What if I told you there’s one thing you can do each day that would take no time at all, but the payoff would be almost immediate?
It doesn’t matter what else is going on in your life at the time. If fact, doing this simple act could increase the quality of your life.
If you haven’t guessed by now (or read the title), it’s gratitude.
Dictionary.com defines gratitude as “the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.”
I know “gratitude” is a buzzword now, but you may be wondering how to really add it into your life.
Like any habit change, I recommend that you take small steps. Setting too big of a goal can lead to self-judgment if not met. There’s already enough self-judgment in our lives that we don’t need to add to the mix. Agree??
You can go about practicing gratitude in so many ways, so it’s all about what will work best for you and fit into your day. If you’re more of a paper and pen kind of person, grab a notebook to keep track of your “gratitudes.” What are the things you are grateful for? Would the “Notes” app in your phone be a good place to house everything?
This is all about YOU!
It can be so easy to focus on what’s not working well in your life. You can choose to transform your perspective in a way that can change your whole life.
A good starting point is to come back into the present moment by the use of your senses. Do you have flowers in bloom around you, did you listen to music that moved you, or have you recently had a delicious meal that had your taste buds doing the happy dance?
This helps you to slow down, and get in touch with the many things around you that you may easily take for granted.
Life isn’t easy, but gratitude–remembering all those things you are grateful for–can help to soften it.
Let me share an example where gratitude helped me to transition through a very emotional time for me.
Witnessing my Dad in his last few weeks of his life was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. This was all new territory for me. My nervous system was on overdrive as I was doing my best to process what was happening right in front of me.
During that time, I found multiple ways to be grateful. Each morning, I was able to take a walk outside, which helped to bring me back into my body, clear my mind, and take the edge off of the emotions if just for a little bit. I’ll be forever grateful to my husband for picking up food to help keep me nourished. The amazing nurses at the hospice house were there for me when I was unable to make sense of what was happening.
I could go on and on, but I’m sure you can see how gratitude helped me get through a challenging time of my life.
While all this turmoil was going on around me, I was able to find a place where I could center myself and appreciate the nurses, my husband, nature. If we all just take a moment to stop and think of all we are grateful for, then suddenly the negative thoughts are pushed away. You can focus on the goodness in your life.
Do you have a challenge in your life that affects you? Do you struggle to find the positive in each day? Could you use a supportive friend to figure out how to practice gratitude? If you have an idea to share about how gratitude has helped you or if you need direction on how to start being more present, drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.