Studies have shown that a gratitude practice is associated with being more enthusiastic about life, being interested in the community, being kinder to others and getting better sleep. One study found participants were 25% happier after only a short time of practicing gratitude. What else could you possibly do to improve your happiness by 25%?
And yet we say we are too busy or we don’t know how to practice gratitude when the real reason we don’t try relates to our deeper fears and worries. We think that if we acknowledge how much we appreciate our fortunate life then this will invite disaster. Who are we to say thank you when so many others in this unfair world have to cope with tragedy?
The best way to move through the discomfort and guilt that intentional gratitude can invoke is to practice, practice, practice.
Here are three fun gratitude practices to incorporate into your day…
1) Gratitude Practice: Thank Your Bed
I thank my bed. Yes, I thank my bed. I got this tip from Louise Hay, motivational author and founder of the publisher, Hay House. Thanking my bed is both ridiculous and profound. Ridiculous as I am thanking an inanimate object. I get a little giggle from doing it, which puts me in a great mood. It is also profound as I realize how fortunate I am to be sleeping on a bed each night. I find that most things that are worth pursuing in life are both ridiculous and profound.
I also thank my bed because it is a good way to start the day. Like many things in life, particular care should be taken with the start and end of things, with take offs and landings, and thanking your bed is a good way to ‘take off’.
2) Gratitude Practice: Ask Grateful Questions
You can fit gratitude it into your daily routine without it taking up any extra time. At breakfast, in the car, at dinner time or when you are brushing your teeth ask yourself the following two questions:
- What are you grateful for?
- What are you happy about?
I don’t know why these two questions work well together, but they do. Often, I say something more profound or esoteric for my grateful answer (clean running water, healthy kids, etc.). Then I respond with something more materialistic or frivolous for the happy one (my favorite TV program, or chocolate etc.). You can list many things or settle on one. The answers are not even that important, the practice is what counts.
3) Gratitude Practice: Appreciation A to Z
We have nailed the takeoff with thanking our bed, had a smooth flight by answering grateful questions and now want to stick the landing.
One of the best ways I have found to fall easily into a peaceful slumber each night is to think of people, things and activities that I am grateful for, starting with A, then B, then C etc.
For instance, I am thankful for audio books, ballpoint pens and chocolate (yes again – it’s fine to repeat yourself!). I have never gotten close to Z without falling asleep and I bet you don’t either.
Gratitude as a Habit
Overcome your fear-induced reluctance to intentional appreciation by adopting any or all of the following gratitude practices into your daily life: thanking your bed, asking grateful questions and creating an appreciation alphabet.
Being grateful for the small miracles of daily life—the super computer in your back pocket, the sunshine on your face, your child’s laughter—will make you feel like the world is abundant. Make showing huge appreciation a habitual part of your life and you will reap its benefits.
Thank YOU for reading my blog post today.
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