and the way I'm received by others. So like I said, start small at first... in this moment think of five things you're grateful for... feel better?