Week 4: The Gratitude Attitude
Some people may choose to practice gratitude verbally, while others might prefer to explore it through meditation or jot down their feelings in a gratitude journal. Here are a few ways in which you can begin reaping the benefits of gratitude.
Embrace setbacks. Sometimes, to appreciate the good things in life, it helps to remember the bad ones. Take a few moments to think about the past, back to a time when your circumstances were less fortunate than the present. Think about how you’ve overcome those previous challenges and how you’ve grown as a person since then. Remembering the bad times and embracing those setbacks will help you feel grateful for how far you’ve come.
Make it a part of your routine. Just like brushing your teeth twice a day or enjoying a morning cup of tea, gratitude can become an everyday habit as long as you have a plan to get it there. Think about a part of your daily routine that brings you joy. It could be that morning cup of tea, your commute to work, your evening jog. Try to think about the things you are grateful for during the activity. Eventually, you’ll start organically associating that part of your day with the practice, making being grateful a more significant part of your life.
Focus on others. We’ve all fallen into the trap of getting too caught up in our everyday problems. By shifting some of our energy into cultivating empathy for others and focusing on their happiness, we give our minds permission to relax and enjoy the present moment. This practice can trigger a sense of gratitude and joy within ourselves.
Meditate for appreciation. From the frustrating little accidents life decides to throw our way to the harsh daily revelations of the news cycle, disruptions are everywhere. More often than not, we get caught up in a vicious cycle. A thought looms into our mind, it branches into more ideas (many of them triggering a sense of panic or anxiety), we manage to store it away for a moment, and then history repeats itself. Meditation is a tool that allows us to take a step back, relax the mind, and let our thoughts and emotions come and go without judgment. This tool can be used to gain deeper insights into our motivation for practicing gratitude. While meditating, ask yourself, “Who or what do you appreciate most in your life?” Then, observe the feelings and thoughts that naturally arise. Meditating for appreciation is about asking the question, not answering it.