Sometimes it isn’t that easy being grateful. When life hits you with those moments you weren’t ready for, it can be hard to feel grateful all the time. But it is crucial to your health and wellbeing that you practice gratefulness and gratitude every day in order to really feel alive. My advice is that you start practicing today, and try it out for at least a month. That way you can build a healthy habit that will last for a lifetime!
In a previous post I examined the feeling of bliss over bitterness or wonder over worry. Today we’re going to talk about gratitude. I am really exited to show you how I practice this feeling on a daily basis.
1. Collect “gratitude items”
A simple and quite fun thing you can do to get started with the gratitude exercise is to collect what I call “gratitude items” Keep a small notebook and a pen with you wherever you go or take notes on your phone if that’s your cup of tea. Collect everything that you can be grateful for during the day. I for instance am a big fan of birds. Every time I see birds, my heart opens with gratitude. These beautiful creatures don’t have any bitterness in their hearts (not that I know of anyway!) and their cheerful chirping just fills my day with joy and blissfulness.
If you already meditate, good for you. If you haven’t started yet, I suggest you try it for at least five minutes every day at first, and then build up from there. You can do it anywhere. I always start my day with a short meditation before I get up.
Daily meditation improves your overall health, effectively silences your brain’s chatter, and gets you to sleep better. If you practice meditation you will also connect with your higher self. From my experience, this connection is worth all the effort, since I get to practice the gratitude mindset.
3. Say “thank you” before you get out of bed in the morning
This exercise is a very good thing to start your morning with. It’s so easy to get caught up in negative emotions if you start thinking about the day ahead and what you have to do at work.
Every morning, before your feet hit the floor, make sure to say “Thank you” and get into the feeling of gratefulness. Think of at least three things that you can be grateful for before you start your day, for example a good night’s sleep, the fact that your spouse is sleeping next to you, your house, your kids or something else.
If you get this habit into your system, things will start to slowly change around you. Try to do this simple yet effective thing for at least month. Soon you will start to feel more grateful, and more things to be grateful for will start to appear into your experience.
4. Experience nature
This is quite an obvious one, right? Being outdoors and experiencing nature is one of the most beneficial activities you can to to boost your health and wellbeing. But what if you don’t have the possibility to experience nature on a day to day basis? Then you can bring nature to you. Studies have shown that if you take the responsibility to take care of house plants, you will develop a more caring and nurturing side of your personality which in turn will help you towards becoming a more grateful person.
If you are lucky to have nature around the corner, don’t hesitate to go outside and experience it. You will get plenty of “gratitude items” to collect, I promise.
5. Pay your bills with gratitude
Paying your bills isn’t always that fun, right? Before I started doing things consciously with gratitude, I always felt like I was robbed when I had finished the session of paying my bills. Is this all that is left? What? How am I supposed to live for an entire month with this small amount of money left on my bank account?
Then I discovered the gratitude method of paying your bills! This is way more fun than the usual way, and I highly suggest that you try it out. It goes like this. When you have a bill in front of you, try to really dig into what this money that you pay is going to provide you.
The rent that you pay provides for you to have a roof over your and your family’s head every month. Close your eyes and meditate on how you feel when you come home after a hard working day. You can relax, read, play with your children, watch tv, take a shower, and you have the bliss of feeling safe and secure. This is a huge benefit that lots of people in the world don’t have.
Since I have been studying at the university, I have some student loans to pay off every month. Before I started to practice the “attitude of gratitude” this would always annoy me. I hated to pay that bill that never seemed to end.
I live in Sweden which means studying at any university is free. So the loan I took covered my living expenses back in the days when I studied at the university. It is a benefit beyond measure for most students (or their parents) to not have to worry about saving up to be able to study at the university, and I am so grateful that we get to study for free here in Sweden. I can sign up for any course, and it will be free of charge.
When you really dig into what you actually get for the money that you use to pay your bills, the act of paying them is going to be an act of gratefulness.
But what if you think you have nothing to be grateful for?
If you feel that you don’t have anything, and I mean anything, to be grateful for, believe me when I tell you I know how you feel.
But you always have something to be grateful for. Always.
If you are reading this, you do have the ability to read, you have access to some sort of digital device to read it on, and you have internet access. You are one of the lucky people on earth that has that.
I know. Are you supposed to feel ashamed that you don’t feel blissful and grateful that you have those things?
You have the ability to think and choose whatever you want. Remember that you have life. You are alive. This is something to be truly grateful for.
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