I wrote recently about how learning to practice gratitude regularly has transformed my life. I’m happier and I worry less. I believe gratitude could have the same impact for anyone, if applied with enough energy, feeling and dedication.
If you would like to have more appreciation of all your life’s blessings and reap the rewards gratitude can sew, here are some simple things I do daily to improve my happiness levels and cut down on worrying.
The key to benefiting from gratitude is to really feel thankful. It’s not enough to just say the words – you have to feel them too.
When you feel grateful and appreciative, you can’t help but feel happy too. This is not happiness based on money, position or the acquisition of things. It’s much more sustainable and deep-rooted than that. And it’s something we can all achieve.
Gratitude In The Shower
I always find an early morning shower is the best place to practise gratitude. The cleansing and powerful effect of the warm water assists me to feel thankful for my biggest blessings. Blessings such as my health and my family.
Sometimes I even sing the tune of one of my favourite songs, changing the words to ‘thank you for…’ and belting them out with feeling.
Find Your Happy Fail-Safe
It could be a photo of your kids laughing, a piece of jewellery, a song, a film or even a happy memory. Whatever it is, take it out and look at it or think about it whenever you feel down.
Say thank you for the people, love and other factors which contributed to it or are connected with it. You will feel an instant uplift.
Project Happy Outcomes Onto Others
Think of someone you love who is facing a dilemma or problem. Imagine they receive what they need or manage to resolve the situation in their favour and say thank you for their happiness.
Whenever we do something for others, even something as simple as sending them positive thoughts, it takes the focus away from our own problems and helps us to feel better about ourselves.
Turn Around A Negative Situation
If something is troubling you, try and visualise the ideal outcome. Imagine how you would feel, what would be said, where you would be etc. Imagine what you would see, smell, hear and feel.
Really try and imagine how you would feel when the situation is resolved and then say a deep, genuine ‘thank you’.
Keep A Gratitude Journal
In my gratitude journal, I list everything I’m grateful for. When I look back at a few months worth of entries, it never ceases to amaze me how many blessings I have in my life. If I didn’t seek them out to appreciate them, I would probably never even think about them (drainage is a good example of something I’m regularly grateful for. Imagine what our lives would be like without drainage? Pretty gross.)
I also add in quotes, drawings, photos and anything which assists me in feeling thankful.
I don’t have a set amount of things I should list per day and don’t feel guilty if I miss a day. It’s not meant to be onerous or stressful – it’s meant to be a joyful practice.
Say Thank You That You Woke Up This Morning
A simple, genuine thank you for the fact I woke up in the morning is a really powerful start to my day. It may feel like tomorrow is a certainty, but I know from experience it is not. This is why I always say thank you that I woke up and get to live another day.
Imagine ‘What If?’
I don’t mean become embroiled in a catastrophic cycle of ‘what if?’ worrying. I mean imagine what your day would be like if something you don’t normally pay much attention to was missing.
What if the boiler packed in and I had no heating and hot water? I say thank you for my working boiler..
What if my washing machine packed up and I had to traipse to a launderette? I say thank you for my washing machine.
What if I had no electricity? Think of everything I use mindlessly every day that would suddenly be inaccessible. I say thank you for electricity and the money that pays for it.
We normally only notice these things when they’re gone. It’s crucial to be grateful for them when they benefit us because it helps us realise how truly blessed we are.
The same can be said for people. What would life be like without my loved ones? Unbearable.
I have found taking these simple steps every day has hard-wired me for gratitude. After years of practising, I can now look around and see all the positives in my life. I was blind to them before I discovered gratitude. And, more importantly, I’m less inclined to focus on what I lack because I’m too busy saying thank you for what I already have.