The idea of practicing gratitude to change your circumstances and your life is probably not totally new to you. But even though you may have heard about gratitude being a game-changer, you may have no idea how to practice gratitude. As someone who firmly believes in the power of practicing gratitude as a means to rising into your truest self, I wanted to share these tips with you on how to practice gratitude, so you can get started (and reap the rewards) right away.
Benefits of Practicing Gratitude
I believe that practicing gratitude will deliver countless benefits to you, but don’t just take my word for it — even science recognizes the power of acknowledging and giving thanks for the things in your life. Seven scientifically proven benefits of practicing gratitude include:
- Better physical health
- Better mental health
- Less anger and more empathy
- Better sleep
- Better self-esteem
- Better mental stamina
- Better (and more) relationships
Powerful benefits, right? Again, I believe these are just a start. I’ve found that gratitude also puts me into better alignment, brings me closer to my truth, and allows me to be a better mother, wife, business owner, and servant to my tribe.
How to Practice Gratitude
Now that you know the benefits of practicing gratitude, you’re probably ready to dive right in and see if this gratitude thing can really work for you. (Spoiler alert: if you commit to a daily gratitude practice, it can — and will — work for you!)
Step #1 – Start a Journal
You’ll want a place where you can document your thoughts each day, so if you don’t already have a journal, now’s the time to get one. A regular notebook will work fine, too. Just choose something that feels good to you and where you’ll be happy spending time each day.
Hint: If you’re left-handed, choose a journal that can lie flat as you’re writing; and if writing crooked or on a slant bothers you, choose a journal with lined paper. The goal here is to pick a journal that feels comfortable and welcoming and doesn’t give you reasons to not use it.
Step #2 – Write Down Everything You’re Thankful For
This part might sound easy, and at first blush, it is. If you have a comfortable home with running water and heat, you’re most likely very grateful for it and will want to write that down. Same with clothes, food, your car, etc.
But what if you dislike your job? Should you leave that off the list? In this case, I would suggest writing down what about your job you’re thankful for. Is it the income? The proximity to your home? The type of work you do? Your coworkers? Try to identify what about your job you do like and write that down, specifically.
Step #3 – Stretch Yourself… And Think Ahead
Once you write down the basics of clothes, food, shelter, etc., now it’s time to stretch and think deeper. Dig into your relationships, both with others and yourself. Are you grateful for a solid marriage? A best friend that’s there for you no matter what? Your sense of humor or your nurturing instincts? Dig really deep here and try to identify something new each day.
I also want you to pick an area you’d like to develop and begin practicing gratitude for it before it’s actually here. For example, if you have a desire to release weight, feel gratitude for a body that enjoys movement and responds quickly and positively to being fed healing foods. By programming your mind with feelings of gratitude for something you’d like to bring into your life, you’re signaling to your subconscious that this is your reality… and then reality follows suit, as long as you take action on it.
Step #4 – Write and Review Every Single Day
Practicing gratitude first thing in the morning is a great way to start the day and set the day up for a positive flow. At the end of the day, you can review the list you created in the morning, or you can make a new list that includes whatever made you feel thankful throughout the day.
There are no hard and fast rules to this, but I do suggest ending the day with a gratitude practice so you drift off to sleep in a state of peace and contentment.
As you can see, setting up a daily gratitude practice is not rocket science, but it does take commitment. Once you get into the habit, you’ll no doubt see changes and you won’t want to be without it. So relax and enjoy — an attitude of gratitude RULES!
Felicia Grant is an Advanced Soul Coach, Certified Medium and Holy Fire Reiki Master in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Helping women ignite their passion!