I don’t know about you but I find myself being dragged down by the fast pace of everyday life and I catch myself complaining about all the things that went wrong in my day. It might have been the toddler refusing help to get dressed which makes us late getting out the door, a traffic jam getting into work or how long it took me to get my 5 year old to go to sleep.
Have you ever thought about the difference it would make if you change your perspective and start to focus on all things good. For example; smiling at the toddler and embracing her independence, enjoying the extra 20 minutes in the car to listen to good music or enjoying quiet time with my 5 year old and reading an extra 2 books at bedtime.
This practice of changing your perspective is also known as ‘Practicing Gratitude’. Gratitude means being thankful, it makes you stop and give thanks either in the moment or on reflection. If you practice gratitude it doesn’t mean that everything in your life is perfect, it means you are aware of your blessings. Some entrepreneurs credit this small act as the secret of their success.
Recently I flew into Sydney by myself with my 2 small children and needed to catch a taxi home. After waiting in a small cue I was lucky enough to land the most lovely and helpful taxi driver. He already had a baby seat fitted in his cab (what are the chances!) which meant I didn’t have to try and restrain a very active toddler all the way home. When we arrived the taxi driver noticed that my toddler had fallen asleep and not only helped me with all my bags but helped my son safely across the road while I carried a sleeping baby. It put a smile on my face and I was genuinely so thankful for these little things that made my day easier.
Gratitude isn’t something that comes naturally to everyone but it is something that you can practice. Research shows that practicing gratitude can heighten your quality of life and it is something very simple that you can start trying today.
Three Easy Ways to practice gratitude everyday and how it makes you happier
1. Keeping a gratitude journal (only 5 minutes per day!)
A gratitude journal is a practice that makes you set aside a small amount of time each evening to write down 3 things that you were thankful for that day. Writing moments of gratitude down helps you focus on the good in your life, rather than what you don’t have and, in turn, makes life brighter and more fulfilling.
2. Practice thanks each morning to set focus for the day
If you’re not a journal type then you can still use a similar method as what I described above. The difference is that you give thanks mentally instead of physically writing it down. This could be for a few minutes before you jump out of bed in the morning or when you are standing in the shower letting the water wash over you. All you need to do is make a mental note of 3 things that happened the day before that you were thankful for.
3. Personally showing gratitude
Once a week (or once a day!) verbally thank someone for the small things they have done for you. It might be the barista for making you a delicious coffee, the bus driver for waiting a few extras seconds so you don’t miss the bus or your partner for making you a yummy dinner. Allowing yourself to stop in the moment and show gratitude is very rewarding and you might just make someone’s day.
Once you start practicing gratitude you will find that infiltrates into your day and you start to celebrate the small wins when they happens instead of reflecting on them at a later point. It is a small act that can only have a positive influence on your life. I urge you all to give it a try this week whether it be by personally showing gratitude, using your morning shower to reflect on the day before or by taking 5 minutes at the end of the day to jot something down on paper.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about you are thankful for today. You can leave your comments below.