If you can’t think of 5 things you are grateful for right now off the top of your head then you are in urgent need of these 5 tips that will be sure to give you that warm, lovely grateful glow.
Before we get into the nitty gritty of how to cultivate gratitude I just want to explain why it is essential on your quest for happiness to feel grateful for what you have and how, from personal experience it changed my life.
I genuinely used to live my life thinking I wanted to be happy but feeling like it constantly evaded me. I felt like incredible things happened in other people’s lives and that I should get a comfortable, learn to settle down and ‘get a real job’ which led to me working as a secondary school English teacher in the UK.
But chasing the mediocre doesn’t make anyone happy, and it meant that I constantly felt miserable and the feeling of being ‘stuck’, overworked, overwhelmed but underpaid. When you plug in 65+ hours a week and divide down a teacher’s salary per hour you realise that (even with the decent holidays) you are often working at less than minimum wage.
I needed to get a real kick of gratitude for all that I had in order to shift my perspective. I read Jen Sincero's incredible book You Are A Badass which talked about how if you want to get more out of your life, you have to become grateful for what you already have. The thing is, as Rhonda Byrne succinctly put it, “gratitude will shift you to a higher frequency, and you will attract much better things.”
You have to be grateful for the amazing gifts the universe has already given you, before there is any point having more. You won’t be satisfied with the ‘more’ you get until you have learned to show love for where you already are.
1 ) Grateful wake up
This one takes the least effort, you can literally do it before you open your eyes. It is a simple as listing all the things you are grateful for before you get out of bed. You can write them down or simply let them run through your head. You could even build them into your morning meditation practice if you have one.
2) Gratitude O’clock
Set an alarm on your phone which will go off at the same time each day called “Gratefulness O’ Clock” and the way I do it, is I ask myself and whoever I’m with at the time “what are you most grateful for right now?”
I find it such a nice way to spread positivity, and learn more about the people I share my life with.
3) Giving thanks
Being thankful before a meal, it doesn’t have to being a religious or even spiritual practice, even . total atheist can sit and appreciate all the time and effort all the people have contributed to the various food that’s ended up as the meal on your plate. I like to start meals with a simple thing I say to help me not take my meal for granted. It has the added bonus of making you slow down and eat more mindfully, and I end up being more aware of my true hunger when I take a moment to connect before I shovel food straight into my mouth the moment it is placed in front of me.
4) Grateful Workout
I find with some activities (swimming for me especially) it is a great time to put those endorphins to work and feel really good by thinking of how blessed my life is and how lucky I am. I swim round the pool and list in my head at the things I am grateful for, and try to do it for a certain amount of time.
5) Gratitude Journal
I find it really good to have gratitude journal by your bedside and so I can reflect in it before I go to bed at night. I find 3 is a good amount of things to list for me to consistently keep to. So I write out the top three things that have happened to me that day. That way it serves the purpose of letting you sleep in a positive frame of mind, having found the good parts of even the most difficult days (a skill well worth developing) and you get the added bonus that you keep a really positive record of your life to look back over in any times when you are feeling a bit low.
Day 15/365 on my A Year Of Personal Development (AYOPD) posts