Last week I shared why practicing gratitude has a positive influence on our lives. Today I’d like to share some practical ways you can do this. Often it’s not lack of knowledge that causes us to not do something; it’s because we have no idea how to implement change into our lives. Use these recommendations as a place to begin your own gratitude journey.
Write in a Journal
Journaling is something I practice (almost) daily. Usually, I write down a scripture I read that spoke to me, or I’ll write out a prayer that is heavy in my heart. Simply by journaling, I have found this shifts my mindset towards gratitude. I have gone back and re-read some of my thoughts, especially the ones during particularly tough times. Almost every time I have found something to be grateful for during that rough patch in my own life.
Make Gratitude a Family Habit
Practice being thankful as a family. I’m grateful for my middle – I call her Goosey-girl. When I’m complaining or in a grumpy mood, she’ll tell me. Not in a mean way, simply “Wow, Mom, you’re really grumpy today”. It’s good for me. It’s like the kick in the pants I needed to remind me how much my children are watching me. Practicing gratitude as a family not only keeps you in a positive mindset but teaches your children there is always something to be thankful for. We will often do this on the way home from school or during dinner time. I like to ask my kids what happened in their day that was positive or made them laugh. It’s amazing to watch their faces light up as they remember the good things about their day.
Write Thank You Notes
Begin a weekly practice of writing thank you notes to people in your life who have had a positive effect on you. You can also send a quick text or an email too if you prefer that approach. There is nothing like receiving an unexpected kindness from someone. It not only changes you for sending it but also changes them for receiving it.
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Share Gratitude on Social Media
This one should actually be really easy, considering how much negativity and complaining is done on social media. There are many “Gratitude Challenges” on social media. I see them often, especially this time of year. Begin your own gratitude challenge. For 1 week share something every day that you are thankful for. If that’s too difficult (and there’s nothing wrong with that if it is) start with one thankful post a day. It’s not about perfection, it’s simply about taking that first step.
Display Quotes Around Your Home
This is one of my favorite ways to practice gratitude. I like to hang up scriptures around my home, to remind me that no matter what is taking place in my life, I always have something to be thankful for – my relationship with God. You can do the same thing. Write out Bible verses that speak to you and remind you to be grateful. You can always do a google search for “thankful quotes” and choose a few of those to display in your home. The possibilities here are endless.
Confront the Situation, but Find Something Good in Spite of It
There are situations in our life where it can be downright difficult to be thankful. Death of a loved one, loss of a job, struggles with special needs children, or a chronic illness diagnosis, for example. Being thankful and ignoring what is happening will not do you any good. Finding something to be thankful for in the middle of your circumstances does your heart a world of good. In these situations, nothing is too small to be thankful for. “I was able to get out of bed today” or “I’m thankful for that cup of coffee every morning”. Our family has experienced every single one of these circumstances. Was it easy to be thankful? No. It did help us keep our perspective when life seemed to be throwing us one curveball after another.
How do you practice gratitude? I would love for you to share with us over in my group, Choosing JOY.