© 2018 by Space to Balance

  • Kelly Wariner

6 ways to practice gratitude

Gratitude. It’s something we hear a lot about these days, and there are good reasons for this! 

Gratitude is the quality of being thankful and showing appreciation. It allows us to celebrate the present and feel even more positive emotions in our daily life. It’s a powerful quality, and one that can have huge benefits for our wellbeing. Did you know that gratitude can boost self-esteem, improve physical health, reduce stress and help you sleep better? 

Practicing gratitude is a small change, but our habits and daily actions add up to form what our lives are like. It’s those tiny tweaks to our lifestyle that make the biggest difference over time, so taking a few minutes to feel grateful can go along way!

It’s super simple, too. Take a moment to reflect on your life, where you live, what you do for work, and the people around you… What comes to mind? What makes you smile when you think about it? You can feel gratitude for anything in your life, no matter how small or silly it may seem. 

Okay, let’s dive into ways you can practice gratitude:

  1. Keep a gratitude journal. I find a journal is a great way to make gratitude a daily habit. Pick a time of day that works for you and write in it a little everyday. Whether you write one sentence, a paragraph or a list of things you’re grateful for, the act of writing things down encourages us to consider things more deeply than we might usually.

  2. Start the day with gratitude. If you’re short on time but want to start your morning with a positive mindset, why not bring to mind three things you feel grateful for? Consider each one separately, create a picture in your mind and practice really feeling gratitude in that moment. Whenever I practice this, I feel lighter and happier afterwards and it doesn’t take very long at all!

  3. Say thank you to someone. Whether you thank someone in person, write a letter or send a text, a simple message can go a long way. So reach out to a friend, family member or colleague and show them that they’re appreciated. You might just make their day, and no doubt you’ll feel better as a result too.

  4. List all the things you feel grateful for. Next time you find yourself stuck in traffic, waiting in a queue or out on a walk, list as many things that you feel grateful for as possible. Whether you speak them or just make a mental list, this simple exercise can help redirect our attention towards positive things - particularly useful in frustrating or stressful moments!

  5. Take a mindful moment. Wherever you are, pause and take a few deep breaths. Become aware of your experience in the present moment and notice how you feel. Think of something in your life right now that you can be thankful for. It could be simplest thing like fresh air, company of those around you or a smile from a stranger. 

  6. Start a gratitude jar. Write down on a slip of paper something you feel grateful for and why, then add it to a jar or another place special to you. Why not make this a daily habit  and add a new note each day? Your gratitude jar can act as a visual reminder of all the things you have to be grateful for in your life.

Don’t get me wrong, life isn’t perfect. Ups and downs are part of the journey, and they’re to be expected. We can’t control everything that happens around us. But what we do have control is our response to external circumstances. And gratitude is an amazing tool for seeing life in a positive light.

On days when you’re going through a tough time or feeling out of sorts, it may be more challenging to feel grateful. But we perhaps have even more to gain if we can find something to appreciate on those days. Never underestimate the power that a positive thought can have.

What’s the best way to to practice gratitude? Whatever works for you! If you want to do something, make it easy and something you look forward to doing. I’ve found that I love writing a few sentences in my gratitude journal before I go to bed, because it means the last thing I'm thinking about before sleep is something positive.

How might you be able to weave gratitude into your life? I’d love to hear what works for you!