How to Cultivate Gratitude in Your Life…today and everyday!
Cultivating gratitude, it almost seems cliche this time of the year….shouldn’t we be grateful throughout the year and not just during the holiday season?
Gratitude is defined as the quality of being grateful or the readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. The word “readiness” really is the key..bc you can sail through life professing being grateful, without fully appreciating what that really represents in its true whole form.
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
I love Ralph Waldo Emerson’s take on gratitude about making this a HABIT, so that it is something you practice DAILY.
So, how can we go about creating this ritual and habit?
Journaling: I know, I know….we don’t have TIME to journal, but you really really do!! Put it on your bedside table and commit to writing down three things you are grateful for each day. They can be mundane, like sunshine instead of rain or not missing the bus, but they are powerful!
Dutch philosopher Rabbi Baruch Spinoza believed you should ask yourself three questions per day:
Who or What inspired me today?
What brought me happiness today?
What brought me comfort and deep peace today?
Isn’t that powerful?
Get some exercise: it is incredible how much better you feel when you have done some movement in your day? I don’t feel good when I’ve had a less active day, and I bet you do not either. Exercise allows me to clear my head of distractions and just enjoy the moment. Movement allows you an opportunity to think about what you are grateful for as well. You also get the benefit of engaging all of your senses, too!
Demonstrate acts of kindness: there is research to support the idea that a one-time act of thoughtful gratitude produced an immediate 10% increase in happiness and 35% reduction in depressive symptoms. Incredible!
My younger son’s school is creating Thanksgiving food baskets for needy families in our community…it felt incredible, as a family, to shop for this family and relish knowing that they will now enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving meal…and it demonstrates to our children how vital it is to support one another in small ways.
Engage in a gratitude activity on Happify, which is a website for evidence based solutions for better emotional health and wellbeing in the 21st century. Admittedly, I had not know of this service before this past week when I started writing this article, but now I do enjoy the support and community.
So, savoring a bit of gratitude day-day is far more important than just acknowledging it at the holidays…..do you have a favorite way to cultivate or demonstrate gratitude in your life? If so, how?