Studies suggests that gratitude boosts happiness, and we all want happiness right?
Have you ever tried the commonly suggested practice of keeping a gratitude journal and didn't really feel much effect? I want to share my story with you today and some suggestions on how you can really tune in and develop a deep sense of gratitude to bring you a deeper sense of happiness.
A number of years ago, it was suggested to me to keep a gratitude journal as a personal growth tool and a way to boost happiness. I was all too eager to get started and I committed to keep a gratitude journal for 90 days. Every morning, before I started my day, I would write down 3 things that I was grateful for. I was not even 30 days in, when I started questioning how well this was serving me. Why? Because many mornings I found myself feeling like it was a 'task' that I needed to do, and actually found myself rushing through it on busy mornings.
I realized that the problem laid in the fact that I WAS treating it like a task. Instead of actually FEELING grateful, I was making a list in the morning, hoping it would sink in!
The practice of gratitude needed to be about actually feeling it! I switched up my practice right away, and rather than just writing 3 things down in the morning, I committed to BEING in a place of gratitude 3 times a day. What did this look like? 3 times a day, I would stop in the moment, and feel gratitude for whatever was going on. I would tap into my 5 senses to bring myself present in the moment, and allow myself to feel whatever I was grateful for in that moment. I would ask myself where I felt it in my body, and I would allow that feeling to grow for a few moments.
I would do this in many different circumstances throughout the day.
There are times in the day when it's easy to feel grateful. Maybe I took a walk at the end of the day, witnessed a beautiful sunset, and sat in gratitude for the amazing beauty where I live and that I have the the health & ability to walk through the woods and along the water to take in all the grandeur.
There are frustrating times that can come up in the day, and I would use those times to practice gratitiude as well! A great example might be when I am stuck in traffic due to an accident. It can be easy to feel frustration and stress over being held up and running late to where I'm going. I found that it can be equally as easy to feel gratitude that I am safe in my car, I have not been in an accident, and to send some love to the people who have just experienced trauma on the road ahead.
The other times in the day that it can be great to practice gratitude is when you are doing simple, mundane, daily things that you do every day. The things that you take for granted. Like taking a shower, doing the dishes, cleaning your home, driving to work or the store, etc. Finding gratitude in the home that you live in, having warm running water, and the ability to take care of the things around you that help you to feel comfortable.
In all of these circumstances, just taking a few moments to BE in gratitude can be really powerful.
Here's the best part. If you practice this 3 times a day, every day for a period of time, after a while, you truly start feeling more grateful in all the moments of your days.....and you know what that equals? Feeling a lot more happy in all the moments of your days.
So how can you develop this habit?
Find little ways to remind yourself throughout the day.
Place some sticky notes around your home, car, or wallet.
Start practicing this with a friend that you check in with throughout the day and remind each other.
Wear a special piece of jewelry that you don't often wear as a reminder...or maybe just a rubber band or string around your wrist or finger?
Start keeping a gratitude journal at the end of the day where what you write about the moments throughout the day that you stopped to FEEL gratitude.
Everything is practice and with practice we can develop new habits that stick, and then become our natural mode of being. How wonderful would it feel to naturally be in a place of gratitude for all that you are blessed with daily?
I can guarantee you that this is a practice that will create lots of good feels if you stick with it, and allow this to become a part of your everyday way of being.
I'm grateful to you for reading this, and hearing me.
Wishing you a happy rest of your week!